Friday, March 04, 2011

Steady, unsteady

I continue to study and memorize a succession of fickle formulae for successfully consoling Bee when she cries. Variables include:

type of motion
(e. g., today, bouncing = good, swaying = bad)
location (indoors? outdoors? living room closet?*)
personnel (sometimes, only daddy will do -- sometimes, only mama)
attire (onesie + pants - socks? onesie + PJs? just diaper? snowsuit +/- hat? which hat?)
sound (singing? silence? NPR? piteously begging the baby to stop screeching?)

Fundamentally, our day-to-day answers to the problem of poor Bee's near-constant meltdowns are ever-changing, because what worked two hours ago no longer brings about the hoped-for result, and the same neighborhood stroll that lulled my girl to sleep yesterday afternoon, for example, finds her, today, howling for its duration, inducing neighbors to stop shoveling snow and look us over to make sure the child is not being murdered, because that is totally what it sounds like. The neighbors are always sympathetic, of course, once they visually confirm that murder is not taking place, but for a moment, you know, they're just not sure. (Bee's wails are truly shattering in the quiet of our sleepy and peaceful neighborhood. She frightened off a family of crows a few days ago.)

Music sometimes soothes our Savage Bee, although not usually for more than a few minutes, and that "music" must generally be one of many repetitive, homespun lullabies** performed by her mama or dad. (You'd be surprised how often one relies on Christmas carols.) And Ben and I must never omit the endless bouncing and/or rocking and/or pacing: these grueling measures*** must be taken each night and prior to every scarce nap, or else Bee will not be convinced to close her eyes.

So, ours is in some ways a fickle baby, but in some ways she is quite a steady one. She is unwavering, for example, in her ability and inclination to let us know that she's uncomfortable or unhappy (isn't that a nice way to put it?). And she keeps a fairly predictable schedule... we might hate the schedule, but we can't deny that it's a schedule. And she is inexplicably soothed -- mysteriously and instantly, every single time -- by being placed on her changing table. Seriously, it brings a grin to her face in the midst of even the most dreadful of meltdowns.**** And Bee's personality, when we get to see it, is -- praise be! -- essentially a mirthful and cheery and radiant and sweet one, and I like being able to count on that.

Next time, if you're very, very good, perhaps I'll tell you all about how my baby has a FOOD ALLERGY and we can't figure out what it is. You're welcome in advance.

* No, we don't lock our kid in the closet! Is that what you thought?! See, we have a very large walk-in storage room off of the living room, with shelves full of apparently fascinating things that will sometimes visually overwhelm lull Bee to sleep if one of us walks in there while holding (bouncing/rocking/whatever) the wailing baby. Sometimes it worketh, and sometimes it worketh not.
** Often unrhymed and tuneless, which Bee apparently doesn't mind: one of the many ways in which she is reassuringly unjudgemental.
*** Ben actually pulled a muscle! (I'm positive he wants me to tell you that.) And for reals, I am often physically incapable of providing the degree of arduous physical reassurance Bee needs, because I have average, normal woman-arms instead of, you know, these.
**** We suppose it's just that she likes to have a clean rear end (who doesn't?) and therefore has happy associations with the changing table. But the transformation, lovely readers, is often miraculous. Bee can be crying herself hoarse, and then, presto! Instantly consoled by placement on changing table! (Thanks, random lady from Craigslist! Are you selling any other furniture with magical properties?)


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