Monday, October 17, 2011

Momentary Maternal Mood

This is my nephew Callen. I just spent the weekend in St. Louis with him, his parents, and my in-laws. We had a fantastic weekend filled with visiting, playing, and watching the Cardinals win (Go Cards!). But most of the weekend was spent holding, playing, adoring, and helping out as best I could with my 5 month old nephew. 

Now nothing against my other nieces, nephews, and friends children, but this little guy has to be one of the most well behaved, quiet, and smiley children I've ever met. This is a little guy who laughed when he got his first shots. He smiles at everything. He almost never cries. He was sleeping four or five hours at a a stretch within days of birth. In other words, he's the kind of child every parent wished they had. 

And I was suckered in. He was so smiley, so happy, so easy to snuggle with and help with. I actually found myself thinking about motherhood. I thought to myself that if I could guarantee that this is what my child would be like I would sign up without a thought. I guess Jeff echoed the same feelings when asked by Callen's mother Jen. I watched her feed him, I read to him and snuggled with him, I watched his first bath in the big tub (he'll be very angry with me one day for posting this picture). I was fascinated. And for a moment I thought about being a mother. 

Then we decided to spell Jen and take care of the little one for an hour or two while she did some grocery shopping alone. He slept for a little while and woke up a bit fussy. This was odd. We had heard him fuss once the entire time we had been there. And it hadn't even been real fussing. Just a single whine or two. But now he was a tad fussy. So we changed him and I walked him around and he settled down. He relaxed enough to go back to sleep. 

And when he woke up, he was a totally different baby. He was hungry. And we were unprepared. He cried. He screamed. We hadn't heard more than a little whimper all weekend and here he was crying so hard he was coughing. I held him while Jeff started getting food ready. I tried to soothe him. I walked around, I sang, I rocked. But nothing helped. I came very close to handing him to Jeff and hiding in the bathroom. Here was the perfect child, screaming because of something I'd done, or failed to do. He cried while we fed him. It was only when we skipped the cereal and gave him his bottle that he settled. Then the smiles were back. But by then I had been reminded. I'm not cut out for parenthood. I'm just not. I sighed a sweet smile when mom came home and I could unload groceries instead. I love my new nephew, just like I love all my nieces and nephews and godchildren and friend's children. I love taking care of them for a while and then handing them back. No offense Jen. He is an amazing child. 


Keith said...

1. What a cute little bean. Those cheeks are made for pinching.

2. Aunts and Uncles get all the fun with few of the headaches.

3. Bless you for recognizing that you shouldn't be a parent. I wish more people would figure that out before having kids.

Anonymous said...

none taken :) i never thought i would be "mother material" and i remember telling someone that if those instincts don't kick in this child is in big trouble! Thank god they kicked in! Thanks for the help over the great seeing you guys...and sorry on Sunday i didn't have you better prepared! I thought he wouldn't be hungry for about another hour...see i am still learning!


Cat B said...

Thanks Keith, He is adorable isn't he? I LOVE being an aunt. I get to play with him and adore him and then hand him back when he gets fussy. Perfect.

Jen, I'm glad I didn't offend. He is the best behaved baby I've ever seen. And of course adorable. You are doing a great job! I'm glad we could help a bit this weekend. Really it was just wonderful to see you. You should be proud of how well those maternal instincts kicked in. You're a great mom.