Ella is a wonderful, delightful, beautiful baby. She is generous with her full grin. Even to strangers, she does not hide her face. She delights in her siblings, smiling when they approach her, especially Sam, to whom she gives special adoration.
When we go out in public, people stop to tell me how good Ella is. She is so very content. In church, she is mostly quiet, making pleasant baby noises. Our fellow parishioner exclaim over her. What a good baby she is.
And she is a good baby! Ella is very easy to please. It isn't a complicated affair. After nursing and clean diapers, she only really requires one thing. Her sole requirement is that I hold her. That's it. Notice I did not say that she be held. Oh no. It is a very specific set of arms she requires.
As a result, I regularly change the diapers of a screaming baby since I cannot both hold her and change her diaper simultaneously. Mealtimes are conducted to the soundtrack of screaming baby. (Yes, I can hold her and eat, but sometimes I don't want to.) Showers are spent trying to decide if that sound is the water or the screaming baby. Baths are a special favorite where she screams as if she is actually dying from the time she hits the water until she is dry with the diaper replaced. I get dressed to screaming and get ready for bed to screaming.
I brush my teeth holding baby. I do laundry holding baby. I make school checklists and help children with schoolwork holding baby. I make the bed holding baby, which is more strenuous than you might think. If it can be done holding a baby, I have probably attempted it. Otherwise the wages of free hands is screaming baby.
I do usually get a couple of hours of sleep at night while she is in the crib, but sooner or later, she will wake and realize she is not touching me. She may not be hungry, but she definitely needs to grab my face in order to go back to sleep. And as she gets more mobile, she is more satisfied on the floor. She will accept being held by her father or her siblings for minutes at a time. But soon and very soon, she will be screaming for me again.
Ironically, she was our most chill newborn. She hardly peeped when put down, even the very first night. She slept through the night before she was two weeks old. She was magic baby. Then, around four months, it all changed. She went from being always content to having a list of requirements.
Still, there are worse fates than having to hold a happy baby all the time. It isn't a horrible way to spend your time. When she begins to cry, all I have to do is pick her up. She immediately shines her benevolence on us again. And the strangers at the grocery store will exclaim, "What a contented baby!"