There's no great answer here.
I have a three-month-old. For those who are working backwards right now, that means he was born in November. Which is pretty much baby-having season. I don't know if it's just my social circle, but the back half of the year seems to be loaded with births.
That means that my Facebook feed and Instagram and all manner of other social arenas are currently filled with giggling, smiling, happy little babies and moms and dads celebrating snuggly little moments.
We get those moments on occasion.
Most of the time, though, we don't.
So I'll be strolling along (because I now spend most of my time compulsively pushing a stroller back-and-forth to make the little guy stop crying) and somebody inevitably asks me if he's a “good baby.”
I have no idea what to say.
Truly, what kind of jerk describes their own baby as not good?
“Oh, THIS baby? He's terrible. Worst. Baby. Ever.”
I smile and make some joke about lack of sleep, while genuinely wishing I could crawl into my own hollow eyeball sockets and take a nap.
But a nap isn't on the docket for today, so I pack my baby up into the car seat that he hates and fake a smile and carry onward into the world. The world that alternately asks about the disposition of my infant and then glares at him for not being a “good baby” because he dares to disrupt their peace.
I see the occasional quiet infant in the grocery store checkout line and I wonder if this is one of the rare, mythical-seeming good babies that the whole world's on the hunt for. I look at the moms and dads in their yoga pants and stubble, and I'm encouraged by familiar signs of exhaustion. In a weird way, their desperation comforts me because I know I'm not alone. This silence is probably – hopefully? – just a reprise for them. Baby's momentarily distracted by a bright light or a weird smell. The moment they walk back into their house, that bundle of joy will start wailing his or her head off and that couple will be left just like I am, wondering why their baby can't be one of the good ones.
Let's stop assigning labels to our children and call it like it is. Babies go through phases. Some good, some bad. It's not personal, and it's not a reflection on them or their parents. It's situational. It's budding communication. It's hunger, exhaustion, over-exertion or distractibility. Heck, it may actually be a slow reveal of character traits but BELIEVE ME when I tell you that even the most maddening baby behavior doesn't make your child good or bad. That stubborn streak you see could make her a shrewd business person someday. That sleeplessness may later reveal a drive to entertain. Wanting to be held all the time might just mean that he's a compassionate, caring little being. Not good. Not bad. Just human.
Learn to ride it out. See the big picture. This precious period of time will feel short in retrospect. Cut your baby and yourself some slack. My biggest lifesaver has been my community. Various friends and family offer to hold the little guy, and I take them up on it every single time! If you're a fellow parent of a newborn, my biggest piece of advice is to beg, borrow or kidnap other humans to come into your home and sit there while you sleep or shower or consume something other than a granola bar.
Oma and Opa and Nana and Papa and aunties and uncles and friends, you people are my rock. You are welcome to hold my child anytime of the day or night.
Just please, seriously, don't remark over what a good baby he is in your arms.