- Family and Parenting
What Babies Can Do
When my wife told me she was pregnant, I thought I was as ready for kids as any man could be. Eight months later I began to realize how wrong I was.
Newborns have some interesting abilities. They cannot multitask, but they are proven goal setters. I've never heard any human 'communicate' a need for food as my firstborn could. He would focus on the goal of attaining food and communicate his goal to anyone who would listen, out to a 1000 yard radius.
Crying is a baby's chosen method of communication. I say chosen on purpose. They know what they're doing. They were given a manual at birth which instructed them to use crying as a catch-all goal-accomplishment tool. The usual targets of that tool are parents, but can include grandparents, babysitters, and visiting Jehovah Witnesses. A baby's crying has the same intent and force as an order issued from the Captain of a ship: "I want what I want, and I want it right now!"
In addition to crying, babies are highly capable eaters. Once the crying has accomplished its purpose, the food begins to disappear. Once again the baby has made a choice. They could eat anything they wanted, from steak to lasagna. Perhaps it's the lack of teeth or the inability to grasp a fork, but they choose mother's milk or formula almost every time.
After the consumption of victuals has subsided, babies turn to their favorite activity of all time: sleeping. This is when babies are easiest to get along with. During the sleeping period, babies won't demand much, and they certainly won't be solving those pesky quadratics equations.
Finally, some time after eating, and usually during sleeping, the baby will perform his greatest achievement: pushing from the bowel. This activity allows babies to work on a critical skill for later in life: making faces. Baby bowel-pushing faces allow parents a brief glimpse into the soul of the baby, exposing the baby's most private thought: "Wow, this is fun. I feel so good about myself when I can offer my parents this thoughtful gift." Bowel-pushing in our home became a major event. My son made all-state bowel-pusher within 4 months, and even won an invitational meet at our church.
Take heart parents-to-be. Life will change dramamtically, sometimes painfully. But seek to find the humor in the new situation and allow yourself to enjoy the ride.