Define “Good”.

The questions that I get the most often as a new mom are, “Does she sleep through the night?”, “Does she cry a lot?” and “Is she a good baby for you?”

Does she sleep through the night?  Heck no!  I’d be worried about her if she did, babies this age need to eat more often than that or they start getting dehydrated.  Does she cry a lot?  Yes!  She also coos and gurgles a lot.  I think she cries about as often as your average run-of-the-mill baby.  If it was normal for them to sleep 8 hours and never cry then we wouldn’t have stereotypical new mothers being sleep-deprived and frazzled.

When people ask me if she is a good baby I always feel a little defensive of her because the question implies that her behavior defines her as a good or bad baby.  I don’t want my two month old daughter to have the label “bad baby” for something that probably isn’t even her fault.  Maybe she cries because she is gassy, which is probably because I can’t find it within me to give up dairy.  My baby is “bad” because I won’t stop drinking chocolate milk?  I call that unfair.

I told a friend today that Eden is exactly the baby that I needed, and it is for this exact reason.  Just as I don’t want her to be judged solely on her behavior, I think it is amazing that God treats us the same way.  Our sinful actions each day don’t make us “good” or “bad” in God’s eyes.  He looks at us as holy and blameless, he loves us as if we were “good” babies even though our behavior would indicate that we are very “bad” babies.  But as a father, his grace is greater than all of our sin.

When I’m comforting my crying child or getting up *again* in the middle of the night to feed her, I try to keep the perspective that she is not doing something wrong just because it is inconvenient for me.  She is allowed to be sad and she is allowed cry and to need comfort, she is supposed to get hungry and it is my job to feed her, she isn’t wrong for waking me up.  And sometimes, when she has a gas bubble caught somewhere inside and she is endlessly fussy, we end up swaying back and forth together while I whisper in her ear, “It’s okay little baby, I know it hurts.  You are such a brave little girl.  I’m going to stay right here with you and we will fight it together, you just let me know what you need me to do.  I’m not going anywhere, I’m going to stay with you.”  

There are times in my life recently where I have felt like God is whispering in my ear, “It’s okay, I know it hurts.  I’m going to stay right here with you and we will fight it together.  I’m not going anywhere, I’m going to stay right here with you.”


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