Doing a Good Job
I’m currently on a flight to Peru, with my family, but not with my family. My husband is a frequent traveler for work and often is upgraded if there is space for him to do so. Since we purchased tickets separately (I paid for mine and two of my kids with miles) our seats were connected in some areas but not all. So, only my husband’s seat was upgraded. He graciously swapped with me, so he is in the second row of economy with the kids, while I’m hanging out in delta comfort, alone.
The backstory is important because I somehow ended up in the only row in comfort plus with a baby in arms. That baby has been sleeping on and off, but when it is off, this little girl is not happy. The sweet mom, I think, was on standby with two little kids. Her son, maybe 4 years old, was seated in another row. After the plane was in the air, the mom brought that little into our row as well.
Being who I am, I have been looking for ways to help- picking up dropped toys, helping mom hold things, etc. This mother is trying to hard to make her baby happy, with toys, food, and playing with bottles of random things pulled out of her purse.
This mom is doing a good job. She is a good mom, whether her baby cries or sleeps the entire 7-hour flight.
But, watching her reminded me of the very early infant days, even though this baby is close to one.
For some babies, it is hard to know exactly what they need to be happy when they’re awake. A few of my babies were some babies. When they’re awake, they’re ticked at the world. They cry in the car, they cry in the swing, they cry any time they aren’t in YOUR arms, and sometimes even there.
You change them, feed them, wear them, anything to help them hopefully be a little happier.
Without words to communicate, you have to learn the language of your new baby. Picking up their subtle, and maybe not-so-subtle cues. You are attuned as much as you can be with that baby. You turn their cues into a language you eventually understand.
It doesn’t come easily, and sometimes the cues get garbled and confusing again. Teething, learning to roll over, all of these stages require us, as parents, to continuously learn what our babies are trying to tell us. Some babies are always easy to read, and others, not so much.
This communication eventually grows into new words learned and we’re so excited, and then those words mixed with crying in the toddler years, and then words again, and then words mixed with words with some crying again in the teenage years. Whatever stage, we never stop learning how to communicate with our children.
We’re doing our best, as parents, friends. We are doing a good job. You can be proud of what you’ve learned about your baby’s communication, whether they’re a newborn or an adult. You, too, are doing a good job.
(I’m posting this over a month after our return from Peru. At one point later in the flight, the baby had fallen asleep and the mom had to take her son to the bathroom. She asked me to watch and hold her. After we landed, the mother reached over to me, put her arm on my hand, and said “Thank you”. I cannot imagine the relief she felt when we landed, but man, y’all, she is doing such a good job.)