Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Can you trade them in?

Everywhere Babies
By Susan Meyers

Illustrated by Marla Frazee

2001, Harcourt

From start to finish, Rosie's day could only be described as naughty.

She did not care to get out of bed in the first place, and perhaps we should have bowed to her authority on that point. Because from then on, nothing suited her. She did not want a diaper, nor clothes. She absolutely did not want her hair brushed. Nor a jacket, nor to be pried from her stroller, which she had climbed into in a last-minute ploy to avoid leaving the house.

As she arrived, sobbing, at the daycare door, she refused to relinquish her blanket and pacifier. All day, she played mean, refused to share toys and demanded attention. And when I came to pick her up, she gave an older, larger boy one last hard shove, just to make her feelings clear.

By the time we were finally settled in for bedtime reading, both of us glad to be putting the day behind us.

For awhile, Rosie ignored the stories, preferring to amuse herself by stuffing Fisher Price Little People down my bra. But eventually, she snuggled in, pulling the covers to her chin and demanding, "The baby book, mommy. I wanna the baby book."

There's something so soothing, for both of us, about "Everywhere Babies."

I take comfort in the simple narrative, a gentle reminder that millions of other parents endure this same daily struggle. And I adore the drawings, a diverse universe of cheerful, proud, exhausted caregivers, doing their best to meet an infant's demands. (One mommy has clearly dozed off mid-breastfeeding, a book splayed open in her hand -- how's that for real life?)

Rosie, too, finds much to look at among the intricate illustrations. Tonight she leaned forward, one extended finger tracing the images as I read rhymes about little ones learning and growing, making plenty of mistakes along the way.

Today, especially today, we both needed to hear the book's sentimental final stanza:

Every day, everywhere, babies are loved --
for trying so hard,
for traveling so far,

for being so wonderful...

...Just as they are!


Nikki said...

Since the boy was older and bigger than Rosie, I have to assume it wasn't mine =)

We had a similar day yesterday, I wonder if there was something in the air or the position of the moon or something? Both of mine were challenging (and I was challenged as Daddy was out of town).

Sara Steffens said...

Nope, it was Coco -- who tonight voiced his preference for use of his full name instead.