Monday, August 25, 2014

What's wrong with being a baby and why is crying a crime?

Princess Morag has come across an attitude in various places in the last few years where it seems like being a baby is considered an offense and crying is a crime.  She would like to question these assumptions for a minute, as these ideas disturb her.

The princess was aware of all the parenting manuals that are available when she became pregnant and had a baby seven years ago.  But she did not take much stock in them.  She was figuring God gave mothers instincts for a reason and she intended to follow hers.  After all, her baby was a product of herself and her husband and she was the world's expert on herself and definitely in the top three for her husband!  She figured that genetics gave her a head start over professionals or "experts" who wrote a book but hadn't met any of them.

It seems like some parenting approaches involve trying to move the baby onto the next developmental stage as quickly as possible.  Princess Morag wasn't keen on that.  Change always being a trying thing, child development happened far too quickly for her liking anyway, nevermind trying to make it go faster!  Checking all the boxes wasn't her kind of approach.  Trying to survive was the main strategy.  Along with anything that meant she could get a decent amount of sleep and therefore not turn into murderous meltdown mum.

The babyhoods of the young master and the little maiden were definitely different, probably made more obvious by their proximity.  The young master had the luxury of being the first born and everyone enjoyed the benefit of a tummy full of formula making sleeping through the night more likely.  It was a different story with the young maiden.  She was always crying to be held, always crying for "mummy milk" and thought big brother was much more interesting than the prospect of lying in a crib for a nap.

Yes, the little maiden's crying was hard to deal with .  Yes, she needed the Princess a LOT, and a lot more than the Princess had anticipated.  Yes, the Princess was completely drained and exhausted, but was it the little maiden's fault?  Was her little tiny baby heart full of manipulation?  NO!  She was a baby.  Babies need adults for e v e r y t h i n g.  That's like the deal of parenthood.  You get cute little baby, then you give them everything you have and more so they grow into good adult humans.  And then after a few years they don't need you quite so much, and it feels kinda weird, but good.

But it's not like baby birds that the parent birds feed for a while and then watch them fly from the nest.  It's not as short and sweet as that.  Toddlerhood comes before independence and it is a strange planet where you have two and three year old dictators trying to run your life while relying on you to feed them and keep their little butts clean.  These are the days where they think they should be adults but simultaneously have sudden moments when they want to be babies again and drive you demented by asking for stuff and then yelling no and crying when you try to give it to them.

Understandably during these years, boundaries are important and there needs to be some persuasion for them to actually understand that ruling the universe is just not possible.  Yes, they should be encouraged to use verbal communication rather than scream and kick their little feet and run away in the opposite direction every time you ask them to do something.  Yes, they should learn how to express their feelings in ways that are deemed 'socially acceptable' but should they be shamed for the times when they act like a baby or cry??

Princess Morag is an adult and she still has days where all she wants is for someone to cradle her, and shush her, and stroke her hair and whisper that "everything is going to be ok".  She has days where she wishes she had zero responsibility and that her fairy godmother would just take care of everything.  She has days where tears could fall at any slight thing.  She is a sensitive person.  Should she be shamed for that?  She has been in the past.  But why should it be such a crime?

Emotional sensitivity and physical dependence make people uncomfortable in a world that prizes independence and emotionless problem solving.  An illness or disability that means total reliance on others (like a baby) to meet their food or hygiene needs or might limit verbal communication is deemed sufficient reason by many to not be born or to kill oneself.  Why?

Does a soul need a mouth that can proclaim with sound that it exists?  With an intelligible word and not a cry. Does a soul only count as human if it is in a body that is whole and independent?  We are all dependent on others, some a bit more so.  It is how we react to people who are limited in their human capabilities that measures OUR worthiness.  What place does kindness have in your life?  Do you time for compassion?  Are you exercising patience with yourself and others?

Babies demand with their cries that we pay attention to them and meet their needs.  But we don't want to hear them and react, because we would rather be busy being independent and meeting our own needs.  If somebody cries in response to something we said or did, it is easier to shame them for being "sensitive" than admitting that we might have been insensitive in our words or actions.

The princess is an advocate for babies and people who cry because she has been both.  Babies express honestly how they feel.  They have a need and cry till it is fixed.  For those taught to hide needs and be ashamed of tears, to return to the honesty of a baby's cry would be success, not a travesty.

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