It's been stated that 2017 is the year of the baby. I don't doubt it, cause really, what year isn't? However, I will say that--around the building in which I reside--2016 was something special where baby conception is concerned. Including me, there were eight women in the building who conceived last year. Eight! Six out of eight of us met or will meet our new babies this year, while two were fortunate to do so late last year.
One of the ladies who recently welcomed a new addition is my next door neighbor. When I say next door, I mean that the entrance to her door is literally 2-3 feet to the right of my own. The close proximity and the nature of the construction make it to where, if I'm sitting in the front room, I can hear the cries of her baby as they float out of her open windows, into the outside air, then in through my window screens and ajar jalousies. (side note: I had no idea what a jalousie was until we moved to this place.)
The cries are soft, tiny, and sweet and signify the child's displeasure with whatever is or is not being done in her favor. They sound just as cute as the tiny little body from which they originate.
Many nights, after she has continued in her unhappiness for several minutes, I hear the neighbors' door open, then there's the recognizable sound of mommy and daddy with stroller bound baby as they emerge from their condo on a mission to push the child all the way to the other end of the walkway, then back. All the way up again, then back. Up the walkway one more time. Then back. It's their strategy for getting the little one to relax and/or fall asleep when they're at a loss for what else to do.
Occasionally, I witness this fairly routine outing of my neighbors as I am sitting on the sofa trying to rock my own baby--who's just two weeks older than the infant next door-- to sleep. My youngest is a pretty mellow child who isn't much of a crier. Instead, she opts for "talking" and yelling out when she requires attention. And although she doesn't cry or even gripe much at all, she sometimes will take issue with the audacity I have to sit down while rocking and soothing her to sleep. She likes me up and walking and makes this known by firmly pressing her little few-months-old body against mine and forcefully pressing her feet into my thighs, stiffening her lower limbs with each push. She's adamant, and those strong little legs are relentless. Eventually I give in and am up pacing back and forth across the living room floor until her little head relaxes on my shoulder, and she is peacefully at rest.
As my neighbors push and I pace, I laugh to myself at the thought of the hold these little beings have over us, demanding that we extend ourselves to them physically and energetically not only in service of their most basic needs. They require that we treat them like the little princesses (or princes) they are by, for instance, creating whatever conditions they need in order to be most comfortable as they prepare to carry out the business of sleep. They want and need us there to do for them what they can not do for themselves, even when the task--rather than having to do with the fundamental diaper changing and feeding activities--speaks more to a comforting pleasure. And, despite being tired and sleep deprived and sore and drowsy and generally exhausted ourselves, we mamas are certainly here for whatever these little wondrous beings need. 💖