I love my son, but sometimes he makes no sense. And I’m nothing if not annoyingly logical.
Baffling baby behavior #1: You’re hungry. We know you are because you have been very vocal about your displeasure for the past 30 minutes, and by process of elimination, we can only conclude that “got milk” is the goal and “don’t got milk” is the reality. And yet. And yet. There you lay, flailing your arms and legs, face bright red, sucking on skin and then pulling away and then (unintentionally) thrusting yourself forward at maximum velocity toward your mother’s chest. This is not the way to get fed. And yet.
Baffling baby behavior #2: Your favorite place in the world is the changing pad. We have five weeks of evidence proving this. You laugh. You kick. You coo (or some version of that). You get a clean diaper. Sometimes you even get to spray your parents with pee. Life is good on the changing pad. And yet, for some reason, you have recently developed a paralyzing fear of… well, something. We lay you down on the pad, the diaper comes off, your arms shoot straight out, and a look of terror spreads slowly from eyes to cheek to mouth like what would happen if Edvard Munch had drawn Dr. Seuss’ “The Grinch.” At first, this happens silently. And then, wait for it…wait for it. Banshee scream. Piercing and whimpering all at once. And comfort will not be had. This new behavior seems to be limited to night time hours. But still. This was your favorite spot, dude. We counted on this. Where do we put you now? The basement?
Baffling baby behavior #3: Mama said knock you out, and she did. You fed until you fell asleep. You drifted off naturally. We know you are tired. And yet. When you arrive softly on my chest–a limp noodle, a miniature Gumby covered in baby fat– you want to sleep. But instead you kick your legs, grunt, open your eyes, kick some more, cry, and refuse the pacifier. You are tired. And yet.
All this is tongue in cheek, mind you. Babies aren’t supposed to make sense to adults since we’ve kind of got this “staying alive” thing down. Our boy is learning, and this is part of the process. The good thing is, the frustration that exists at these baffling baby behaviors dissipates with a deep breath, a sense of humor, a look at his innocent face, or–best of all–a few hours of sleep. He is a blessing. But I believe parents who say the first six weeks are the toughest say so not simply because of the lack of sleep or the physical and emotional toll of caring for a child, but also because, on some level, their logical brains just can’t believe they spawned a life form that could be so self-defeating in its behavior. And yet.