People always say babies are amazing and that they understand more than you think. It’s not that I’ve been skeptical about this, just that I’m a new Mom and haven’t been around babies that much to witness this firsthand. But now, I’m a firm believer! My little Apple is absolutely astounding in terms of what she can perceive and intuit, even from the time she was just a few days old.
During the first week after her birth, I found myself crying all the time. ALL THE TIME. I was so full of hormones, I cried at the most ridiculous things, i.e., when insects committed suicide against our windshield, or when I saw that a flower had wilted and its petals were scattered on the sidewalk. Yep, it was that bad.
One night during that first week, after I tried to get the little Apple on the breast and then promptly pried her off again due to barracuda-like behavior, I set her down on the bed and watched helplessly as she wailed at the top of her lungs. Then, I burst into tears myself, upon which she immediately stopped crying and stared at me wonderingly, her mouth forming a quizzical “O.” My husband said, “See, honey? The baby knows you’re upset. Can you pull it together?”
Fast forward to 2 days ago, 9 months later: the Apple has an emerging lower tooth and she has taken to biting me again. Nowadays, though, she does it on purpose, because I give a loud yelp (“OW!”) and she thinks it’s funny. So two days ago, she bites me, I yelp, and then she does it again before I can unlatch her. She has a big grin on her face, which is how I know she thinks it’s funny. I take her off the breast and then say to her in a serious voice, “That hurts Mommy! Don’t bite me, okay?” Whereupon the little Apple starts to cry. She will not meet my eyes and looks away at the wall instead. Her lower lip starts quivering, and then comes jutting out, creating a heart-melting picture of sadness and compunction. I then tilt her upright and put my face close to hers and I tell her, more gently, “Honey, when you bite me, it hurts Mommy. No biting, okay?” She looks at me and then looks skyward, and once again the little lip comes sticking out and the little face collapses into tears.
So I decide to take her into the bedroom for one-on-one nursing…we were on the couch next to her father and grandmother, and I’ve noticed that she tends to bite me more when she is distracted. In the bedroom, I lie down beside her and let her latch on…and she bites me again! Albeit more softly this time…it feels like an accident. I pull her off again and cover up my nipple protectively. “Apple! I’ve told you not to bite Mommy. No biting, it hurts Mommy.” The little Apple looks at me worriedly, sticks out the lower lip, and whimpers. Tears come flooding into her eyes again. Then, she looks at my breast and points her chin in that direction, and says, “Unh.” As if to ask, “I want to try again, will you let me?”
I say, “Are you going to behave this time?” She gestures again with her chin and says, “Unh.” So I uncover my nipple and allow her to get on again. The Apple gets on, but so gently that it’s farcical … she basically just puts my nipple in her mouth and leaves it there, but doesn’t suck or nurse or apply any pressure AT ALL. She’s just showing me that she can be gentle! I laugh and laugh for several minutes, then she starts laughing too. Then we hug and hug and hug, and once again I thank her for choosing me as her Mommy and I thank God for this wondrous blessing that is my daughter.