I am blessed to have what I would consider a good baby. He really only cries when one of two things are wrong: he’s hungry or he’s got a dirty diaper. And sometimes he doesn’t even bother crying over the latter unless it’s what I call a diaper blowout. Sure, he might get a little cranky if he’s tired but addressing one or both of the two aforementioned issues usually gives him enough time to settle down.
So, while I’m happy to avoid (at least for the current moment in time) bouts of unexplained crying, one thing I can say that he does that can frazzle some nerves is get super clingy–to the point where I’m wearing him as a living, breathing accessory for the day. Forget about trying to rock him to sleep with a few stories, putting him in his crib with the Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart-playing mobile, or sitting him in his vibrating bouncer chair to the soothing sounds of B-I-N-G-O! He’s not having any of it.
Moms love to hold their babies. I mean, really, who doesn’t love to snuggle with a wee one–except when they are crying, of course, in which case mom ends up holding the babe anyway. But when my baby turns into a creature from the planet Clingon, it can make it next to impossible to do something as basic as maintain hygiene.
This was my dilemma of the day recently.
I badly needed to shower, not only because I don’t feel human until I am lathered and rinsed but also fall in D.C. still means 80+ (and sometimes 90+) degree days, which equals sweat and more sweat. Plus, I figure I should at least be clean–make-up has fallen into the optional category these days–and out of my pajamas by the time the hubster gets home from work. I figure it’s the least I can do.
But as the morning turned into noon, and then into afternoon, and then late afternoon, my window for washing was closing and Velcro baby was showing no signs of unfastening. Now, I’m not opposed to letting my kid cry for a few minutes while I finish typing a quick e-mail, put something away, throw in a load of laundry, or what have you. He usually stops when he sees me again or finds a way to chill himself out. But I just can’t take that long, sustained wail that comes out when he’s in this mood, the one that can’t be quieted until he’s wrapped around my hip.
So after a few unsuccessful attempts (and admittedly naked ones since I had already turned the water on) at putting him in his crib, in his bouncer chair, and even the Boppy pillow on my bed so I could shower, I came up with an idea. What if I brought the play mat into the bathroom with me? I hadn’t tried that toy yet, so there was some hope the novelty might quiet him. He needed some tummy time anyway. Plus the cleaning lady just cleaned the bathroom top to bottom the day before. And maybe if I could poke my head out from behind the curtain every so often, he wouldn’t cry–or at least as hard. So, away me, baby, and the play mat went.
Well, he cried. And he cried. And he cried some more. And then nothing.
Silence is a bad thing at this stage of mommyhood. If I don’t hear a peep from him, I think he’s stopped breathing. So, I rip back the shower curtain only to find that baby has fallen asleep. He’d completely exhausted himself.
I think: “Cool. I guess that means I have time to shave my legs.”
I get out of the shower and decide I should leave him be while I get dressed and maybe rake a brush through my hair, or what’s left of it at the rate that it’s still falling out. I check back. He’s still soundly asleep. So, I run to the basement to throw a load of laundry in the washer. I check back. Still asleep.
At this point, I have a decision: I can either leave my infant lying on the floor and get dinner started or try to move him without waking him up. And I know that if he wakes up, it’s good times with Gorilla Glue baby.
I go for Option A. Dinner’s not going to make itself, I tell myself. And my mom always told me that what they say about dogs is also true of babies: Let sleeping babies lie.
But did she mean on the bathroom floor?
Probably not. And I sort of felt like a bad mom. I kept thinking every time I checked in on him, “Is this bad?” But he was sleeping so soundly–finally. In fact, he slept for a couple hours like that, believe it or not.
I actually couldn’t believe it, so I took this picture. Please, moms, tell me you’ve been here before.