WARNING! If you’re lying in bed and your baby is nearby, and you’ve just made eight or nine small physical adjustments to yourself in order to get comfortable, do not make that tenth move! Your baby will wake up the second you find you’ve gotten comfortable in the bed. Stick a thumb tack in your butt! Put a tennis ball in your mouth and chew on it. Anything – the only way your baby will sleep is if you are uncomfortable and awake. This is because your baby is a psychic Buddha alien from Outer Space. She is psychically connected to you and can sense the instant you are about to fall asleep, and will cry to assure you stay awake at that very moment.
Alien? Oh yes. Your newborn baby is expending all of her energy adjusting to this new world. She’s never been here before; she’s never breathed the air. She’s not felt the compression or even the gravity. She’s used to buoyant suspension – look at her now, head flopping all over the place, hands flailing, she’s like Stranger in a Strange Land. Her skin breaks out in tiny newborn rashes as it combats thousands of foreign substances – every kiss from a looming, leering grown up, every puff of breeze issuing in new germs. Her upper GI digestive system is getting its trial run with that milk she’s drinking – it’s brand new and all the pipes have to be worked out – that’s why she sounds like a ketchup bottle when she excretes! FFFeeerrpppp. Psychic Buddha alien!
Her eyes roll open for a second, flashing silver grey, like lures. Her mouth is set in a grim line, though smiles flicker over her as she works the gas through, her tiny, pretzel stick fingers interlaced in front of her. She is a tiny Buddha, completely in the moment. There is no future, there is no past. There is only Now, there is only feeding, there is only pooping and sleeping. Your baby exists in the state we all try to get back to and perfect our entire adult lives – your newborn is Eckhart Tolle times a thousand. She is Buddha under the Bodhi tree, in a blissful state of semi-consciousness, what the Upanishads would note as having a foot in this world, and one in the other, one kicking leg on the changing table, one jabbing you in the ribs as you try to clean her messy bum bum.
People say, “I want to have a baby.” You don’t have a baby. What you actually “have” is a forty year-old with a job and a car, magazine subscriptions and a mortgage. We’re adults a heck of a lot longer than we’re babies. You get a “baby” for about eighteen months, between the ages of six months and two years. Prior to that, you have a psychic alien Buddha from Outer Space. So, fill her up with antibodies from the breast so that she may navigate this new world, chant with her in her state of total being (it sounds like squalling, crying, fussing, but it is really chanting) and fill her to the brim with love, so that she is spilling over with it, like an overflowing pod of sweet milky goodness.