When a baby starts crying…everybody reacts. Sometimes it’s a relaxed, normal reaction, such as the baby’s mom or dad…who are used to the crying. Even the grandparents can be pretty relaxed with it, because they know the baby and what this type of crying means.

The reactions of a friend who is holding the baby are a little more nervous. They often range from “What did I do?” to “I don’t think your baby likes me!” looks. Everyone wants to be the one who picks up a baby and the baby just snuggles up and smiles, or the one who picks up a crying baby, and the baby miraculously quits crying…just because they saw your face. Of course, the reality is that unless you are the baby’s mommy or daddy, or maybe grandma or grandpa, you probably aren’t going to get the reaction you hoped for from a crying baby. They want their mommy or daddy, especially at bedtime or mealtime.

Some of the funniest reactions to a crying baby, in my opinion, come from other children. They often think they are going to be in trouble for somehow hurting the baby, because after all “Why in the world would this baby cry unless it was hurt”, right? Claims of “I didn’t do anything!” or “What did I do?” are fairly immediate when they are handed a baby and the baby simply turnes into a screaming bundle of noise in their arms. They just don’t understand that the baby is feeling very unsafe right now, because this person who is holding them isn’t much bigger that they are…and “Where is my mommy!!”

And for the child sitting next to the poor little one who is holding the screaming baby, the looks are a mixture of “Whew, I’m glad that isn’t me!” and “Will somebody do something about this kid!” They are really just glad the baby didn’t cry while they were holding it, and…”Maybe I’ll wait for a better time for my turn…thanks!” Kids just don’t want to be singled out as the one that made the baby cry!

Now a sister or brother who is used to this “screaming kid who has joined our family” has an even different reaction. Day after day, they hear the baby crying, and they often can’t figure out what this kid’s problem is, and why they can’t “be more like me”…because “I never cry for no reason!” and “Why did we get this kid anyway!” When they found out they were getting a little brother or sister, they were so excited, and when the baby arrived, then confusion set in. “Ok people, this crying is just not what I signed on for when you told me I was getting a brother or sister!” “I kinda wanted a bigger kid…you know, like a new best friend…soooooo, could we just trade this one in one a better model…I think this one is just a bit defective!!” “Hey Mommy, can you please turn the volume down on this kid…or better yet, maybe we should put him in his crib…and shut the door please!!”

My mother-in-law shares her birthday with my grandson, Christopher. He is her first great grandchild, so that makes it even more special. This is an honor her mother also got to share with Christopher’s mother, my daughter Corrie. It is an unusual statistic indeed. My mother-in-law turned 80 years old today, but if you ask her, she is 65. You see, my mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s Disease, and she often lives in her own little world.

On any given day, if you ask her what she did that day, you will get a variety of answers, from doing laundry or other household chores to going to work. This is the really odd one, because she never held a job outside the home. Still, she thinks she worked in an insurance agency. Probably because I am an insurance agent. She thinks she works at a school, but I’m not sure where that one came from since we have no teachers in the family. She has also told us that she babysits on occasion, and we are pretty sure she thinks she is watching her granddaughters, as it has been girls and the only girls of that age don’t live here. I have found that the best thing to do is go along with the stories she comes up with, but some of them really take me by surprise, making it difficult to come up with a good answer in the conversation.

Sometimes she gets a little frustrated when we tell her it is time for bed. She always thinks it is too early. By the time we finally get her up, she is mad at everyone for “being so ornery” to her. That is the bad part. The good part is that by the time she is in bed, she is back to her sweet self and thanking you for getting her to bed, because she doesn’t remember that she was mad at you, not 10 minutes ago. I have been told that many Alzheimer’s patients are aggressive, and I am thankful that, at least up to this point, she is not one of them. Very little bothers her, and in reality the only things are exercise and bedtime. Oh, to have that be my biggest problem.

A sad side to Alzheimer’s Disease is that every once in a while, she gets an inkling of the fact that she should be able to remember some things, and when she can’t, she asks, “What is wrong with me?” That is so hard to take. It makes me want to cry for her, and her situation of moments lost. She still has many of her memories of the distant past, but she doesn’t always have her present life. From one moment to the next, something happens, and then for her it is gone. She doesn’t know that her younger son got married in June. She doesn’t realize that her grandchildren are grown adults…moments lost.

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