Belle and I enjoyed this weekend's heat wave at the beach. Belle slept soundly for most of it. She attracted her usual share of attention because of her size. A four month old who only weighs nine pounds is a curiosity compared to today's nine pound newborn. Belle is perfectly healthy despite her [unusual?] size. She has doubled her lowest recorded weight and then some.
I indulged another mother's request to meet Belle during Saturday's beach trip. Her 15 month old weighs nineteen pounds. We talked briefly before moving along. We were being observed by a pair of older black women, unbeknownst to me. One of the women called me over to caution me in her motherly way. She warned me against the hazards of white people, wind and the spread of colic. Yes, colic.
This woman thinks colic is a contagious disease a [black] baby can catch from exposure to [white] people and the elements. It's this sort of thinking that ultimately led a young resident to advise me against joining any support groups for moms. Cultural and group identity can bear profound influence over one's actions. A new mom with a different mindset might embrace the notion that she must protect her baby from disease bearing members of other cultures and miss opportunities to make great friends with other moms outside of her community.
I am more of an iconoclast and an individual. Nothing about me is traditional. I am actually least likely to follow the herd, especially when others offer me such crazy advice. A friend suggested I start Belle on rice cereal a couple weeks ago. I smiled and nodded and I did nothing of the sort. I didn't give Belle rice cereal until last Friday, at the suggestion of her doctor. Even then, I made my own cereal using brown rice, a stove and a blender. I am actually much smarter than I am being given credit for. I don't take risks with Belle. I let people see her but I don't let people handle her. I act appropriately and I expect others to do the same.