"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Baby JOY

Carl Sandburg once said, "A baby is God's opinion that life should go on."  I would add that a baby is further proof that we were made for joy.  Nothing elicits a smile from a stranger like a baby.  When I am having a bad day, I can't help but smile at my youngest, who is usually grinning up at me -- happy even to hear me yelling at her three older siblings.  And it seems more than coincidental that before she can control her head or her arms, Baby can respond to other people with a smile that animates her whole body.  Babies have to be one of life's undisputed greatest joys.

Since joy is contagious, I want my little bundle of joy to be as near to me as I can have her, as often as I am able.  I know that only too quickly she will be too big.  By the time the fourth child arrives, parents usually have all the baby accoutrements they need.  Upon Baby's arrival, however, I had yet to find something that would enable me to be close to her and allow me to meet the needs of The Girls and The Boy at the same time.  

When I was pregnant with my first child, someone gave me a Snugli.  And it may be okay for older children.  However, none of my three infants found the Snugli very snugly.  And it took at least two people to get the wee one in and out of the thing safely.  And it always seemed the baby was getting lost in it.  Or I was constantly checking to see if they were breathing, since their little faces were pressed into my chest.  And my hands were really not free to be doing other things -- I felt like I had to have one hand, at least, on the baby.

Baby four arrived and I was determined to get rid of the Snugli.  I was ready to try a sling.  I don't know why, but I used to look at sling-wearing mothers as sort of hippie-wannabes.  Things change.  I decided, after perusing the options, to try the Slingling.  I liked the no adjustments, no straps, no hoops, no rings -- it's really just a piece of fabric (really cool fabric) sized for the wearer, not the babe.  

I loved my Slingling right away.  And so did Baby.  And so did everyone else.  I can't tell you how many times friends and strangers alike have approached me and Baby to tell me how natural and comfortable and snugly we both look.  

And my hands are free to check The Boy's teeth or braid The Girls' hair.  And I can look down at my bundle of joy when I'm washing the dishes or loading the laundry.  And I can remember what's important.  (And we can dance together at weddings!)

Supposedly I can carry Baby in the Slingling in several different ways until she reaches approximately thirty-five pounds.  We are just now moving from the "cradle carry" to bigger and better things (aka as the "hip carry"), as Baby wants to see what's going on around her.  

As for the Snugli?  My niece has found a great use for it!


  1. Your opening paragraph here reminded me of Chesterton's essay In Defence of Baby Worship — one of the first essays of his I read, and which remains one of my favorites. It includes this:

    The essential rectitude of our view of children lies in the fact that we feel them and their ways to be supernatural while, for some mysterious reason, we do not feel oursleves or our own ways to be supernatural. The very smallness of children makes it possible to regard them as marvels; we seem to be dealing with a new race, only to been through a microscope. I doubt if anyone of any tenderness or imagination can see the hand of a child and not be a little frightened of it. It is awful to think of the essential human energy moving so tiny a thing; it is like imagining that human nature could live in the wing of a butterfly or the leaf of a tree. When we look upon lives so human and yet so small. . . we feel the same kind of obligation to these creatures that [God] might feel. . .


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