I would do ridiculous things and pay an insane amount of money (via loan, of course) to know what goes through a baby's mind. I can't tell you how many inquisitive or concerned or just damn hilarious faces my son has made, and I can't begin to comprehend the reasons why. So many of those faces were made when he met my mother for the first time, which left me wondering what babies think when they meet their grandparents. I mean, it has to be such a strange situation, right? They're being held by a stranger that kind of looks like their parent, but not necessarily, and this stranger is telling them that they love them and care for them and will do anything for them, and the baby is like, "Um, do I know you?"
I can imagine the day-to-day wonderments of a baby are pretty minimal, actually. They have so much learning and growing and developing to do, that I wouldn't blame them if their thoughts are limited to, "I'm hungry, I want to sleep, I want my mom, I'm hungry." Still, I would like to think that they're cognizant of the world around them, and when that world eventually involves grandma and grandpa (or any combination of grandparent) they're thinking some hilarious and sweet and kind-of-rude-but-well-intentioned things.
So, with that in mind (and because now you all know what I was thinking during night feedings and on zero sleep), here is what I would like to believe every baby thinks when they meet their grandparents for the first time. Until we know for sure (which will probably be never) I'm going to let my imagination do the work.
"This Person Isn't My Mom"
I mean, the baby probably just met his or her parents, so shoving more additional strange faces in front of their limited vision must be strange. For an extended period of time, their world revolves around mom and dad or mom and mom or dad and dad, so it's always a shock when someone else is thrown into the mix.
"They Smell Weird"
Now, "weird" doesn't necessarily mean bad, just different. I mean, I don't know about you, but my grandparents smell like aged perform mixed with corn and a dirt road (yes, they live on a farm and it's honestly one of my most favorite smells in the entire world). Still, for a new baby that's probably just used to smelling mom, it's going to be a shock to the ole nostrils.
"I'm Not Too Sure I Should Know Them"
I bet the baby knows they're supposed to know them, but obviously doesn't actually know them. They probably look like their parents in some small, older way, but they're still a stranger so they're not entirely sure if they should start crying or just go back to sleep.
"Nope, Please Give Me Back To My Mom"
Of course, it's understandable if the baby has a moment of panic and doesn't want to be held by anyone other than their mom. Don't take it persona, grandparents; it's not a reflection of you, but a reflection of the 40+ weeks baby has spent with mom, and nobody but mom.
"Oh, They're Saying The Nicest Things About Me..."
Then again, the more the grandparents go on and on about how adorable the baby is and how perfect the baby is and how they're just in awe of the perfect adorableness of their newest (or first) grandchild, the baby is sure to come around. Who doesn't like to be complimented extensively?!
"...And Wow, They Look So Excited To Meet Me."
I will never forget the moment my mother met my son for the first time. The look on her face and the excitement in her voice and the way she cried tears of joy, was easily one of the best moments of my life. Sure, I was postpartum and hormonal and exhausted, but if I had such an emotional reaction to her meeting her grandkid for the first time, I can only imagine what my son was thinking. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if thought he was born into royalty, or something; my mother made him feel (or at least look) that important.
"OK, Maybe They're Not That Bad"
Between the compliments and the excitement, the baby will come around. Sure, it might take a while, but eventually they'll realize that the grandparents aren't strangers, but members of their extended family that are going to spoil the shit of them, and of course they're up for that.
"Oh, Look At That Swaying Technique. They've Held Babies Before."
I can only imagine that nothing is as wonderful as a grandmother or grandfather's signature baby sway. I mean, yes, moms have the gift and it is usually the key to getting any newborn to go to bed, but grandparents have been around the block and know a thing or two.
"This Is Comfy"
The sway will probably be quickly followed by sleep, because a grandparent's arms is a safe place where baby can relax and go back to dreaming whatever it is newborns dream. Damn, they really have it made, huh?
"I Bet I Can Get These People To Buy Me All Kinds Of Stuff..."
I have a feeling that babies already know that their grandparents are the people to go to if they really want something. I seriously think it's a natural instinct, a sixth sense, and they're all about exploiting this knowledge by way of adorable faces and sweet sentiments. They're smart, these babies.
"...And Let Me Do Things My Parents Won't Let Me Do."
I told you, they're smart. They know things. They're onto us, you guys.
"Yeah, I'm Lucky. I'm Loved By A Lot Of People."
At least, that's what I hope babies think. I hope they realize, as quickly as possible, that they're loved and cared for, and by people other than their immediate parent or parents. I hope they realize that they've been born into a wonderful, safe and nurturing environment, with multiple people that they can turn to and rely on and who will support them, regardless. That's honestly my wish for every kid, and I'm so very thankful that my kid gets to be one of the babies that knew, immediately, that they were loved.
"OK, But Seriously, Give Me Back To My Mom Now"
Sorry grandparents, they can only handle being away from mom for so long. Let's face it, you don't have the boobs (or the bottle) that feed them.