Good Vs. Bad

Is she a good baby?

Over the past several weeks, and I’m sure it will continue in the weeks to come, people have asked me if Willow is a good baby.  Before reading an article in regards to co-sleeping, I would have simply beamed a smile and replied a resounding, “ABSOLUTELY!”  After reading the article, I must pause.

The article discussed the benefits of mother and baby being close.  Newborn humans are intellectually unprepared for basic tasks, unlike other mammals.  This particular article argued for mother and infant humans to spend most days essentially bound to one another.  (Baby wearing, breastfeeding, and co-sleeping.) At the end of the article, it had a statement that American practices of parenthood had given rise to the notion of a good baby—one that didn’t cry, but immediately slept through the night and just sat quietly when awake.  The author said this was an unwarranted expectation of newborn babies.

A few days passed with this thought constantly running through my head; the notion of a good baby is absurd, an unwarranted expectation.  It was a lofty, and sadly, disappointing goal.  In America, we are distraught when our child doesn’t immediately sleep through the night or spends an hour crying inconsolably.  I began to rethink what a good baby meant.

We have neglected to use the proper terminology in our culture today.  Apparently, the English language doesn’t matter.  Grammar has been tossed aside and we speak an ignorant dialect from that of years ago.  We have discarded many valuable words and punctuation properties because it was difficult; as a result, we have become foolish.  There were several more appropriate expressions and idioms in Shakespeare’s day.

I state the above simply to say that people don’t mean good, they mean fussy.  We should ask that instead.

As a Christian, I believe sin entered the world with Adam and Eve.  We are all sinful from birth until we repent and trust Jesus Christ.  Now, it isn’t in this thread and is very much a loaded topic, but I know some are asking about a stillborn baby and his or her fate.  I’m not sure and I’m wrestling with these questions currently.  (Aside: Read The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith; I’m being challenged and he is addressing, or at least asking the same questions I am on issues like the one mentioned previously.)  Anyways, since sin entered the world, we are all “bad” until cleansed by Jesus blood through trust in his lordship.

However, if we look at babies without the backdrop of morality, we can say that babies are neither good nor bad, really.  Babies can not make decisions to hurt others consciously.  In most people’s notions of bad it is intended that there is disobedience or willful harm being inflicted on another.  Babies can’t do either.  Infants simply have needs and being fussy is a means of satisfying those needs from their mothers, fathers, or other caregiver.

So no, Willow isn’t a good baby nor is she a bad baby.  Willow is just a baby.  She has needs and cries in accordance with her desire to have those needs met.  Yet, no she is not really a fussy baby.  Willow really only cries when she is hungry.

I guess that if you think that defines good then sure, but I’ll stand by that she is neither good nor bad, yet (when leaving morality position out of the equation).  She just is.  Willow is just my precious, relatively calm baby.  I love her, cries and all.