i hate it when she cries

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Don't check on her for ten minutes. Listen to her — is she crying up? Or down? Even if she's crying up, leave her for at least five minutes, all babies need five minutes of crying to get themselves to sleep. Except those that don't.

All babies learn to fall asleep by themselves between 3-6 months of age. Except those that don't. Which is most of them.

Subsequent children get ignored, and they're better for it. Leave her. Let her cry. It won't take long. A couple of days of fussing.

Fussing, that's what they call it. Fussing.

And I know she won't die, I know there's nothing terribly or drastically wrong, I know she'll eventually wear herself out and fall asleep and feel better for it.

But she doesn't. And she's crying because she's scared or angry or confused or just too effing tired to figure out what's wrong, and isn't it my job, as a mother, to be there for her? Precisely when she doesn't know what to do, and what's supposed to happen next, and how to get there?

I let her cry today. Because I'm tired, because I have work to do, because my back aches and the painkillers can't touch it, because I'm impatient, I let her cry. I let her down.

I know she won't remember it. But I will.

4 thoughts on “i hate it when she cries

    1. Yeah, I wasn't prepared for the guilt of motherhood. I'd heard of it, but I didn't expect it to be so all-consuming, nor so immediate. I remember it hit me at her very first breath.

  1. Every time Sophia cried, or cries, even to this day, I remember the very first night that I met her, and her crying was beautiful, because it meant that she was alive.

    Not that there was any doubt, but new fathers, being what they are, are hunted by myriad fears. I couldn't imagine a baby until that moment. After it I couldn't imagine not having one.

    Even to this day, when I let her down, when I won't let her have a new toy or a treat from the bakery, and she's crying, sometimes I tell her quietly: keep crying. I like it when you cry.

    Because it means she's alive.

    1. I've expressed a similar bleed-to-know-you're-alive sentiment in my time, so I definitely know what you're talking about, but I guess I'm still just too close to have that kind of perspective yet. But I suppose, given I haven't had a proper night's sleep since about March 2012, that's to be expected. One day!

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