A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Smile at me! I’m a Happy Baby

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder's son

Today I took my son to the library. I mean I tried, but he fell asleep on the way. So instead we took a walk along the lakefront. He woke up awhile later and started to cry. He has been up late a lot lately. Growth spurt I suppose most would say. He has been cranky and pulling new stunts like push- ups and pulling himself up on the table. So naturally I gave him the boob to calm him down. He quickly lightened up and we headed into a café.

I spread my coat on the floor and we sat down. I knew he would want to pull himself up so I sat next to a chair. I looked around at the people. Four women with laptops and ear buds. No one looked up. I knew not look too hard or except a greeting. It’s just how we are, as humans, as social creatures. We go about our business, we know other people are around, but we pretend they are not. Everyone knows everyone is pretending, but we just follow the rules and mind our own business.

Everyone, but Jack. Jack doesn’t know any of this nonsense. Jack quickly pulled himself up on the chair and looked around. He stared at the ladies. He started to yell. “Aaaahhh! Ooooo! Geeee!” No one looked. He continued with his story. I told him it was very interesting and I wanted to hear more. He yelled at the ladies louder. No one looked. These ladies were not being rude in the least. They were simply going about their business in a public place. Blocking out the noises, aware of our presence, but abiding by societal norms.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with my son. Again. He has no idea that there are rules or norms. He was convinced that any moment these ladies would look up and give him a big smile. Because that is what happens all the other times he tells stories. And because he is human and a social creature by nature, but not yet shaped by the norms of our society. It reminded me of how innocent and pure Jack is. It made me happy to know that in a random situation he expected a positive interaction. He expected smiles and laughter.

As I basked in the happiness at my son’s new life I slowly realized that from here on out he will undergo a long socialization process. A bumpy road filled with highs of love and lows of sadness, rules, judgment and prejudice. May Jack’s life be filled with more highs than lows. May his life be filled with smiling faces and laughter at his awesome stories.

Abby Theuring, MSW