Bringing up baby can have meaning for later

BY BOB WACHS, News + Record Staff
Posted 7/19/19

Throughout my life, I’ve had lots of experience with babies. Heck, I even used to be one, although I can’t remember much about that except for what I see in a few old pictures.

The first few …

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Bringing up baby can have meaning for later

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Throughout my life, I’ve had lots of experience with babies. Heck, I even used to be one, although I can’t remember much about that except for what I see in a few old pictures.

The first few events with little folks in my life were with younger cousins, since there weren’t any additional ones in my family after I came to be. Later on, as an older teenager, I learned that there had been plans for another but Mama had a miscarriage and I wound up being her baby, a fact she often told folks (especially after I topped 200 pounds). She would make that announcement to whomever and then say something like, “Pretty big baby, isn’t he?” Today, I miss that. I’d like to hear her say it one more time.

In time, after we got married, Shirley and I came up with the two 40-somethings who use to be teenagers who lived at our house. I learned that despite what Dr. Spock said, practically all of baby care — like 137 per cent of it — is on-the-job training. I also learned that what you did yesterday that worked to soothe the little bundle of joy’s tantrum might not work today.

And I also learned important things like you do not lie flat on your back, hold baby up at arms’ length and begin a rousing game of “let’s play airplane” right after baby has downed eight ounces of formula. More often than not, baby will return the formula to you without the benefit of his bottle. (That one did not take me long to figure out.)

Eventually, our two produced three of their own, whom they share with us from time to time. Among the things I have learned about babies from my grandchildren are (1) no two are alike; (2) there is a reason God intended for you to have your own while you’re young; (3) they make me happy twice, as in when they come and when they go and (4) while every individual thinks he or she has the most wonderful grandchildren in the world, the reality of life is that honor belong to me.

Through the years, I have just kind of assumed that what babies do are unique to that phase of life, that there are no practical applicable lessons for later in life. I must confess I look at one thing about babies differently now.

Folks who have babies are asked many questions by others. Questions range from general observation (“Who does she look like?”) to some pretty personal ones (“Does she poop enough?”) to a host of others in between.

Personally, I have trouble often with the “Who does she look like?” question. Sometimes it’s obvious but most often, to quote a contemporary of my two children, the answer is “Looks like a baby to me.”

And as to the question of the performance of baby’s digestive system, I really don’t need — or want — to know.

But among those in-between questions is one that goes something like: “Is she sleeping all night?” The answers are as varied as the little ones in question but generally speaking what it means is: “Does she have her days and nights mixed up?” — meaning that baby sleeps during the day and is up at night when the rest of the family would like to be asleep.

Sleeping has always been one of my strengths. I could do it anywhere anytime. Obviously, sometimes that was for long periods at night. Sometimes, those periods translated into morning, as when, in college, I’d sleep until 10 a.m., meaning my 8 o’clock class was history...and not just the subject of history.

I’ve been known to go to sleep while driving — not a good idea — and while visiting someone in the hospital. I used to sleep sometimes during Sunday morning worship service at church; today that’s hard to do. I have slept in a carpool and found out later that my buddies stopped for lunch and let me continue sleeping. There’s no sleeping like the sleeping during a heavy rain storm. You get the idea.

Today, I have come to a greater appreciation of getting days and nights mixed up because I have. Some few days ago I paid a visit to my orthopedic surgeon for us to have some quality time together in the operating room. To show how mellow I have become in my golden years, he is part of the team at — gasp! — Duke; I have finally realized no athlete there or in Chapel Hill really cares about my body and its welfare the way a skilled doctor does. Today, I tell folks this guy has performed surgery on the Big Three — Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, UNC football coach Mack Brown, and yours truly.

Upon being discharged from the hospital, I have gotten into the recovery process and things are moving along sort of normally except that I sleep a fair amount during the day, trying to gain strength after exercising or a trip to the doctor’s office. I have learned that if you sleep from 1:30 p.m. until 4:45, chances are good that you’ll be awake at 2:15 a.m. Do you know there is nothing on TV at 2:15, not that there is often much on it at all anyway?

So, to combat that, I just get up, read my devotionals in the quiet of the moment, make a cup of coffee, read something else, write that long-needed note or just sit silently and think and mediate and pray.

Beats a diet of The Beverly Hillbillies, although I am a big fan of Jed and Granny. And, like baby needs to get things worked out, I know eventually what my Mama used to tell her baby were the five greatest words in the Bible — “and it came to pass” — will, in fact, come to pass.


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