Sunday, June 11, 2006

9 Weeks After: Or, Not Being A Bad Parent, Really

Once upon a time, not that long ago, skribe and I would see someone apparently ignoring their crying baby or screaming toddler, and we'd tsk to ourselves: "Bad Parent".

Not any more.

Now that we have a little one of our own, we realise what little brats babies really are, and that sometimes, all too often, you have no options left but to put up with the screaming and crying until the little bugger wears himself out.

And all the different types of crying! Such range of expression, such depth of feeling! There's the hungry cry and the want-to-poop cry and the I-don't-want-to-be-on-my-tummy-anymore cry and many, many more.

Our favourite is the I-need-to-sleep cry. That's when JOOB is so over-stimulated by all the fun and excitement that he can't deal with it anymore. He's exhausted, he's cranky, and he's bewildered. He cries for the breast but he's too upset to feed. He wants to sleep, but he's too stressed to nod off. So he cries. And he screams. And he kicks and punches and yells. The tears are streaking down his cheeks. He's breaking your heart and your ear-drums.

And there's not a lot you can do except keep trying to soothe and settle him enough that he allows himself to fall asleep eventually. Sometimes you can distract him with a nappy change. Remember, the trick is to distract him without stimulating him further. Generally, you just have to take it in turns - walking and rocking, patting and shushing.

You're frustrated by your ineffectiveness, you're fatigued from lack of sleep, and you're frazzled by the endless crying. It's easy to just walk away and forget the whole thing. Note: You're only a bad parent when you keep on walking away.

Thank goodness I've got the fabulous Skribe to tag-team with. Bewteen the two of us, we can take on any amount of crying JOOB chucks at us, I hope.

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