Monday, October 21, 2013

Parenthood: Week 21 – The Crying Game

Every time Ollie laughs it makes a unicorn dance and every time Ollie cries that unicorn is staring at me with angry eyes getting ready to charge.

Dealing with Ollie when he is crying is the most exhausting thing about being a parent. Nothing else in the world seems to matter when he’s crying and I want to stop doing whatever I’m doing and comfort him.

When Ollie cried when he was first born, it was mostly tearless screams. His eyes would shut his eyes tightly and tense his whole body. This was tough to deal with but it’s a lot easier than a fourth month old crying.

Now when Ollie cries, there are tears, big tears. He cries with adult sized tears and when they show up on his baby-sized face, it’s the saddest thing you have ever seen. The tears alone wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t paired up with that look in his eyes. Whenever Ollie is crying and I pick him up, he calms for a second, just long enough to open his eyes. He’ll looks directly at me with these desperate and longing eyes that pierce into my heart.

Part of me is freaking out and panicking every time Ollie  melts down. But I know I can’t panic. So I try to stay focused and calm for Ollie’s sake. This is really hard to do and takes an tremendous amount of emotional energy and control, which manifests itself as physical exhaustion by the end of the day.

What’s even worse is when Ollie cries and I have to let him keep crying. If he has a dirty diaper in the car, he sometimes has to cry and wait as I find a place to pull over. When he’s hungry, sometimes he  has to wait for Diana or for a bottle to heat up. And sometimes he starts crying while I’m going to the bathroom. It feels pretty horrible hearing your baby cry while you are in the middle of doing your business.

Hearing your baby cry when you can’t immediately make them feel better is also exhausting.

The amazing thing about babies is that when you figure out exactly what is upsetting them and you take care of whatever was making them cry, they can switch to happiness really quickly. Most of the time, laughter isn’t too far behind tears.

Being disturbed by Ollie’s crying is one of those things like missing Ollie when I’m away from him that I’m probably never going to get over.  They show I’m connected to my son and invested in his well-being in a very powerful and personal way.

For every time he cries, we've got to make sure he laughs.  I don't think the laughter will make him cry less but it'll help him continue to experience the range of human emotions and keep the unicorns at bay. 

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