"I don't know how you made it through this tough winter, with five kids, including a newborn!" Someone said this to me recently, and my response was that the way I made it through the tough winter was that I HAD a newborn. Baby therapy. That's what helped me survive those months. When my toddler was tearing up the house, I had baby therapy. When my older kids were fighting, I had baby therapy. When my parenting and household management were at their worst, I had baby therapy.
Here are some of my favorite attributes of newborns: 1. Cuddly. 2. Cute. 3. They stay put when set down. 4. Their needs are easily met. 5. They don't talk back.
I love babies. I really do.
This particular baby - my fifth - is a real sweetheart. He is generally calm and happy, and very easy to please. Although he doesn't do so verbally, he constantly affirms me as a mom. I feed him and he grows. He snuggles into me comfortably and relaxes like he's at home. He stops crying the second I pick him up. He SMILES at me like it's the only important item on his agenda for the day.
He does not criticize me or find any fault with me. He prefers me over anyone else. He seems to think I'm perfect. I love having at least one person in my life who has such a view, however erroneous.
But I've noticed that I'm not the only one in the family who turns to the baby for baby therapy. Just recently, our four year old responded to a punishment by running to the baby, snuggling him, and crying into his chest, as though the baby were the only one who understood him and his trials. It only took a few moments for him to feel comforted. That's baby therapy. When the whole world (or at least the whole family) seems to be against you, baby brother is there for you, with a big smile and not a single word of criticism. He won't complain if you get your tears on his onesie. There's already a good deal of slobber there anyway.
Even the toddler seems to enjoy baby therapy. He is eager to bring his brother a toy, for the satisfaction of watching the baby get excited and try to chew on it! Being a helpful big brother is not hard at all...it just takes a willingness to fetch toys that have fallen or rolled away. Not to mention that the baby still wears diapers, but not the toddler! The satisfaction of NOT being a baby. That's baby therapy too!