A common question asked while you are bouncing a newborn is, "Is she a good baby?" But don't you think all babies by nature are incapable of being bad?
Elise is a good baby as I believe all babies are, but let's cut to the chase - she is very good at building virtue. I'm sure that can be argued for all babies as well, but Elise takes the cake ... err breast milk? ... for us so far. Things aren't always rosy over here even though we have added some pink to our lives.
I'll admit that I expected our third addition to be a calm baby. Any baby, boy or girl, healthy or not, bald or not would be a baby that I wanted, but I needed a calm baby to slide in so we could pick up right where we left off. I would be able to hold her in one arm with the loaf of bread that came with her and deftly go about our days once the first few weeks of recovery passed.
I thought this because I've got the one handed mothering down. Nursing a baby balanced on my knee while changing a one year old's diaper while reading to the three year old? Got it. I've got the Instagram in one hand and baby in the other down too well. Yes, I have one handed mothering down pat. But maybe I have a baby who can build a skyscraper of virtue scream by scream right now because I need to be retaught how to mother with two hands.
I feel like I was really sucking at motherhood right before her, which could have been aided by hormones. Yet ever since she was born bellowing, my cup runneth over in patience and humility. I suspect part of comes from reading this book and part of it comes from just being sick with feeling like a selfish, failing mom. The rest is from her and a recommissioning to mother. I needed Elise, our feisty Elise, to grow in this vocation of mine. Sometimes your vocation feels like a vacation, and sometimes you feel like you need a vacation from your vocation. Right now, it's the former for me. A hectic vacation that can make me cry sometimes from all the clamor and exhausts me more than a day at the fair, but gosh, all this love for my children has bought me a pair of rose-colored glasses for this loud, roller coaster time.
So yes, our girl is not a calm baby, she is not a magazine baby, but she is our baby. And what could her crying and shrieking mean? It could mean she needs some time to adjust to the brightness of this world. It could mean she needs some time to learn how to nurse just right so her belly isn't aching. It could mean she needs some time to figure out this whole new home while being homesick for her first. It's endearing to realize that the home she is missing is me.
Here's to making her fall in love with me all over again. I have my hands free.
(Case in point: I started this post 10 days ago, which was also the day she first smiled).