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Love has come...

Today he finally figured out, after weeks of rocking up on his side and screaming when he got that one arm pinned beneath him, he finally figured out how to roll completely over. This photo is grainy and doesn't reflect well on my cell phone camera, but it's still cute:

He's been super proud of himself all day (or is that me?) and while I've tried to get this historic moment on camera, thus far it's been an epic fail. However, the camera is charging as I type this and I have high hopes that I'll get this new accomplishment recorded soon!

But it's not my son's four month old skills that I feel compelled to flesh out here on ye ole blog. I don't know where it comes from, but every time it does, I'm surprised. The words, "Is someone getting spoiled?" grate on my heart like nails on a chalk board.

What constitutes a child being spoiled, particularly such a young one? I understand that he's a cute little baby sinner and is going to act out and act up at times... but I find it incorrect to label an infant as "spoiled" when they are expressing themselves in the only manner they know how. Joel cannot tell me, "Mommy, I'm bored!" or "Mommy, my outfit is soaked with drool, can you please change me?" or "Mommy, I'm so hungry!" He can't ask me to come play, to pick him up, or to change his stinky diaper.

I don't believe my son is acting out of a spoiled nature when he fusses for help and as his mother, I know which cries those are. If someone laid me on a mat, on the floor and had me stare up at toys all day and then demanded that I not get bored or tired or whine for someone to come talk to me or give me some attention, I would throw the biggest fit. You're not going to talk to me for how long? You expect me to amuse myself by, what, staring at the ceiling fan?

While babies don't have all of the mental thought processes that we do, they are still little bitty humans with very real needs and moods. But just because he is a baby doesn't mean he is immune to tummy aches or feeling restless or wanting to sit somewhere else or do something else or listen to something else.

And what makes my son spoiled? Because he enjoys interacting with people? I find that to be a wonderful quality - one both my husband and I highly value. We want him to enjoy those around him - to smile, giggle and communicate (gurgling works for now) with them. We don't want him to be shy and withdrawn or skittish around our guests, family and friends. If he fusses a bit because we're over here and he's over there - well, good! I want my child to want to be near us, not always off on his own (although we do encourage plenty of solo play-time.)

Is he showing signs of being a brat because he prefers to be held a certain way when fed? Don't we all have our own likes and dislikes and preferences to how we do things in our daily life? I think sometimes we think that babies aren't allowed to have those preferences. As adults we're allowed to like sleeping on one side more than the other or enjoying this food better than that food... but with babies, it's as though they're supposed to like everything, all the time.

That's not fair.

He's allowed to not like oatmeal (which he doesn't) and prefer squash (which he does). He's allowed to want Daddy's attention, because Daddy is fun and heck, I want Daddy's attention, too sometimes! He's allowed to get cold and too hot. He's allowed to get overly tired, to get bored of the same old toys or play position and he's allowed to have gas. I don't have much choice in that last one... or in some of the others, either for that matter. Not if I really love my son, which I do. I really, really love my little man.

And because of that, I try to remember that he's just a baby. That no matter how intelligent his bright blues are, that he really is just a little, fifteen pound, four+ month old person. Everything is new to him. He spent 9 months with things being a certain way and now every day (very nearly) is different. Sometimes we're home, sometimes we're at Walmart. Sometimes I take naps with him in Mommy and Daddy's bed and sometimes I force him to stay in his crib, even when he cries. And I can't help but hold him close and sing, "Jesus Loves Me" to him when that's what he wants.

This all reminds me of an old song from an old album that my parent's had on a cassette tape that we used to listen to on vacations (is that a run-on, poorly written sentence or what?!). It was by a Christian couple, Gary and Annie Chapman and called, "Goodnight Kiss". The lyrics are these and they always make me tear up, especially now that I'm a mommy myself:

I count it as a privilege
I count it cause for praise
to kiss my children goodnight
at the close of everyday
for I know too soon they're off and gone
and walkin' out the door
and I'll never have a child to kiss
goodnight anymore
It's very strange how times have changed
from the present to the past
when did they grow so quickly
the time has flown so fast
for it seems that only yesterday
I helped him with his shirt
or pat my baby on the back
or kissed away a hurt
tell the story read a book
wipe a nose or tie a shoe
they never ask me to rub their back
the way they used to do
once it was a bother
just a troublesome kind of chore
now I would give anything
to do it just once more
mommy bounce me on your knee
daddy flip me in the air
throw a rubber ball to me
and help me comb my hair
mommy tickle my tummy
daddy hold me high
let's go outside for awhile
or make a kite to fly
I count it as a privilege
I count it cause for praise
to kiss my children goodnight
at the close of everyday
for I know too soon they're off and gone
and walkin' out the door
and I'll never have a child to kiss
goodnight anymore
And I'll never have a child to kiss
goodnight anymore...

So. If I'm spoiling my baby by rocking him every day, so be it.

 I'd rather take my chances than to look back and know I missed moments to love on him like this. I sincerely doubt that when I look back on my days as Joel's mommy, that I'm going to wish I had held him less. That I'm going to wish I had made him cry more so that I could have my arms free. That I could get him to be happy playing by himself, so I could do what I wanted or put in another load of laundry. If something has to be sacrificed in my day or in my life, it'll just have to be the dishes or the toilets or my blog.

They will not always be little.  So love big.


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