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Friday, 1 June 2012

A "good" baby

My daughter is amazing. She is funny, loving, sweet, wise, tenacious, beautiful, and an all-around happy child. She makes me proud to be her mother each and every day.

"But is she a good baby?"

People have been asking this question since the day I brought her home from the hospital? What does it mean to have a "good" baby? Are there really any "bad" babies?

From what I gather, when people ask whether you have a "good" baby, what they are really trying to figure out is whether or not your baby is convenient, and possibly even whether h/she is predictable. Several follow-up questions are inevitably asked:

Does she fuss a lot? 
Does she need to be in arms all the time? 
Does she sleep through the night? 
Is she on a schedule for eating and sleeping? 

According to these criteria, McKenna is not a good baby. Does she fuss a lot? No, but I believe that is because we are responsive to her needs. She doesn't need to cry to get our attention; if we're paying attention to her cues then we can usually figure out what she needs before she has to resort to tears. However, like most babies she likes to be cuddled and held, and if given the choice will always choose being up in arms over a playpen. She's not on any type of a sleep schedule (not for lack of trying), and sleeps whenever she decides she's ready. Sometimes that means she has three or four half-hour naps throughout the day, and other times she may sleep for two-and-a-half hours without waking. She wakes roughly every hour through the night and wants to be nursed to get back to sleep. Similarly, she eats when she's hungry, not according to the clock. Is she convenient? To be honest, not really. Fortunately that was never an expectation of mine. Microwave dinners are convenient. Disposable cutlery are convenient. Cars are convenient. Babies aren't meant to be convenient, and I didn't choose to have a baby so that my life could be made easier. She is unpredictable in her moods, and downright demanding. So no, she's not a "good" baby. But I wouldn't trade her for the world... or even a solid night's sleep.