27 Nov 2010, 8:18am

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Hold That Baby

Hold That Baby

“You hold that baby too much,” a young mother recently told me.
Excuse me, Chickie, I thought biting my tongue, but it reminded me that, during one of the Natural Childbirth Classes I attended three years ago, the training nurse showed us a device breast feeding mothers were supposed to wear. The baby could lay on this padded “shelf” which was strapped to your neck and waist. The baby nursed himself while you had both hands basically free to do something else.
Well, I don’t know what else; maybe get their e-mail or chat on their cell phone while they smoked a mentholated cigarette and sipped artificially flavored coffee!
I’m not a nursing mother, but I like to hug my baby close as I hold his Playtex Nurser. I can’t see his little face, yet I look at him and make faces and sing and talk to him and sometimes even let my emotional tears of love bathe his face.
I can feel his little hand pat the bottle, play with my fingers and tightly grip my pinky. As he drifts off to sleep in my arms, he relaxes his grip and he stops sucking.
I am thrilled that he trusts me to keep him safe while he sleeps. I gently maneuver him up-right against my chest to let a whisper of milky air slip past his tiny rosebud lips and I resist plopping him immediately into his crib. I cherish the feel of his plump, limp sleeping body held against mine. I rub his warm, fuzzy little head and breathe a prayer of thanks for this
Oh Dear Gussie! If I were holding my baby too much for these past six-months, he wouldn’t be so adept at rolling from front to back and back to front; he wouldn’t be exploring his toes the way he does; and he wouldn’t know how to lift his belly off the blanket and be ready to crawl any day now.
Do these young mothers have any appreciation of what a precious gift little babies are? The public schools seem to place a lot of emphasis on “Sex Education” where all the mechanics of sexual inter-course, biological reproduction and growth are taught. Can they, or is it even the schools place, to attempt to teach the emotional impact that wanted or unwanted
children has on themselves and society? Our churches seem to over-look immorality by saying we must love the sinner, not the sin, instead of holding people to a higher goal. The young parents of today, if they are even married, seem to be so busy with their dual-incomes and purchases of cars and great sound systems that they treat babies like items to be put in cold
storage until they (the parents) are ready for them.
Perhaps this is why we need grandparents who have weathered many trials and tribulations during their multiple decades; who have melded textbook education with real life experiences (reality); and who have acquired the patience and wisdom to see a bigger picture. It takes hind-sight to realize how relatively short an amount of time we have our children.
There is a song that says: Where are you going, my little one, my all. Turn around and they’re small. Turn around and they’re tall. Turn around and they’re not there at all.
When I was a young sighted mother, I thought my three children would be mine forever. Now, as a blind grandmother raising two more babies, I know these children are just on loan.
The young mother who told me I held my baby too much probably didn’t know she paid me quite a compliment when she exclaimed with Exasperation, “How can you always put a screaming baby to sleep so easily?”
It really isn’t any deep, dark secret, Chickie, I thought smiling like Whistler’s mother. You just hold that baby in your arms and let him feel your heart beat with love.
(Copyright 2001, 2010 by Kate Chamberlin. All rights reserved. 2/15/2001 Wayne County STAR)

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