The 4 Things Babies Really Want

Shannon Curtin Baby

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Babies get a bad wrap. All over the internet you can find article after article about how to best parent your baby and they all make babies out to be some kind of  tiny, fragile aliens that can’t communicate their needs. That’s hogwash. Contrary to popular belief, babies are easy to understand. They have needs and they communicate them. All you need to do is meet their every wavering need and you too can have the happiest, most well-adjusted baby in the land. Of course, sometimes their needs include being held like a football and some of their communication methods, like telepathy, are a bit unorthodox, but when you get down to it, raising a baby is easy once you figure out what they want. Lucky for you, I’ve compiled an easy to follow list of things babies want, as provided by my own 8 month old baby.

Babies Want To Eat

Sometimes they want milk. Or puffs. Or pureed pears. Most of the time their palates skew a little more refined. Babies really want to eat: Your cell phone. The dog. The sole piece of grit you somehow missed even though you vacuum every damn day. Anything you have to fish out of their tiny steel trap mouths while reminding them “___is not for babies.” Mulch. Your necklace, your earring, your eyeball. The metal fork (i.e. dangerous weapon) you put down for just a second. The one paperback book in the basket full of thick board books. The computer wire he fished from under the couch  after you mistakenly thought you secured it there. Tissues. Whatever food or beverage you are currently holding, regardless of if they’ve recently refused the same exact thing two seconds earlier.

Babies Want to Sleep

Honestly, they do. They just want to sleep according to their own personal preferences. After extensive research I’ve found that most babies  like to sleep: cuddled into your chest while you remain sitting upright with your neck awkwardly bent toward their soundly sleeping heads.  In the car seat, but only while it’s moving–pray there are no red lights. From the hours of 10am-4pm, only. With a boob or pacifier perched perfectly in their mouth like the most exasperating game of Jenga you’ll ever play. During the entirety of that expensive mommy and me class. In their crib, finally, just as you realize you need to leave the house in ten minutes.

Babies Want to Play

Play time is important for developing baby’s brain. They learn all about the world during play time, important lessons are discovered through games like: how many times can I slobber on this cell phone before it dies (counting!), poke the dog in the eye until he runs away (biology! cause and effect!), ignoring the baby versions of desirable objects, “this is not the real remote control” (differentiating objects!), ripping apart important  papers (division!), how long can I make you hold me if I cry every time you try to put me down (persuasion! emotional control!), and my son’s current favorite-why can’t I crawl in the bathtub? (physics!)

Of course, now that you have some idea of what your baby really wants (to drive you crazy and possibly cause his own demise) it’s up to you to constantly redirect your baby to better, safer, less insanity-creating options. Think of it as good practice for the rest of your child’s life. For example, when they’re 4 and want to wear sandals in a snow storm, or when they’re 16 and want to drive five of their pimply friends to a concert on New Year’s Eve. By then you’ll be well-versed in all the ways to subtly say, “no, but how about this instead?” to the irrational, fragile, devoid-of-any-sense-of-self-preservation, being you created. I know this all sounds very tiresome and deflating, but there is one last thing all babies want and I promise you’ll have no trouble giving it to them.

Babies Want to Be Loved

When it comes down to it, babies are just like us. They want to be cuddled, hugged, kissed, smiled at, told they are the best, most beautiful, most wonderful creature in the world. Slather your baby with love, pile it on, cover them with all the love you think you have and then offer them even more. Never stop. Even if they don’t sleep. Even if they make poor footwear choices. Even if whine and pout and throw a tantrum. Even if they slam a door in a huff  on New Year’s Eve. Love that baby, all 8 pounds or 18 years of him.  Never stop. Regardless of how hard he rolls his eyes, it’s what he wants. I promise.


About the Author

Shannon Curtin

I am a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of two collections of poetry, Motherland (forthcoming from Anchor and Plume Press), and File Cabinet Heart (ELJ Publications). I am the newly named Poetry Editor of The Quotable and my writing has been featured in variety of literary magazines including Short, Fast, and Deadly, The Muddy River Review, The Mom Egg Review, and The Elephant Journal. I hold an MBA, competitive shooting records, and my liquor. You can find me .

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