Tue, Jun 27, 2006
One of my dearest hopes as a mother is that I would be a good listener. The best way is to start now by “reading” Lucy’s cries and expressions in order to be able to meet her needs well. However, this is easier said than done.
Lucy really doesn’t cry all that much, compared to some babies. But she does cry loudly. There’s enough scream in it you might as well call it “scrying.” As our friend Brad says, babies’ cries are specially tailored by God to inflict the maximum torment on their parents. So overall, Lucy is doing a great job. We definitely can tell when there’s a problem. But which problem?
- Is she wet?
- Is she hungry? (again? already?)
- Is she tired?
- Is she “overtired”?
- Is she in pain?
- Does she have gas?
- Is she lonely?
For example, this morning Lucy missed her nap. Sad for both of us. So, after her next feeding, I figured she was just extra-tired and fussy. It took a long time to get this crying baby to sleep. When I finally did, I noticed that there was a wet spot soaked all the way through her swaddling blanket. Argh! I think she was tired, but her extra-fussiness was probably because she was wet. I missed it.
I try to resist feeling like a “bad mother” when I can’t read Lucy’s cries, but this is definitely a challenge. I really want to listen to her, understand what she is saying, and help her, if possible. But, it is a difficult task in these pre-language days. Editor’s note: Did you know that the word infant comes from the Latin for “unable to speak”?
Car trips can be especially tough. Lucy is not as fussy in the car seat these days as she once was, but we can still count on some loud protests coming from the backseat through at least part of the journey. There really isn’t anything I can do to help her, especially if I am driving solo. My latest tactic is to encourage her. “Lucy, I’m putting you in the car seat right now, and so I need you to tell the world how much you dislike it. Okay? I’m counting on you to make a lot of noise!”
I’m really grateful that Lucy forgives me easily. She doesn’t hold a grudge when I miss her cue — she seems easily pleased when I do provide what she needs. (That ability to “move on” from discomfort or displeasure is an inspiration.) So, I’ll keep on trying to understand her, and she’ll keep correcting me. One of these days she’ll start to talk, and I bet we’ll have a terrific conversation about it all!
Photo: One possible cause of crying not listed above: the desire not to be photographed any more, dang it!
This post was last modified June 27, 2006 at 5:49 pm