Thursday, June 6, 2013

Don't Shake the Baby- Make them Hats

If you want to save yourself some time, just click here: to learn about preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome because I'm tired and this might take awhile.

You may have noticed that I just added this button to my page, and here's my blog about it:

I was out to lunch once (before I had children) with a work friend who had two kids.

Friend: Oh my God, I almost shook the baby last night.
Nosy Stranger: What? How old is this baby?
Friend:  Seventeen.
Nosy Stranger: Ah. Well, ok then.

Lesson: It is ok to shake seventeen year olds, but not babies.  It may or may not actually be legal to shake 17 year olds, for the record, but apparently it is widely understood by mothers everywhere hat you really, really want to at times.  Well, I have not yet had a seventeen year old, but I have had babies, and I can tell you that you really, really want to shake them sometimes, too.  Except you can't. And we all know that, or we should.  But maybe we should talk about how frustrating those little gifts from God can be.

When my dear, sweet, adorable first born came home from the hospital, he and I had a bad night or two.  That first night the stroller in the living room, car seat on top of the dryer, the baby swing and the bouncy chair all came into play.  And none of them worked.  I held him up, looked into his screaming face, and said, "Look, kid, I'm all you got.  You have to work with me here, because I am trying everything and you don't like any of it."  

I vacuumed to drown out the noise.  When Daddy suggested that the neighbors might not like to hear a vacuum at 2 am, I countered that I was sure they'd rather hear a vacuum  than a screaming newborn, and I must have been right because no one ever complained. Or, perhaps the apartment had really awesome noise-canceling flooring material, all I know is that I vacuumed a lot that first month or two. 

When my second child was born, he did that blood curling screaming thing which my first child never, ever did. I did not know how to parent a baby that was so incredibly, horribly, throw them out the window loud, so I sent him to the nursery.  They sent him right back, the wimps. 

Again, I held him up, looked into his face, and said, "Kid, I can't take this.  You and I gotta figure this out."  And luckily for me, both times the babies and I did figure it out pretty quickly.

I did not have a constant crying devil child. I had an occasionally non-stop crying child (or two) and that was enough for me.

I started going to La Leche when my oldest (and then only) child was a little over a year old.  All of a sudden, nursing had gone from a "oh, awesome, you go, girl!" thing to a "OMG are you STILL doing that? WTF is wrong with you?"  Apparently, the first birthday is international kick them off the boob day, which I somehow missed out on. 

Don't worry, this is not a nursing blog, not even a little bit, but I am sleep deprived and it is a sleep-deprived blog that is going to ramble cuz that's what happens when child #1 doesn't go to bed on time and child #2 keeps everyone up for 2 hours in the middle of the night and then child #1 wakes up at the crack of dawn even though he stayed up over an hour past bedtime.  I'm so tired I almost mistook the spray sunscreen for cooking spray. 
It Could Happen To Anyone!

Anyway, at La Leche they gave me some pamphlets and old newsletters to read, one of which has stuck with me for life as one of the best things I had ever read.  And, no, I have no idea who wrote the article or when they wrote it or anything to give them credit.  Anyway, it was written by some experienced mother who talked about nursing and rocking her baby in this rocking chair every night in a room that didn't have a window. Then she went on to say that had there been a window, she might have thrown the baby out of it on more than one occasion.  Ahh, it's not just me!

As new mothers we all think other people have this whole parenting thing under control way more than we do.  We feel like mothering should come naturally, we should instinctively know how to do this, and the baby should be fat and happy and adorable and smell like baby powder.  They should never, ever, be irritating, incessant criers unless we are bad mothers, we think.  If neighbors hear our baby crying, they will think we are bad mothers, we fear.  We blame ourselves or we blame our babies and we just want them to be the sweet snuggly baby we dreamed of our whole lives.  Except they're not, and they don't even smell like baby powder because the pediatricians decided baby powder harms baby's lungs and banished it.

My firstborn, that dear, sweet, baby who is now seven, was a high-needs baby.  He fussed every time you set him down.  He hated the swing, the stroller and, unbelievably, the car.  I'd strap that baby to my chest in the snuggly and play this Mama-Baby aerobic video at least four times a day, because that was the only thing that worked.   I don't mean I did that for a month or two; I did it for years to get him to sleep. But, at least I found something that worked.  He didn't cry for hours on end, because I happened on the one thing that worked for my particular child, and thank God I did, because I don't know how I would have coped with a child that cried for hours.  I'm not that strong.

So if you are an old mother, or an experienced mother, I should say, do me a favor and tell new mother's that it's not just them.  That babies just cry sometimes.  That it doesn't mean you are a bad mother.  Then help them not to be a bad mother.  Spread the word about incessantly crying babies and not shaking them. Wanting to is understandable, but you can't actually do it.

This morning, I read this blog, mainly because she had an awesome picture of a crying baby playing guitar.  Now, she is either a better blogger than me, had more sleep than me, or both, but if you have no idea where I'm going with this or just want to see her photo which rocks, just do yourself a favor and click on the above link. It's way easier to follow.

I can't knit to help raise awareness of shaken baby syndrome, but I can write a little, and I can post embarrassing photos of my babies crying.  If I can help spread the word to just one Mama out there to say, yes they are exasperating little creatures.  They are not domesticated in the least -they are wild unpredictable things.  You can do this. You will live through it. Just don't shake the baby. 

And now, I give you, slightly-out-of-focus screaming baby photos plucked from the baby book:

This is not what I want!

I don't want to be a freaking bee for Halloween!

Five Minutes before the Great Photo Shoot Meltdown of 2005

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