Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bearing Arms

I never knew that arms could be so complicated. They are if you’re a baby. Arms in the womb are squished in there. They become immovable as the baby grows. That’s why newborns like being swaddled; their arms held tightly against their bodies like the good ol' days. Babies do grow out of this stage. But the big question is what to do with the arms. I’ve queried Google, as have many others. Apparently, it’s a big topic. Parents experiment with one arm in the swaddle and the other out as a transition. Some suggest sewing up the arms of a sleep sack, leaving just enough movement. George and I decided to go cold turkey. And, yes, the arms have been complicated. I put Claire in the co-sleeper on her back asleep. At first, her tiny hands knit together tightly on her chest. I imagine her in the womb in a similar position. As she drifts off, her arms slowly creep down her sides. The more relaxed she becomes the quicker they begin to slide and gain momentum. Bam! They hit the sheet and wake her up! With a bit of coaxing from the pacifier, she's back asleep. Sometimes, we repeat this process a few times, but not a big deal. It gives me time to think about how hard it is to be so little, with so much that is new. Even an appendage to your own body is something to confront. Claire has been up for every challenge, so far. That’s something equally touching about babies. Plus, after a few rounds, I get the great pleasure of seeing her spread out in all her glory, complete with snoring.

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