- How is the baby?
- How are you sleeping?
The first question is easy. Because the answer is always: the baby is fine. Even if the baby is not fine, that is the answer you give. You can’t give real answers. It’s not that kind of conversation. It’s just a nice way to allow people to show their affection for you and your growing family.
If you don’t have kids but plan to have them some day, remember that. Chances are you’ll need to change the way you hear that question soon, so that when you have a baby you don’t start answering the way things are really going. Because, if you were being honest, you would probably say: “Baby is fine, except…” (don’t worry, there are LOTS of things you can fill in here. I’ll just add one.)
Baby is fine, except…that he cries a lot.
He cries for long periods of time for no reason, then just STOPS. He just STOPS crying?! As if it’s not confusing enough to hear babies cry for long periods of time without any cause, add to it that they suddenly stop. And then you think, “Ok, WHAT just happened? How did the baby stop crying?”
You will want to remember this, since you’ll add it to the ever-growing list of things to do when the baby cries next time. You’ll mentally note the environmental conditions (temperature, moisture, wind speed), then you’ll check out his body position (was that a 30 degree angle, or 45?), maybe note the time of day, track his feeding schedule, how long since his last poop? And if he finally fell asleep and he happens to be on you, you stay still. You won’t move an INCH for fear of waking him.
So then he’s asleep, and your partner is asleep, but you’re not sleeping. That’s OK, you think, I don’t need to sleep right now. I have an iPad, Facebook, a smartphone, and 600 TV channels. There are so many other things to do besides sleeping. Why waste the time? You tell yourself it’s OK. You’ll sleep later. For now, you revel in the moment that baby rests peacefully, nestled on your bosom. And then you realize you have to go to the bathroom.
I think you get where I’m going with this.
So how are you sleeping? Fine. If by FINE, you understand that I really mean that I consider sleep to be something like an old friend that you think fondly of. Images of warm, sunny days, spent sleeping until noon on a Saturday — just because — flash into your mind. Afternoon naps when you feel a little sleepy. Waking up “early” to get to brunch on a Saturday morning. Feeling a sense of pride when you get out of the house before nine on the weekends and still look fashionable.
But, somehow, babies have this way of making you love watching them rest, even after hours of screaming just moments before. You look at their precious little faces, with their chubby cheeks and soft expression, and you think “My heart is whole. I love this little person.”
And that’s why people keep having babies. Over and over and over again.