I just want to finish folding the gawddamned laundry already! Or my dinner. Or a thought.
Our son is about 13 weeks old. Generally he’s quiet and cuddly and mild-mannered – a fair-haired, chubby, smiley little prince.
With every generalization there are exceptions. . .And when he’s behaving exceptionally, things in this joint can deteriorate into a shit show rapidly. Diapers go un-laundered. Dogs go un-medicated. Mommy goes un-showered.
This cannot be the kid’s fault.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 35 years, it’s always Mom’s fault. I’m sure if I were more disciplined, focused, and occasionally less tipsy, perhaps I could super efficiently manage the filth generated by two dogs, three cats, a husband, and an infant. If I were more practiced with my sewing and painting perhaps I could bang out projects in the five free minutes I can glean from the nearly 16 hours worth of feeding, cleaning, and nearly non-stop bitching I do in a day.
Typically, the kid’s happy and I have no trouble simultaneously swilling coffee, flailing about with Nandy Bear, screeching in some sing-songy voice, and folding the laundry.
Nandy Bear, Nandy Bear has no hair. Nandy Bear, Nandy Bear wears polka-dotted underwear!
However, on the few days when this isn’t enough amusement and our little prince is so cantankerous he won’t settle for anything but constant holding, my back aches and my head wants to positively explode. It’s during these moments I wonder if my no cry it out policy has created this situation? What if I’ve somehow spoiled him already?!
What? You may say. . .All children need to be held and comforted. He’s so little and needy.
I agree. Yet, there are moments when I’m plagued with mommy fail concern and I suspect the little sack of sugar is WORKING ME.
I know. I know. All the “experts” say a child of this age is not capable of parental manipulation. All the “experts” say a child should never be left to “cry it out.” It leads to a breakdown of trust and the kid is practically guaranteed to become Mussolini. While I was pregnant I devoutly believed this shit. So we have heretofore maintained a strict no cry it out policy.
For the past 13 weeks, we have been at Mac’s beck and call. If a small whisper so much as crossed his lips, I’d swoop in and pick him up. His little dimple and contented squeal registering sheer delight with my timely affection. I have paced the floor with him safely tucked in a Sleepy Wrap while he innocently “motor boats” until he’s fallen asleep. I’ve anticipated wet diapers and hunger. I’ve daily, even hourly, monitored temperature, mood, books read, TV “watched.” (I’m still not happy about Sponge Bob, you hear me Husband?) I think the little guy is getting used to all this attention. Trust me, he’s certainly no longer shy about registering his dissatisfaction with the service around this joint.
I’m beginning to understand the day-to-day practicality of keeping a child from crying is futile. He’s going to fuss, he’s going to whine. And frankly, for my own rapidly depleting sanity, I can no longer provide something akin to the Ritz Carlton experience for this kid 24 hours a day. Buck up little fellow, you’re three whole months old and the complaint department is closed!
There’s a paradigm shift occurring in these parts. Do you hear me adorable little super chunk?! Modified No Cry It Out is effective immediately. I AM going to shower. I AM going to vacuum. I will NOT be guilted by your low-grade whining. I will NOT allow those beady little eyes of yours, that pop open the minute I try to sneak out of a room in an attempt to tinkle, to deter me.
I’ve decided the “experts” (most of whom are men???) speak only in generalizations and therefore, don’t know their ear from their elbow about my exceptional child. Certainly my child is not going to become a psychopath because he was whiney while I took a 5 minute shower. (News Flash: showers are much more enjoyable while I’m not trying to simultaneously juggle a fussy, slippery, bald little being and shave my legs.)
The majority of the time, Mac’s needs are met quickly. By and large, the no-cry policy is reasonable for us. True, Mac might be working me sometimes, but the reward is a huge sloppy grin. . .and for that I’m willing to accept all blame.
However, I vow, starting today, I will no longer go skidding into his nursery sopping wet and unclothed if I hear a few whimpers. Surely some day, my confident, content, son will thank me for sparing him that horrific vision.