One of the hardest things about being a parent is trying to receive the unsolicited advice you get. For me, all the talk of Levi being spoiled is what really gets under my skin. Every time I hear it, I’m tempted to say, “How many death certificates have you signed?”

I have signed two.

Levi’s adjusted age is two months and three weeks. His actual age is almost six months. Either way, according to the research, babies are unable to be “spoiled” until about nine months. Some folks say that manipulation can start at six months.

Okay.

Here’s the bottom line for me. He is a baby. Therefore he should be babied.

Period.

Levi was born when he was 25 weeks old. Ten days after birth, he had emergency surgery. We were looked in the face and told that he might not make it. He spent four months in a hospital with strangers performing routine tasks on him every four hours. He was hooked to wires and cords. His heels were pricked constantly. Even now, you can’t touch his feet without him wincing. His head was shaved and stuffed with needles. He is missing a patch of hair in the back of his head as a result of said needles. His eyes were stretched open. He is covered in tiny marks where the IV’s once were. His hands look like there is a message on them written in Braille. Let’s not even talk about the drugs that he was on.

Imagine your baby being on morphine.

So yes, we hold him. He doesn’t have to cry it out. He sleeps in our bed. Does it put a damper on adult time? Heck yes, but we worked very hard to get him here. Then when he got here, we had to work with healthcare professionals to get him well. He isn’t spoiled. He is loved.

Oxytocin is one hell of a drug.

Note: Karin Kessler and the other nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists at CHLA will forever have my respect.