Oooh... this is one of my pet peeves.
From the time that dd was born, until she was able to sit up and move around be herself, she was extremely, Dr Sear's definition of high needs. She was fussy all the time, nursed constantly, wouldn't sleep, had to be in arms all day, etc, etc. It was so hard, and dh and I were exhausted and frustrated constantly. It was the struggle with her intense personality that led us to AP and believing in the nurturing, consistent care that it preaches. But for the first few months, I was extremely sensitive to perfect strangers asking me if she was a good baby. What in the world defines a good baby? A baby who never expresses her needs? A baby who sleeps all the time? A baby that is trained to fit into the lives of her parents? Of course, if I said even the slightest thing about how tired and frustrated we really were, we would just get blank stares and lectures about not spoiling the baby. I remember being at a concert with dd, my mom and one of her friends, and the friend asked me if she was a good baby. My mom jumped in and said "No, she's a terrible baby- she never stops crying and keeps her parents up all night."
I stood there dumbfounded. My heart just broke at the thought of my little one being told that she was a bad baby, just because she had a lot of needs and was very persistent in expressing them. Just because kids are born with more intense temprements doesn't make them good or bad- just different. The way I see it, our childrens' spirits have been around for a long, long time, and it must be really hard to be this mature spirit trapped in this little body that can't do anything, and can't communicate it's needs. I think it's our resonsibility to love and nurture, discipline and guide these little people the very best that we can, and much study and prayer has led me to the positive, nurturing side of AP, and I think that that kind of consistency, gentleness and love will help bring out the wonderful shining aspects of her personality, and help her be confident in her beauty, grace and spirit. I think that children who are constantly told that they are "bad," "brats," "spoiled," or other derogatory (sp?) names or labels will grow up doubting themselves and maybe even believing in those labels. My goodness, the last thing I want is for this sweet little child of mine is is have her spirit wounded, or to doubt that she is a beautiful, powerful, wonderful child of our Heavenly Father. There is too much negativity and sarcasm between people and family members, and I refuse to let it affect my family if I can help it.
Whoah! Sorry for the novel, but I can't help but feel really strongly about this. It's a huge thing for me. Children are wonderful, beautiful blessings, and they are learning and growing, just like we are. Maybe these women just need to adjust their expectations.