I’d like to stage a peace rally. And I want to invite you all to participate. I’ll tell you all about it. But first I have to tell you this:
Tomorrow my baby boy will be one year old. I have very mixed feelings about that. Unless the universe intervenes in some highly unforeseen way, he’s my last baby. And, of course I’m happy that he is growing, but I’m sad that his infancy came and went so quickly. It all just seems like a whirlwind of sleep deprivation and busy-ness. In the past year, though, I’ve come to understand, in my completely, totally, absolutely unbiased opinion, that he is the smartest, cutest, funniest, most talented, perfectly fabulous baby in the entire world.
Allow me to brag for a moment, if you will…
When I first found out I was pregnant my doctor ordered an immediate ultrasound due to problems I’d had in the past. That ultrasound, and the 2nd ultrasound, and the 3rd ultrasound showed that there was no baby. There was just an empty sac. But the FOURTH ultrasound… almost a full month later… showed my strong healthy little bean with his perfect heart thumping away. Ha! My baby had his own way of doing things even when he was just a microscopic ball of goo.
At 34 weeks I started having contractions. They were sporadic, but strong. ”Stay in there,” we told him. ”Hold on tight. You need to grow a little more.” And he stayed. All through week 34. And week 35. And weeks 36, 37 and 38. And week 39. And 40. And 41. And 42. Finally, we sent someone in to get him. He’s a very good boy. He did EXACTLY what we told him to do!
He was born weighing 9 pounds, 4 ounces. A big strong baby boy! On day one he could lift his own head and bear some weight on his legs, when supported. I’m sure this had something to do with me being pregnant for 10 1/2 months (do the math… 40 divided by 4 weeks…). But still! At six months he was crawling all over the place, eating needles off the Christmas tree and generally getting into everything. At eight months, 3 days he took his first step. Saints preserve us!
And he talks! I’ve been told that boys’ language develops more slowly than girls, but this Hippie baby already has a whole pocket full of words that he chants like a mantra while going about the baby business of exploring the world. ”Mamamamamamamamamama.” ”Byebye!Byebye!Byebye!Byebye!” And, most recently, my personal favorite, “Butt!Butt!Butt!Butt!”
His dance moves are a little…. uhm…. well, let’s just say that, with Handsome Hippie Hubby and I as parents he was never destined to be a dancer. But what he lacks in skill he makes up for with enthusiasm.
So, you see? Obviously, he’s a genius. No doubt about it. And I know why.
It’s because I breastfed him and used cloth diapers.
What? You disagree? WELL! Now we shall go to WAR!
At least, that’s what I understand from recent media. I’ve been told that mommies are having WARS.
My dearest friend has a baby, a few months older than mine. He’s never had a drop of breast milk and she wouldn’t dream of putting him in any kind of diaper that couldn’t be thrown away. And he is bright and smart and healthy and strong. And, admittedly, a much better dancer than my son.
A woman at church told me that, when her children were babies, she couldn’t bear the thought of them eating bland foods. So she added salt and sugar to their baby food. *GASP!* Guess what? They are all healthy, productive adults today.
When my sister’s twins were born she had four children, under the age of 3. Do you honestly think she cloth diapered and breastfed all of them? Are you nuts?!?! I was in awe of her that they were all diapered, in any form, and that she did manage to nurse the babies for a while before switching to bottles.
Author Jill Churchill once said, “There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.”
Amen, sister! Preach it!
Some mothers feel they can serve their family best by going to work to earn money which they, in turn, spend on the things their family needs and wants. Some feel it’s best they stay home with their children. Some breastfeed. Some use bottles. And the media will have us believe that moms are waging war over these differences. But is that the reality? I mean… if I see a mother neglecting her children or abusing them in any way… THAT is something worth going to battle for. But, with rare exception, moms love their children. A lot. More than anything else in the whole wide world. More than they ever loved themselves. More than they ever thought they could love anyone. And, based on their own life experiences and culture and abilities, they make the best choices they know how for their precious little ones.
Moms love their kids. It’s what moms do. And they do it the best way they know how.
And so, I’d like to stage a peace rally. I would like all the mothers of the world…
the ones who ONLY use silver flatware and the ones who spit chewed up food into their baby’s mouth… the ones who bust out a boob in the middle of the mall and the ones who can’t fathom not using a bottle… the ones who work their bums off in a job outside the house and the ones who work their bums off taking care of the house…..
to unite. Let us, metaphorically, join hands and sing folk songs and celebrate our love for our children. Maybe, when the media sees our sweet peaceful non-resistance and our united front in caring about the mental, emotional and spiritual health of the children of the world they will stop their ridiculous reporting on issues like the appropriateness of breastfeeding a toddler and they will turn their attention to helping kids who don’t get fed at all. Or any other number of issues to which attention needs to be given.