Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's not the teeth

Or alternatively titled: "where did my angel baby go?"

You all are sick of me bragging on my perfect baby, I know - about how he never fusses, or never cries, and is always perfectly content. About how if he was tired, he would happily take his pacifier and go right to sleep without any protest. About how you could use one of those terrible nose suckers on him at 3:00 in the morning and he would just smile about it. About how I could do whatever I needed to do, and leave him wherever I wanted to, and he would just lie there happy and content. Never a peep of discontentment out of this boy.

Not to worry, this post will have none of that.

I mentioned in my last post that I was hoping that his recent spells of fussiness were because of teething.

It's not the teeth.

My perfect, content as can be baby has been replaced by a just as perfect, but fussy/whiny/bordering on tantrum throwing baby.

What happened?

Now I have to learn a whole new set of parenting skills.

This is where I'm so glad I have a partner to raise him with. The other day, for the first time in his ENTIRE life, he protested when I laid him down to go to sleep for the night. There have been times where he would quietly whine for a few minutes before taking a nap, but NEVER after his nighttime bottle, and he would never down right CRY. Well, this night, he would have nothing to do with it. Jarrod and I took turns rocking him, we watched an episode of House and he finally fell asleep. The next night it was the same thing. Jarrod suggested we let him cry, and that's what we did. Thankfully I was up to my elbows in dishes and wasn't just sitting on my hands watching the red lights blaring on his monitor. It didn't take him that long to fight it and fall asleep, probably about 10 minutes.

Yesterday, he was full, dry, was not tired, but was not satisfied to lay on his activity mat and play. He started fussing for no reason at all. He wasn't happy sitting up, he wasn't happy in his jumperoo, he wasn't happy anywhere. We tried teething tablets, it's not the teeth. Finally, Jarrod put him on his activity mat and suggested that we just let him whine. He whined for a few minutes, but then started playing. Then as soon as I came into view, he started his whining again. I don't think that would happen if his teeth were bothering him. Unfortunately, it's not the teeth.

So that brings us to this morning when we took a bath. He was a happy as he could be while in the tub, but when I got him out to dry him off, I'm pretty sure he threw his first tantrum. He was crying as if I was drying him off with a Brillo pad. Sure, he was probably cold and was not having nearly as much fun as when he was playing with his links in the tub... but why the hysterics? I'm pretty sure it's not his teeth. So I continued drying him off and getting him dressed, much to his distress. Then I held him close to me in the rocking chair, and he just melted into me. While he's always been a perfect content happy angel boy, he's never been much of a cuddler. I loved it. He laid his head on me and was getting over his "ugly cry." Then my parenting instincts kicked in, and I thought I ought to put him down, now that he was calm and see if he would play.

I sat him on the floor surrounded by his favorite toys, and he cried. I let him just sit there and cry while I got ready. He would be fine for a few minutes, then he would see me and raise his arms and cry. I resisted him while I was getting ready. Then I put him in his bumbo chair and tray with some Gerber puff snacks while I ate my oatmeal. I could tell he was really tired, but he was happy to have me paying attention to him, and very happy to be eating his puff snacks.

Here is my dilemma: when do I run to his rescue and scoop him up in my arms and let him know mommy is here for him whenever he needs me, and when do I let him cry it out so he learns to be a man? This is where I'm so glad to have Jarrod for support. He can be much more objective about this kind of stuff than I can. (although, Jarrod is quite a softie! He's the one who is sure to put cheese in Phoebe's bowl every time we all walk out the door because 1. He feels so bad for leaving her 2. because the cheese will keep her occupied until we are out of earshot so he doesn't have to hear her crying for us.) Phoebe is a brat. She's a great dog, and we love her more than people should love a dog - but there is no denying that she is a brat! I don't want Levi to be a brat.

If I took one thing from the book babywise, it was that your baby should be a welcomed addition to your family, and not become the center of it. I think of that often when there is stuff that I really need to get done and Levi just has to wait. But what about those times when I'm available to rescue him and hold him when he's discontent? What do I do then? I mean how can you resist that arms up in the air boy?

This is going to be hard.

I really wish it were just the teeth.


jeniferkarianne said...

I don't have a baby and I probably won't for a few years. But, I do know after years of being a nanny and babysitting infants that you are an amazing Mom. Everyone thinks it's hard, but I know you are doing the right thing. Keep the faith Steph and know you have a thousand friends to call upon if you get discouraged! XOXO

Aaron and April said...

For what it's worth, Michael does the same thing everyday starting around 5 p.m. He also does it when he doesn't feel well or his teeth are bothering him. If I know for sure it's his teeth or he's sick, then I do all I can to comfort him including Tylenol and teething tabs. If I know or suspect nothing's wrong, he gets to cry. There are a lot of times I lay him down for a nap and he "protests" for about 10-15 minutes then he crashes out for 2 hours. I can stand the crying because I know that he needs to learn to comfort himself and if I go in there it only puts off him going to sleep and tells him that if he cries he gets what he wants. Your brother is the softy and will go in and rescue him. He's had to condition himself to let him cry. I've learned parenting is a lot of trial and error and you pray that the errors don't screw them up for life. I know you're doing your best and that's all that really matters. Levi is going to be a fabulous person because of ya'll and the family he's apart of because he is loved a lot.


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