Ten Minutes in Nine Months

He holds her in his arms.  Wrapping his arms snuggly around her.  I think we all figured it was the first time she felt security.  Maybe we’re wrong in thinking that.  But in looking at her it doesn’t appear she has had much comfort.   He holds her like her father should.  But he’s not her father.  He’s a protective service worker and has known her a total of five minutes.  But he treats her like the precious nine month old child she is.  She is safe in his arms.  Surrounded by others who see her and are drawn to her.  Others who want to hold her snug and give her comfort.  Because all nine month old children should know comfort.

Watch her.   Look at her.

She didn’t weigh near enough for a nine month old baby.  My babies weighed what she weighs at the age of one month.  Barring illness babies should weigh more than what she does.  Babies should be pudgy, you know, because they are fed.

That’s what you should do with little nine month old babies.

Her little baby arms stick out straight from her shoulders.  Stretched out like the vision of Jesus on the cross, that’s how her little arms are stretched out.  They aren’t wrapped around him.  They aren’t grasping.  They aren’t grabbing at his nose.  Or pulling his hair.  Or trying to shove something in her mouth.

That’s what little nine month old babies should do.

The moms and dads who are drawn to her want to hold her.   Bathe her.  Feed her.  Put her little self in a little sleeper and fill her with security.  Warmth.  Hugs.  Food.   Love.  We want to make over her.

Like people with nine month old babies should do.

The back of her little head is bald and flat.  You know what it’s from.   Laying on her back.  Way too long.  Her little eyes are staring at all of us looking back at her.  She must be confused.  Scared.  Or maybe not scared, maybe she feels the love and the security.   But she doesn’t cry.  I got the impression that crying for her never got her the end result it should; food, love, changed diaper.  What was the point of crying?   She doesn’t gurgle.  She doesn’t babble.   She just stares.  She doesn’t make any noise.   She doesn’t bury her head in a shoulder for comfort.  She doesn’t seem to know how to hold or be held.

Like a little nine month old baby should know.

At her age she should know more.  She should know comfort.  She should know some levels of fear or discomfort.  She didn’t look around for someone familiar.  She didn’t seem put out.   She seemed at ease.  She seemed content with this stranger.   She didn’t seem to have any expectations what so ever of the larger persons in her presence.

Little nine month old babies should be demanding or expectant of certain things.

When I first saw her, with him holding her in the hallway, arms securely wrapped around her.  I smiled.   He could have been her dad.  It’s what her dad should look like holding her.  But when I looked closer and saw what I saw.  It’s wrong.  It’s  what you shouldn’t see when you see a little nine month old baby girl.  I don’t know her story, very little of it actually.  And maybe I’m way off base.  But from the looks of her it looks like the most love she got was from the total strangers that surrounded her.  Ten minutes of nine months doesn’t seem to be enough love.