Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Figuring out parenting

In the weeks since my son was born I've gleaned that parenthood is enjoyable in part because it is challenging. Reading books with tips for dealing with common situations is all good and well, but with each child being unique there's still very much an element of figuring out what will and won't work for your specific baby.

For example, although he has taken to breastfeeding well, he has little interest in pacifiers. In the hospital, when they had to perform an ultrasound on him (because he hadn't urinated for 40 hours after birth) the nurse tried to give him a pacifier (with a little sugar water on it) and he wanted no part. So we cannot rely on the plastic pseudo-nipple.

I've previously noted using my sleestak-inspired shooshing when trying to sooth him, and I still do that. However, when he's cranky and it's not yet time for another feeding I have augmented that tactic by taking him into our bathroom where the whirr of the exhaust fan can give me a bit of a break regarding creating that white noise. (I'd seen a similar thing noted on Facebook about a friend's baby liking the sound of the fan over the stove in the kitchen.) Now, it's not like I simply take him in there and the sound miraculously quiets him; I still have to rock him, or distract him by lifting him, or shifting him around so he is momentarily interested in the sight of the towels or the light bulbs or the mirror. All of this ultimately pales in comparison to a feeding, but to buy Mommy some time so she can actually eat a meal or simply have a break it does the job.

When I do something that succeeds in changing my son's immediate mood from crying to not crying, even if it's only for a moment, I feel as though I have accomplished a great thing. (And frankly, I like to think that I have.)

What soothes him in one instance may not work quite as well in another, so it's an unending mission to keep trying until something does work. I've already figured out that's mostly what parenting is: not so much a matter of always knowing exactly what to do but of making the effort and not giving up until something succeeds… for the moment, at least.


Another quaint and obvious observation, I know.

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