There is this amazing resource for moms in Portland called Birthroots. Summed up it is a place where you can take prenatal classes and then postnatal you can show up for breastfeeding support groups, socializing hours with moms and babies, and find your “flock” by joining a group of moms with babies the same age as yours.
We joined a flock this month of 0-3 month olds and every Tuesday the woman who directs our group has a few specific topics to discuss. Last week she brought up Fairy God Families. She explained that you want to choose at least one person to be a Fairy Godmother, Godgrandfather, Godsister, etc. to your baby. And sometimes, she said, the baby actually does the choosing.
What exactly is a Fairy God Family? The baby needs this person to bond and make a connection to while they are in the first few months of their life. This person will love this baby unconditionally, learn ways to soothe the baby, hold and put in quality time with the baby at least an hour a week for this bond to be strengthened.
This person’s bond will be important when your child hits the terrible twos/threes and you need a BABYSITTER! Or, just someone that loves your child despite fussy behavior and has a bond similar to a parent.
Liam has a few people in his life that he was able to make that bond with. Particularly because we had quite the entourage in the delivery room. And an important bond is created (I was told) by just being present and involved during the birth. Have I mentioned my birthing entourage before? Nurse (2 because their shifts changed in the middle), Midwife (2 because of shift change), Husband, Mother (childbirth educator, lactation consultant–she was a MUST and a blessing), Sister (I was at both of her births), and Mother-in-law (she had never been to a grandchild’s birth because my sister-in-law was in California and Hawaii for her births). Every one of those people was physically involved in the labor and every one of those people has an undeniable bond with Liam. Every one of them will hold him, soothe him and get him to smile.
Then there’s Maddy. I believe that Liam chose her to be his Fairy Godsister. She is a 14 year old former student of mine who comes over as a mother’s helper/babysitter once in a while so that I can clean the house, do laundry, all kinds of awesome stuff. The way Liam behaves with her is so amazing that it’s hard to explain exactly how cool it is. She holds him, bounces him, and I would say soothes him except I don’t recall him ever getting fussy with her. Ever. Even if he’s hungry and rooting around her shoulder he never cries out. When he’s tired he blows off steam by letting out his tired noises but he never gets to a stiff-legged, pissed-off stage. She just rocks him or bounces him on the ball and he drifts off into a gentle, peaceful sleep. He looks up at her and coos.
And then there’s his face when she leaves. She will pass him off to me and say goodbye to him and his face crumples. He sticks his lower lip out and his eyes squint closed and he wimpers. When she rushes back over and says, “Don’t worry, Liam! I’ll see you in a few days!” He grins his gummy, drooly smile and bats his eyelashes at her. It is absolutely amazing that he is a total heartbreaker already! What a flirt. Don’t know where he could possibly have gotten those skills from…
So, Liam has quite the Fairy God Family and I am so grateful for that. What a lucky boy. Applications are still open for this growing family. Requirements involve lots of cooing, snuggling and diaper changing.