Friday, January 9, 2009

Tears on my pillow

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When the Angel was a newborn, I started reading everything I could find on babies.  Some things made sense to me, some didn't.  One thing that struck a note was from  ''The Continuum Concept''.  I didn't read the book, just some stuff on the website (I'm sure there is a lesson in there).  The author mentioned that in the tribe she studied, the babies there hardly cried.  These were not the colicky, tantrum-throwing, clingy, whiney little ones that are often prevalent in western culture.

Somehow, that little piece of information got warped in my brain.  It was warped into ''If your baby cries, you are a bad parent and you are doing it wrong.''

Did I mention the warping?

So, it became my modus operandum to ensure that my baby never cried.  When she became colicky at around 6 weeks, I spent her crying hours curled up with her on the bed rubbing her feet to turn the cries into moans.  (The pain of my rubbing probably distracted her from her own pain, now that I think about it).  When I discovered that nursing would almost instantly stop any cries, I shoved my boob into her mouth at the first note of distress.  Anything that caused crying, like putting her down for a second, or not letting her play on the stairs even though I had things to do, was not done.

A year of this turned me into something resembling a slave.  

Thank you Oh Warped Brain of Mine.

The lightbulb moment came recently.  I started to realize that this did not make sense.  That this was going to ensure that my Angel was definitely heading down the road of the ''Spoilt Brat'' that I thought I would never raise.


Lesson Number One: It is OK to cry.  

Lesson Number Two:  It is IMPORTANT to cry.

Lesson Number Three: Letting my baby cry while I sit lovingly and attentively with her does not make me a monster.

Lesson Number Four:  Constantly sticking my boob into her mouth is not helping her.  It is actually making it worse.

Lesson Number Five:  Bad feelings need to be felt and acknowledged, not distracted and pacified.

I've started to put it into practice.  There has been some crying, and my clothes are covered in snot.  On the first day, most of the day was spent sitting with her, drenched in tears and not getting much cooking or anything else done. But it is getting better.  She is even starting to play on her own a bit.  And today she fell asleep at nap time without being nursed down in her sling.  A day I thought I would never see.

I have made many mistakes in her first year.  And Lord knows there are a jillion more that I will make in the years to come.  Hopefully, none too damaging, and hopefully she will forgive me.

At present there is an alien noise from outer space on the baby monitor.

peace and love,
T.


4 comments:

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

You did NOT screw up! You did what you thought was best for your baby. And now you're trying a new tack with an older baby and helping her learn to self-soothe which is good too! (We moms are our hardest critics.)

Tash said...

well done... takes alot of courage to acknowledge that there may be another way to do it and that there may be negative aspects to the method you chose. That said, she's your first, you trusted your instincts and there's nothing wrong with that.

Good luck. Here's to you having time for you in the not too distant future!

eye in de sky said...

Heh heh, it gorn be cutass nex, yuh go see!
Happy new year Doux doux, give the Angel kisses from us.
Keep well
S

Nan said...

Don't listen to him! Yes, though, crying is okay. We all feel better after a good one! But I think you did the best thing for your baby when she was a baby. It's just that she isn't a baby any more! New tactics required! Funny enough, I borrowed that same book from Kelly just the other day...