Sunday, May 9, 2010

Baby Love

Babies are popping everywhere!

I don't just mean the documentary movie following four babies around the world that just opened in cinemas this weekend (timed for Mother's Day, of course). I mean, I'm really seeing babies everywhere.

A number of friends have just had their first, second, third, and fourth (yes, fourth!) child. I haven't seen some of these friends for a couple of years. Thanks to Facebook and email, I was able to keep up with their "I've popped...again" news, and coo publicly at their newborns' photos.

Then, there was the baby entourage a couple of weeks ago outside Ariel's ballet class. It was one of those gorgeous summer-like days in early spring, and all the mums with babies somehow made a collective decision that it was a great day to roll the stroller out to play. There were at least five or six gurgling, raspberry-blowing, and napping little beings being bounced and cradled to my delight.

All these babies are making me miss my babies. My babies, as in my kids when they were babies, and my yogi babies. I used to teach a baby yoga class, and that was, hands down, my favorite class ever. Imagine having five to ten toothless cherubs to yoga play with every week! Babies are the most natural yogis, by the way. Tell me you haven't seen a baby sit in perfect butterfly or push up into downdog before taking the first stumbling steps.

I love babies. Everybody loves babies because they are soooo cute, sooo fun and smell so good (except with a diaper full of poop). But I love more than just these qualities about babies.

For a start, babies always say it like they mean. I never have to second guess what a baby is saying to me, or wonder if he is playing mind games with me. If she is hungry, she says: "Waaaa!" If she is sleepy, she says: "Waaaa!" If he needs a diaper change, he says, "Waaa!" Babies are the most honest human beings in the world. They are the only people on earth who can claim to never have lied.

Babies are also not afraid to show their true feelings. Anyone who has ever tried to take a baby from his mummy's arms would know this. He'll let you know for sure if he likes you or not straightaway (no need to wait a week for the phone call that never comes).

If you smile at a baby, she will always smile back at you...seriously. The only exceptions are when she is colicky, or her diet is being changed and she doesn't like it. If you look into a baby's eyes with admiration for her beauty, she will always respond, instead of giving you the upturned nose or cold shoulder.

Babies also don't care if you're wearing mismatched outfits, or having a bad hair day. They don't even wear makeup...or much clothes at all! I mean, a baby looks best in diapers and nothing else, right? So it makes sense that the baby is not going to have much expectations of your fashion sense (or lack thereof).

Babies don't care what color you are, or whether you believe in God or not. Babies don't care how much money you make, or which set of wheels you drive, as long as you get your act together when you're steering theirs. Ever seen a stroller fight between a baby and his parent/caregiver?

"Waaaaa!" (Push, darn it! Who said you could stop?) "OK, sweetie, here's your rattle." "Waaaaaaaa!" (Forget it, moron. Let me out now!) "Oh wait, sweetie, don't kick out of those straps."
"Waaaaaaaaaa!" (You just don't get it, do you? Right, I'm going to take a dump. That'll show you.)

While we're on the subject of baby's most effective way of registering their protest and/or dissatisfaction, my favorite memory of Amon as a baby was when he took the mother-of-all-dumps. He was six months old, and I was enjoying a chill-out Sunday afternoon with a strawberry mint smoothie in a laidback suburb cafe. The best thing about about a breastfeeding baby was that he was extremely portable, and I never have to worry about his food. So there I was, in this nice cafe, flipping through the pages of Elle with one hand, and cradle-holding the voracious nursling with the other. And then he did it. It came through his diaper, baby suit, and all over my very chic white pedal pushers (yes, serves me right for wearing fashionista white instead of practical mummy black). If you didn't already know, breastfed babies poo LIQUID (usually sticky and yellowish). That was the end of my afternoon sojourn in the cafe.

Thankfully, with Ariel, I never had the same inconvenient accident, thanks in part to her Indonesian nanny who potty-trained her to do her major transactions over a toilet bowl from six months. I had plenty of beautiful, bonding moments and memories with her, given the advantages of hindsight, experience, and yes, another pair of helping hands. She was a regular at my baby yoga classes of course, until one day, when she decided she wasn't going to stomach sharing her mummy with all these other babies. She had just started to take her first steps. I can still remember her pushing herself up from her mat and trotting over to where I was lifting one of her 'classmates' up into bridge pose. Halfway through, she gave up, got down on all fours and super sonic speed crawled to me. She let out her loudest and angriest cry. "That's MY mummy you got patting your bum, buster!" Buster was, of course, terrified. Ever notice how babies seem to have a collective emotional consciousness, such that when one is upset, everyone else begin to empathize?

So, I love babies..for all the above reasons and more. Here's to all the beautiful babies in the world, and the mummies and daddies committed to helping them grow up to make  more beautiful babies.

Maybe it's time to start another baby yoga class.

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