January 17, 2013

Cheers to my discerning baby

I love a good euphemism, especially when it covers for someone I love.  Our two year old terrier mutt will bring you a toy to throw him, placing it on your lap or directly in your hand, endlessly (we tested his limit as an experiment one day when lots of people were over and could alternate throwing to him – he went for eight hours straight with no break).  Or he will purposefully push his toy under the coffee table and then whine until someone retrieves it for him – at which point he will push it right back under.  Over and over again.  For hours.  Technically, he might be considered obsessive compulsive or hyper-active.   But I prefer to think of him as “high spirited” and “persevering.”

So when I read an article about bottle refusal that included the line “if your baby is particularly discerning” I knew I’d hit on a winner.   This is the perfect way for me to think about Daniela – a baby who will only nap for more than a few minutes if she’s strapped to my chest or in my arms.  A baby who will not even consider sucking on silicone pacifiers or nipples.  A baby who will happily look at dangling toys for several minutes, and then on a dime, start shrieking like they’re attacking her.  A baby who used to only be soothed by the up down motion (of course not side to side or front to back motion, like a swing can provide ; ) of her parents climbing the stairs of doing deep knee bends.  Who would fall into a deep sleep during said stair stepping or squatting, but wake up the second the motion slowed or stopped (forget about trying to put her down!)

When she’s fussy, she’s not difficult, or even high needs.  She’s just discerning! I love this- it gives her some agency, and it’s a commendable trait.  I really do try to think of her now as just having excellent taste and wanting only the best.  Why shouldn’t she?! I hope she keeps this up well into adulthood.  If she’s half as discerning about who she dates, or what jobs she takes, she will be golden.

So cheers to my extremely discerning baby (no, seriously – cheers – as in, it’s 2 PM and I need a drink badly ; )

But all kidding aside, I do believe that language is really important and how you label things can make a huge difference in how you experience them.  I was first exposed to this idea through Dr. Sears’ books – he doesn’t label babies colicky, but instead, underscores that they’re hurting.  Apart from the fussy times when she’s just being discerning, there are also good stretches when Daniela is inconsolable and hysterical for no apparent reason.  During those times, when absolutely no soothing techniques work, I often feel like yelling “what the !@#$ do you want from me?!”  But I stop myself, and even if it’s not aloud, I repeat things like “I’m so sorry you’re hurting.  I wish I knew what was wrong.”  Instead of thinking “I love you even when you’re crying for hours,” I try to think “I love you especially when you’re crying for hours, because that’s when you need it most.”

So in more seriousness, cheers to my discerning baby, and may she stop hurting very soon.   It’s so hard for both of us when she is.

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