The oohs and ahhs and yet another golden rule

By Karrie McAllister

It never fails. They call it an “infant carrier” but they should really call it an “ooh and ahh magnet.” As a new mother myself, I know that when I strap my little pistachio (she’s too tiny to be called a peanut) into her car seat carrier and lug that beast of a convenience item around, it’s guaranteed that someone will stop me and ask to peek in and take a look at her sweet baby face.
And being the good proud mommy that I am, I am more than happy to oblige and show off that little pistachio.
“Oh, she’s beautiful” they remark, which I am fully aware of because she’s my kid and I’m supposed to praise her up and down, but it’s always nice to hear it from someone else.
“She’s got such perfect skin” I sometimes hear, as well as “is that red hair?” and “what cute and tiny features!” and the age old question, “who does she look like?”
All of these comments are wonderful. I smile and gratefully accept all the nice things they have to say and for a second, I’m actually glad that they stopped me and I got to rest my arms and set down the infant carrier.
But just as the blood begins to return to my arms, the questions start flying.
I should mention that in our house we have a rule that we are always reminding our other children about. The gist of the rule is, “you are not allowed to ask questions that you already know the answer to.” When this rule is successfully followed, it works to effectively eliminate such questions as “what are you doing?” while you are in the shower and “do I need to wear a coat?” when there is a foot of snow outside.
So as we are going goo-goo over the new baby and I start getting the inevitable questions,
I want to slam down the golden rule.
“Is she sleeping good for you?” WHAT? Seriously? She’s a newborn. She sleeps all day except when we are trying to eat or I’m on the telephone, and then for lovely two hour stints during the night.
“Is she a good baby?” Nope. She’s terrible. At four weeks old she’s talking back to me, not eating her veggies, and won’t clean her room. I’ve had to ground her until she’s two months old just to get her to stop beating up her brother.
But I really get ready to fire off that golden rule when I hear my all-time favorite question, “how are you doing?”
Think about it. I am the mother. Not only have I endured the whole birthing episode, but I also have two other children, a house, a husband, the holidays, AND a tiny newborn pistachio who, as previously mentioned, doesn’t sleep in any type of human schedule and refuses to eat her broccoli. I am currently knee-deep in chores and leftover Christmas decorations and have watched more late-night TV shows than I care to mention. My eyes, if they are even open enough to see out of, have bags underneath them that would rival the size of the big honkin’ infant carrier that started this whole mess of questioning.
How I am really feeling? Tired and over-extended, but thankfully I’m also head over heels in love with the little one I haul around in that carseat. And somehow, someway, that love trumps the golden rule and I can smile through it all and answer, “I couldn’t be better.”


Kristin said…
We should really talk more often. I recently got a thank you for a baby gift. Baby was 2 weeks old at the time the note was written (it was a shower gift). In the note my friend in Penn. took care to say how baby was sleeping great, waking once or twice a night to feed.

I read the note and began ranting to Erik about how people should just not put that crap in notes, nor should they feel obliged to report how their 2 week old is sleeping. If the kid is healthy and you are too, chances are good the kid is waking every hour for something. And if not, chances are good that something is wrong.

Society, I tell you. Although I would probably stop you and tell you that your baby was cute :) She is, at least from here.

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