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Posts tagged babies
After their four-month-old shots, babies tend to be cranky/sad, lethargic, and slightly fever-y. Which makes people who love said four-month-olds sad for them.
But also: cuddly. So it’s not all bad.
The Motherfucking Baby Whisperer
Last night, I had a miserable infant in my care for three hours. I was with him for four hours, but that first hour was lovely— he was smiley and happy, and then took a nap on my chest. But when he woke up? Good lord, that child screamed for nearly three hours straight. He’d been away from his mother yesterday for a lot longer than he’s used to, and he’s hardcore teething. He was in bad shape.
I was fine. In fact, I was better than fine.
I had been feeling really anxious for the couple of hours before I got to him, but as soon as he woke up and started screaming, I became amazingly calm. My whole world narrowed to the pain this kid was in, and all I wanted was for him to know that he wasn’t alone and that I was going to do everything I could to comfort him. That desire didn’t agitate me, it mellowed me. After a little while of walking him in the sling, he was pushing against me, and I thought he might want to crawl around, so I put him down. He immediately crawled right to my legs, pulled up on them, and held his arms up in the universal signal for “PICK ME UP!” I did, and it didn’t lessen his screaming, but he did lie against my chest and stop squirming. I had him on the bed for a while too, and every time I let him go, he crawled back to my chest or belly, face planted, and started wailing again. It was so clear that he was miserably in pain and didn’t know how to make it better, but definitely wanted to feel like I was close to him and cared.
I’ve never seen a baby resist tylenol the way he did— I gave it to him about 45 minutes into his screaming fit, and it didn’t calm him at all, which is a really rare thing. So I just put him back in the sling, took him out on the porch, paced and sang to him. And about 10 minutes before his parents got home, he was finally tuckering out, and I found myself saying in a low, sweet voice, “yeah, you can’t beat me, kid. I’m gonna win. There’s nothing you can do to make me crazy here. I hear that you’re miserable, and I’m just going to hold you until you feel better.” In fact, I set those words to melody, so that it would appear to him as though I was just still singing. And I was calm. I had a screaming infant on my chest, and I was calm the whole time. When his parents walked in, he was once again asleep on my chest, and they FREAKED OUT, because apparently this kid sleeps for no one other than his mother. His father has never been able to put him down the way I did. I felt an understandable measure of pride.
This is my one superpower. I’m the motherfucking Baby Whisperer. There is no amount of screaming that will make me lose sympathy for an infant, or lose my calm.
I’ve been thinking for some time that when I’m really back on my feet, I should foster infants and toddlers. Because if being able to handle a screaming baby for hours on end is my gift, I ought to use that power for good. And after last night, I’m thinking that I’m really going to do it. I want to use that calm that comes over me when I’m in the presence of a screaming child for good. And I think I can.