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.
Then I found this website: Understanding Tears and Tantrums by Dr. Althea Solter.
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,