“Is she a good baby?”
It’s an awful question. A good baby, I guess, is one who makes her parents’ life easy. Who sleeps happily for long stretches in her own cot. Who lies on the floor, burbling cheerfully, while looking at a mobile or playing with a rattle. Who is generally good-tempered and easygoing, no matter who’s looking after her.
That wasn’t my baby.
My baby would only sleep with me. Her determination was fierce for such a tiny thing. I would try the tricks that the experts advised worked on every baby, stroking her gently, standing by her cot, waiting for her to fall asleep. Not my baby. She would sleep peacefully in a sling, or next to me in bed, but nowhere else. The cot was a waste of money, as was the bassinet.
As was the pram. Out walking, I would marvel at other people’s babies who seemed perfectly content to be pushed along in front of their mums, just sitting back and enjoying the scenery. Not my baby. If she wasn’t in the sling, or carried in my arms, she would cry.
Obviously, in the car, she had to be in a baby capsule. That made her miserable. The only way I could keep her happy on long trips was to sit in the back seat next to her while my husband drove.
I bought toys that I thought might be able to keep her amused, like mobiles and rattles and all sorts of colourful and interesting things. But she cried every time I put her down on the rug, unless I was lying next to her, reading to her or playing with her. She just hated tummy time.
I'd had visions of being able to sit her in a bouncer and chat to her while I prepared dinner. That never worked. That was too far away from me.
So that was the way her babyhood was - the two of us, joined together. Although I didn't get a lot of stuff done, I did have a lot of lovely one-on-one time with her as I carried her everywhere - eye-to-eye, skin-to-skin, heart-to-heart.