Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The (In)Consolable Cries

It's the firm belief of Mrs. Blackwell and I that we have a decidedly happy baby boy on our hands. While he's still unable to confirm this in his own words, we remain confident in this assessment. 

The boy smiles frequently. He appears to enjoy the company of others but does a fine job of staying occupied when there isn't someone by his side (a particularly important point, I think). 

What better place to put a cool appetizing
drink than on the carpet?
He talks — a lot. What he says, we know not, but if tone counts for anything it's fair to say that he's interested and likes to share his interests. Thus far, whatever might be on the couch or the family room table are highest on his list of concerns. 

And so it goes. When he's not occupied with Mrs. Blackwell or myself, he props himself up on a piece of furniture into a standing position and then files along, shuffling his feet until he reaches any object that holds his attention, to keep things interesting this often happens to be a full cup. 

These are the good times and there are many of them. Then there are the other times, like the times when he cries and fusses. Sometimes he has good reason, others he's no reason at all. 

There's the "I'm hungry cry." When I'm hungry, my behavior is often less rational than his so, he gets a pass here. 

There's the "I slipped and fell on my butt and that's never happened before cry." It would appear that the surprise of falling on his butt disrupts him more than it hurts. Not knowing exactly how to handle this, he cries, but never for long. 

Then there's the "I bumped my head" cry. Again I can't say that I handle bumping my head any better than him. If crying was still a reflex for me in this situation, I'd gladly exercise it. Instead, I just swear, unless the boy is in the room in which case I yell "fudge" and "poop" and "Son of a....dear god!" (It's worth noting that searching for these words in lieu of those beautiful four-letter impulse words, only compounds the frustration.)

So, here too, a cry is more than acceptable. And as any parent knows when your child has bumped his or her head, you're too busy beating up yourself for being a terrible parent to actually get frustrated with the kid. 

Then there is the cry without explanation. How can you make something better when you don't know what's wrong?

Simply put, you've got a crying baby on your hands, what now? Welp, I have no idea. No words of wisdom and likely nothing to offer you here — except a slim chance. I do have my own solution and perhaps it might work for you, I make no guarantees. 

Mrs. Blackwell and I stumbled upon this surefire beauty by pure happenstance. Perhaps two to three months ago we noticed that the boy took particular interest in a picture we have hanging in our kitchen.

It's an oblong vertical picture of gerber daisies. While it doesn't rise the standards of high art that some folks require, it's a happy picture and we like it. 

Pictured: High Art (and that's why we've got our 48 x 36 of this
beauty hanging safely in our bedroom.)
Nearly anytime we walk by the picture with the boy in our arms, he smiles or reaches for it. Unless we're in a rush (which only happens Monday through Friday and sometimes on Saturdays and usually on Sunday) we take a moment to let him enjoy the artwork. He giggles and pats the glass.

I'm not sure who thought of it first, regardless, when Master Blackwell began crying for unexplained reasons, he was taken over to the picture.

In short order, his eyes widened, his cries stopped and his mouth drew into a broad smile. 

I don't want jinx this by suggesting it works every time but, seriously, it works every, single time. 

Perhaps you've got your own surefire fix for those iconsolable cries that don't seem to follow any sort of reason. Maybe it's a stuffed animal. Maybe it's a funny face you can make. Maybe you've got the one baby who responds to "Hey, stop crying."

If so, rejoice in your luck (I know I do) and remember what you've no doubt been told by your parents numerous times before: "Enjoy these times because, once they can tell you what's wrong, they never stop."

No comments: