Does he use a pacifier? Are you breastfeeding? Why are you still breastfeeding? Does he sleep through the night? Is he in his own bed? Why isn't that baby wearing a hat? It's cold. Boy or girl? Is he a good baby? Are you just so in love? Why do you hold that baby so much? You will spoil him.
Are you kidding me!?
Now, I understand that most people just like babies and are trying to strike up casual conversation so they can touch my baby with their questionably clean hands and tell me to enjoy every second, BUT some of these questions rub me the wrong way. Perhaps it is because of the "kind" of baby I have and perhaps it is because I just don't have the answer they are looking for.
Does he use a pacifier? My answer: Yep, he does. What I want to say: And no, I'm not worried that he will suck it until high school and end up with buck teeth and a creepy oral fixation that will lead him to be a serial killer with a soothie calling card. What I AM worried about is his blood curdling scream in the car and sometimes at night that is typically soothed with a pacifier when my nipples need a break. Which leads me to my next question.
Are you breastfeeding? My answer: Yes, I am. What I want to say: Part of me wants to say, "none of your damn business." But I think this topic in particular interests not only mothers but everyone! And I am happy to talk about it, while doing it, gasp, IN PUBLIC! if my kid is hungry. I do not find my or any child eating in public to be offensive, but what I do find offensive in public is a baby screaming and ripping at my shirt because he is hungry.
Why are you still breastfeeding? My answer: Because my baby is still hungry. What I want to say is: You know, I feed him all the time but he never seems to fill up! Sarcasm I also want to point out that bottle fed babies are still getting bottles but that just opens up the GIANT can of mommy war breast vs. bottle worms and I DO NOT want to get into that discussion in line at the market! If you are feeding your baby, I'm happy.
Does he sleep through the night? This is BY FAR the most ridiculous question to ask a mother. General public, stop asking this question! If the baby isn't then you are asking a sleep deprived, hormonal woman a stupid question and you may just get an earful. My answer: Yes, he just wakes up a lot. Their look: BLANK STARE. What I REALLLLLLY want to say: Don't ask me that fucking question AGAIN stranger! Why do you care? Are you going to come over and relieve me at 2am? Do you have some advice that I haven't already heard yet that worked on your neighbors uncles second cousins baby? Or do you want to brag about how all your kids started sleeping through by 6 weeks and then tell me how you did it? Or perhaps you want to look at me with pity and say, "Wow, I don't know how you do it. I'd just kill myself if I was up that much. Thank god my babies slept" Be my guest, asshole.
No baby sleeps through the night. Hell, even adults don't! It's just some babies call out when they wake up and some roll over and go back to sleep. Can you tell I'm sick of "does your baby sleep?" questions, as if sleeping all night is some sort of major accomplishment to be placed front and center on ones resume. Caches, we were going to give you the job as CEO, but we hear that you woke up all night for a good year so, sorry, better luck next time. This may rub some people the wrong way, but I think parents give themselves WAY too much credit for their babies sleep. Sleep is not something you can force, teach or train a baby to do. All you can do is exactly what I do. Give the baby a comfortable, safe place to sleep and pray to god that he doesn't wake up ALL FUCKING NIGHT! Maybe I'm a little defensive on this one...moving on
Is he in his own bed? Another favorite. My answer: No. Usually followed by them warning me that I am creating a horrible habit and it will be impossible to ever get him in his own room and we are all going to end up on dateline when I move in with my son to his college dorm to sleep with him in his extra long twin bed! My question for them, if they are wearing a wedding ring. Do you sleep alone in your own room? Yeah, thought so.
What I really want to say is again, WHY DO YOU CARE? It is not your bed, not your baby, not your face that gets punched all night, not your marriage, family or problem. Because my baby doesn't sleep through the night, eats a minimum of 2 times and calls out to us frequently. it just plain makes life easier! Plus, waking up to baby noises, cuddles and possible blowing of raspberries on my arm is the BEST way to start the day.
Why isn't that baby wearing a hat? It's cold! My answer: I usually don't even acknowledge this one. I kinda just smile and walk on. What I want to say: Because it's not that cold! We live in central California! Orrrrr maybe I forgot it at home. Depends on the day
Boy or girl? My answer: Boy. What I want to say: Boy. This question is usually asked by older folks who are just wanting to smile at a baby. Maybe in their generation girls wore blue?
Is he a good baby? My answer: What do you mean? They usually then ask if he sleeps well, which I will never understand why that alone constitutes weather a baby is good or bad, but in that case, nope. He is bad. Bad? Can a baby be bad?
Personally I don't think so. I think even a screaming, demanding, exhausting, needy, up all night baby is STILL a good baby. Maybe not ideal for the brain functioning of mama, but still good. Maybe I'm just sensitive to this because by modern, stranger/general public terms I have a "bad" baby. Sigh
Are you just so in love? My answer: Yes. What I want to say: I am absolutely head over heals obsessively in love with my baby, but it wasn't always this way. It took me months, yes MONTHS to fall in love with my baby. This may shock some of you who think that the instant you lock eyes with your newborn that you fall madly, deeply forever in love, and for some mothers that is true, it just wasn't for me. And guess what, THAT IS OKAY. I felt love for him the moment we met, heck I felt love for him when he was a zygote! I also felt a fierce primal desire to protect and care for him, but actually falling in love took some time.
Maybe it is because we had a rough start. Him spending much of the first few months screaming and me thinking it was all my fault. Or maybe it is because we just had to get to know each other first. Discover what makes the other one tick, our likes and dislikes, needs and desires. Or maybe I just needed to let go of any and ALL expectations I had and love and accept this perfect baby for who he is, NOT what I wish he would be. cough...quiet for a two hour stretch at night...cough
Why do you hold that baby so much? You will spoil him. My answer: I only hold him as much as he wants to be held. What I want to say: You can NOT spoil a baby! Maybe I do hold him "too much" but I guarantee that never, EVER will I look back on my baby's first year and think gosh, I sure do wish I didn't hold him so much.
And even though sometimes all I want to do is PUT THE FREAKIN' KID DOWN FOR FIVE FREAKIN' MINUTES, I know that I will never regret the time I spent rocking my baby. Even now, at nearly ten months old, the fact that he is pushing me away and asking to be put down stings my heart a little. I can only imagine looking at him five, ten, twenty years later and wishing that he would just let me hold him one more time. Babies aren't babies for long, hold them while you can...even if it is ALL. DAY. LONG.