Taking care at the right time

I visited a friend today, to cuddle her newborn daughter, Ava, and commiserate about breast-feeding and broken sleep.

Though it has been years, and I do not yet have grandchildren, old habits came back and I basked in holding a small body that breathes with every muscle, not from just the lungs, but from knees, tummy, temples.

When Ava squalled, my instinct was first to hand her back to her mother... then I realized that this is exactly when the mum needs a break.

This is life: the time when are diminished and need respite is the least likely time we take it, and often the least likely time we receive extra cosseting from those who love us.

It's so easy to hand the fussy baby back.

With Ava in my arms, I recalled days when I'd go into the laundry room and weep from frustration, remembered the sweet peace when the crying would stop, the dread when one or both of my twin sons began again.

I sat with my proud but hollow-eyed friend, and assured her that the crying diminishes, your baby thrives, and your friends can take some wailing.


You are a good friend. Your friend is lucky to have you.
Anonymous said…
Yes, I remember those days myself and how I marvelled at the strength of the maternal instinct - why more babies aren't thrown out of the window at this age never ceases to amaze me! What I mean is that I was so deranged from lack of sleep and with no time to recuperate after the birth, bruising, stitches, milk and sore boobs, the list is endless. But who would have missed it for the world? Certainly not I.
materfamilias said…
Lovely post, Duchesse. I remember one morning almost 23 years ago, when a friend stopped by to insist that she take my 3-year old daughter and my weeks-old son back to her place for a few hours because she'd heard that I wasn't sleeping at all. She overrode my objections, checking the freezer where she knew I'd have some milk frozen, packed up the kids, hugged me good-bye, and promised to return them in a few hours. With the house so quiet, I finally relaxed enough to sleep for a blessed hour or two, and will always remember her act of grace, as I'm sure your friend will.
Susan B said…
I second what la belette said. You are the best kind of friend.
Anonymous said…
You are a good and thoughtful friend. Truly.

This post reminded me of that one blessed day when my first child, who was what is termed a *fussy* baby and who was at any given moment either sleeping, eating, or crying for the first three months of his life, went for an entire day without crying. The days before and the days after were normal with lots of crying, but for one day he was content.

I wish your friend occasional days like that.
Anonymous said…
I just remember the terror I felt at being solely responsible for this little person. Just to have someone sit with me and reassure me, as you did with your friend, was the greatest gift in the world.
Jennifer said…
very nice

(want to come over and play with a 5yo?????)
Anjela's Day said…
I was alone with the children all day- had never been a 'housewife' Most of it was like a fun fest- And when they were being children- when it was time for me to tear my hair out- after I had thrown out the T Berry Brazelton books and decided NOT to potty train my children(My sister in England was concerned they would never be trained) "Hah! well by the time they reach 80 they will be back in napppies anyway" I said.
I gave myself time out when they were too overwhelming. A whole new concept (to me) I allowed them go bananas whilst I locked myself in the room for 'time out' because I never understood 'Time Out' I saw children 'punished' because they were being children.Why should they be locked away.Why should I NOT be locked away?

I thaked the gods that they were healthy and able to act out. I would call my husband if it got too crazy and say "You have to come home now. I am having a meltdown and the children are misbehaving like American brats" (no offense to any American readers)I always thought it was his genes of course that were the cause of the problems- never the European side... sure enough he would come home and relieve me......

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