Saturday, September 08, 2007

Happy Baby

Recently Rachel has been more whiny than usual. It's probably because of all the stress everyone's been under lately. She's picked up this odd little habit of waking up from her late afternoon nap absolutely wailing--not the little whimpers or non-committal cries that she usually does, but gut-wrenching screaming--and nothing is obviously wrong: she's not hungry, soiled, gassy or cold. She just screams for 1o minutes or so.

I usually don't hear that because I like to respond to her before she's very upset. Not only does she latch on better when she's calm, but I just don't think that allowing her to think she has to scream to get my attention is a good habit to get her in. I really prefer her whimpering and cooing for attention rather than her screaming. So, because I don't like to hear her cry, I "fix" her before her volume escalates. This is done by either giving her what she wants right away, be it food, a diaper change, or just to be held; or I act really silly in hopes that she'll start giggling instead.

She's a pretty happy baby most of the time, so I think that this has been working so far. She's always right by my side 24/7, so even if she wakes up whimpering at 4 am (which I hope stops soon) I can hear her and quiet her down (which, at 4 am, usually only takes about 20 minutes, thank goodness).

This week, however, has been pretty crazy. Poor Rachel has spent more time in the car than she has her whole life, being carted off to the hospital or to Grandma's house repetitively. She wasn't allowed in the ICU so very often she was left with her inedible/non-lactating daddy in the waiting room while I visited with my dad. Rachel has learned about the virtue of patience and, like me, she's not very good at it yet.

She has also learned that she prefers mommy to strangers, which I kind of appreciate. She's also learned to howl, which I don't appreciate quite so much.

Now that things have calmed down a little, I'm hoping that Rachel will forget all about the "neglect" she faced this week and forgive me.

So, my baby isn't very patient. Name one 7 week old baby that is.

I just think that she'll learn patience and trust more by me being there for her every minute now, instead of letting her scream and scream and scream only to give in later. Once she's got a grip on life I'll introduce the idea of "just a minute" to her slowly.

Right now I take the cue to give her what she wants from her whimpers and cooing (she has an "I need attention" coo), and if I miss that, it's her non-committal cry. Her non-committal cry goes something like this,

"Wa-waaa," which translates as, "Are you listening yet?" She'll then stop and try to make eye contact, while wearing no expression of discomfort on her face whatsoever.

Then she'll go, "Maaa, maaa, waaa!" meaning, "Things are really heading south..." Again she'll look around, perfectly fine, but maybe throwing in a pouty face or two for good measure.

Finally she'll hold her breath in order to let us know she's really serious, and to build up enough oxygen to let out her, "Mmmmwa *hic* waa *hic* waaaa!" or, "I'm not really upset yet, but I will be soon!"

But she'll stop and look around for a bit to see if she's caught anyone's attention.

This is when I say, "I hear you, Rachel," which is sometimes good enough and she'll calm down. Other times, though, it provokes an ever increasing angry-cry so I go to her rescue.

My favorite is when Andrew's holding her while I am doing something else and Rachel will watch me walk around, directing her short outbursts at me as if to say, "Hey, Foodsource, get back here!"

I don't know...maybe we are spoiling her...but I don't think we are. I don't believe you can spoil an infant with too much holding. And, frankly, I've seen a lot of children who were allowed to cry turn out just as impatient and demanding as the next one. I may as well try this way. If she ends up impatient and demanding, at least I didn't have to hear her screaming for the first year of her life. My hope is that she'll learn to trust me and believe that if she waits long enough mommy will come, so there's no point in putting up a fuss.

Who am I kidding though? Kids just end up how they end up regardless of how they're raised. Parenthood is full of a lot more questions than answers, I've found, and more often than not they are answerless questions. I guess we all just do the best we can and hope for the best.

Although my doctor did tell me that the secret to a happy baby is to nurse until both mom and baby fall asleep. Then, when one of you wakes up, tell each other how cute you both are until it's time to eat again. Then nurse until both mom and baby fall asleep. Then, when one of you wakes up, tell each other how cute you are until...

I suppose that's basically what we do here.

1 comment:

  1. hmmmm Nancy be forwarned.... I have one word for you: MALACHI