Thursday, February 4, 2010

How To Resist a Screaming Baby

Or perhaps this entry should be entitled, "How To Resist a Screaming Baby?" Because I haven't quite figured out the answer to that one yet. As I type, there is an absolutely exhausted baby upstairs in his crib, screaming like a banshee because he doesn't want to go to sleep, even though he hasn't had a nap in five hours and can hardly hold his head up, he's so tired. But he's reached that stage where he wants to take everything in, and all that's going on around him is so exciting that he can't stand to go to sleep and miss even a second of it. So he fights and fights and fights to avoid going to sleep. Which means that I have to listen to him screech for fifteen or twenty minutes before he finally drops off.

Every once in a while I'm lucky and he's so exhausted that he only screams for a few minutes before his body takes over and he falls into a sound sleep. But on days like today, he manages a second (and maybe third and fourth) wind and after a several second rest or two, starts screeching again. I should know by now that if I can resist going to him for those fifteen minutes, he'll tire himself out from crying and get that much-needed rest. It's incredibly rare that he doesn't fall asleep if I can only hold off for those fifteen minutes.

But it breaks my heart listening to those woeful, pathetic cries! I feel like I'm abandoning him in his hour of need, even though I know all his needs are taken care of. The only time I let him yell like that is when I know he has a full belly and a dry diaper, when he's been well-burped, when nothing is poking him or scratching him, and when I know the one thing he needs is sleep. And I watch him on the video monitor so I know he's fine. But my mother's heart wants to run and comfort him.

And every once in a while, he either screams for longer than fifteen minutes or I just can't listen anymore, and I go in and pick him up and cuddle him. And most of the time, he relaxes immediately and snuggles into the crook of my neck, which is such a wonderful feeling that it makes it that much harder to resist the next time. I just love knowing that a snuggle from Mummy is enough to cure all his woes. I love that he feels so safe in my arms that just being picked up soothes and comforts him.

So how to resist a screaming baby? I guess that answer is, sometimes you just can't. And that's okay, too.

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