Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Letting You Off the Hook

This morning I looked after three kids under the age of two. More than once, someone was crying. Sometimes more than one someone was crying. And I'm okay with that. While for the first few weeks babies cry largely to tell you of a need, as they get older, crying begins to also indicate preference. Sometimes they will cry due to hunger or need for sleep or a diaper change, but often it's because they are bored or they would prefer to be held in your arms while you are standing up (not sitting down, what's wrong with you?) or they'd like to stare at the ceiling fan some more, and you just got in their way (again, what's wrong with you?). While it's not a good idea to let a baby cry indefinitely, even in the cases of a sustenance and dirty bottoms it's okay if the need is not met right away*. Babies need to learn everything, including how to wait. Patience is a skill to be cultivated, and if you meet your child's need immediately every single time, you'll find that by age three you have a little tyrant on your hands. So if you are wiping someone else's nose or butt (including your own) and need the baby to wait a few moments, that's okay.

You're welcome.

*I'm not saying to let them squall for an hour or anything, but five minutes? Ten as they get older? Even longer once they can comprehend basic instructions? Totally okay.

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