On Becoming a PersonPosted: March 20, 2012
The first days of holding a new human, you will probably be confronted by the desire to maintain his purity. I have never washed my hands as thoroughly or as frequently as I did in the first weeks of bringing Baby Rex home. I washed all of his bottles before he arrived, and then at least once more before he sucked on those artificial nipples. Although I still guard him with a fierce protectiveness, I no longer feel compelled to filter his air before he breathes it, I allow the dog to give him wet kisses, and I don’t insist that every fiber that touches his skin be freshly washed. However, now I that I am concerned so much less with physically guarding him from unsanitary conditions of the world, I feel this overwhelming need to protect his little heart and mind. I know there have been times when I’ve looked at a small child and wished it would just be quiet, or go away, or leave me in peace, or do what I want. It pains me to think that there will be people in this world who will not treat him with the utter affection and care I know he deserves.
Now that we’re getting to know each other better, I’ve clearly moved from obsessing over superficial, surface protection, to worrying over his feelings and how other people interact with him. Like, the fact that the nanny most likely does not think its cute when he starts his pre-cry pant and rush to console him. Or how people in the elevator might not appreciate his “words” as much as I do. I am his mother, and I accept that this is a normal part of my role in his life. Everything he does is so amazing to me, because he is an entity that we created.
Maybe its just because this is night #1 of sleep training. He is doing amazingly great so far. We’re 2 hours and 39 minutes deep, and he’s woken up twice to cry, just to bravely put himself back to sleep. What an incredibly courageous thing it is to learn to be a person. He’s no longer my little newborn that needed to be cajoled into waking to eat.
They were right. He’s already growing up too fast!