As I speak (or rather, write), Paulo is pitching a fit in his grandmother’s arms. (I have offered to take him, of course, but the hand off has not as of yet occurred.) This is the second such fit in as many days. Last night, he started screaming at 5:30 and didn’t stop until 8:30. Tonight… he started screaming at 5:30. It is now quarter after six. I’m mentally preparing myself for a re-run of last night’s shenanigans.
And while last night was in many ways awful, it was not nearly as bad as some of the nights in his early weeks. Funny to be saying that when he’s a whole seven weeks (and one day!) old, but there’s a world of difference between this and the first week. That first week, when he would scream for a long period of time, I would end up crying myself. It was such a visceral heartache to see my baby so upset. To be clear, my frustration wasn’t at the sound of his cries, but rather the fact that I couldn’t figure out WHAT was making him unhappy so I couldn’t FIX it.
A small digression: it’s so very important to me to feel helpful and to try to fix problems with people that to be faced with a situation where I can’t figure out what the problem IS… it’s just awful for me. I, of course, run into this in working in childcare and I’ve developed a lot of strategies for problem solving. Sometimes it just comes down to trial and error. Sometimes, I can really tap into a situation and figure it out – for example, I can tell based on exactly how he’s grunting when Paulo is hungry and when he’s just fussing. That’s not because I’m psychic, but rather because I’ve spent a lot of time observing him and paying attention to his particular cues.
Anyhow, when he gets on a screaming jag and none of the tricks work… I feel awful.
But I’m getting better. Like all babies, he’ll still have times where nothing works. And I’m getting better at accepting that. Last night I tried feeding him, cuddling him, giving him a bath… some of those things would work for a few minutes at a time, but then he’d start up again. Such as right now. I just fed him, which soothed him, and then he started up again. It may still be hard for him sometimes, but for me, I’m no longer crying as often. It’s easier for me to accept his bad moods as temporary and once my bag of tricks has been exhausted, I feel bad for him, but I can cope a little better with the fact that there’s nothing I can do.
We do have a new weapon in our arsenal: Schubert. My mama played this piece for him and loading this video up on YouTube on the iPhone and putting it up to his ear at least temporarily soothes him a bit. He obviously loves it. I’m sure Schubert didn’t have fussy babies in mind, but it works at least for a few minutes!