Damn, can a baby make you feel guilty!
Whether its looking at me with his two dark pools of judgement, or completely ignoring my attempts to win him over, Liam sure lays the guilt on pretty thick.
Of course, I know its not intentional but having a baby makes me so much more aware of what I’m doing or how I’m doing it, and what I’m saying and how. Have you ever left home and forgotten to put on deodorant and you spend your whole day nonchalant and oblivious until you realise that you forgot to put on deodarant and then you immediately think the entire room can smell your B.O? Yea? Well that’s what it’s like to have a baby observing your every move. Do I still swear like a pirate? Pretty much; I can’t help I have a foul mouth and there are certain four-letter words which have become a part of my every day vocabulary. But I’m trying. John has even suggested a “swear jar”- $2 towards Liam’s bank account every time I say a curse word at home. It’s brilliant, actually. Anyone who knows me knows I’ll be broke at the end of the month. So, I’m really trying to curb it.
Now that Liam has graduated to solids, he is becoming more aware and interested in what I’m eating. This is where the guilt really sets in. You see, he has a habit of watching my hand, sometimes holding a fork, (or not, doesn’t really matter to him), reaching down to my plate or bowl, and watching the food travel to my mouth which he then proceeds to watch me chew until I swallow. And he does this for the entire meal. That is, unless he gets tired of watching me eat and not giving him any and decides to throw a tantrum instead. Which is becoming the more popular outcome. It’s all in the eyes. The way his eyes search my face and his facial expression is a combination of “What ya got there? That looks yummy, can I have some, can I have some?” and “I’m so hungry, so so hungry, can you tell how hungry I am?” I usually spend my entire meal laughing at his face although I do feel guilty like I want to share whatever I have with him. But it doesn’t end there. When I do share a little taste with him, I still feel guilty!! One trip for icecream, one saucer-like eye glance too many and one lick offered from my mint chocolate chip and I was pretty much ready to report myself to child services.
I kid, I kid.
Of course, there are plenty of guilt-free treats that are specifically designed for babies. While I’ve decided to stray away from conventional baby introductory foods like cereals and pureed foods from the shelf, I am all for finger foods that encourage Liam to feed himself. I started with an all-time favourite, Farley’s rusks. Babies have loved these for generations. Little did I know, Liam would more than love these. He was literally obsessed with them. He gnawed on the rusk like nobody’s business and I was so glad to see him feeding himself and enjoying it too. That was until it dissolved down to a size he could easily fit into his mouth, which of course he tried to do, so I took it away. Big mistake. I can’t say I’ve ever heard him cry so much, and the screaming , oh, the screaming. Frankly, he cried to the point of bringing the rusk back up. And my guilt came along with it. “Oh, you have to take that part and mash it into a bowl,” they said. They clearly did not know what type of baby we were dealing with here. Even John’s joke of pretending to take a bite, sparked a hysterical reaction. No one can mess with his rusks.
In other news, Liam is now sitting up!
How could I possibly feel guilt from such a glorious milestone? Well, Liam hasn’t quite mastered sitting up and staying up. Catch my drift? One specific night while I was engrossed in an episode of Game of Thrones, I placed Liam on the carpet and placed my hand a safe distance behind his back in case he lost his balance. “I’m watching him!” I retorted to each of John’s warnings. It happened so fast. My hand was useless at that point cause he fell right past it; it could might have well not been there at all. Thud. I didn’t think he hit that hard but not even the robust sound of the Game of Thrones opening soundtrack could drown out his head connecting with the carpet and his reaction thereafter. As if I didn’t feel guilty enough, John’s look of disapproval sure didn’t help. “He fell right past my hand, I swear.” Of course, a little caress, a little kiss and a tickle and Liam was back to normal in no time.
Being a mother is a challenging job, but being the best kind is even more demanding. Then I have to think- what is the best kind of mother? Is there really any criteria to determine what qualities make up the best kind of mother? There are the obvious qualities such as being maternal, having compassion, sensitivity and understanding. But, as every child is different, doesn’t that make the care they require from their mothers somewhat different and individual too? I guess there’s no straight-forward answer to that.
If I had to set a criteria for the best kind of mother it would be simple; be your child’s truest friend and always be there to make them laugh and feel loved even in their darkest hours.
And put your hand closer to their back.
And don’t take away the last bit of the rusk.