Reflections on Ramona, ten weeks in

Right now, Ramona is screaming, and we have no idea why. At the moment her father is changing her; we’ve tried all the other soothing options. Sometimes even if she doesn’t really need a change the ritual seems to calm her. We’re even wondering (thanks to some dribbling, a little reddening of the cheeks and some hand chewing) if despite her very young age she’s teething.

I’m writing this so I don’t go nuts, but in a second I’ll drop the computer and take over. We swap back and forth so we both get a break from the wailing. But to you, it’ll seem like I’ve never gone. Isn’t that magic?

<pause>

Twenty minutes later, she’s sleeping peacefully in her bouncer chair. How did we get here? Well, in this instance, the old swap ‘n’ calm worked – sometimes just moving her from one parent to the other seems to do it (although you can only get away with it once – any more pass the parcel and she rightly objects to constantly being unsettled). I think the change also helped though she didn’t respond immediately because sometimes she’s too far gone with irritation to realise straight away that something good has happened. She’s at an age where she’s awake more but still needs 15-16 hours sleep a day. She’s sleeping 7 hours at night now, to our delight, but at some point between 9am and 12pm she really, really needs a nap.

Sometimes we don’t deal with the crying well. Those sobs are designed to pull on your heartstrings and you find yourself on the verge of tears, feeling like a failure. But then, like magic, she quiets down again – sometimes even cracks one of her heartbreaking smiles – and it’s all forgotten.

Frustration, exhaustion, confusion… you feel them all. But never anger, because there is a part of your mind, no matter how tired, worried or disturbed that knows that she is even more upset and unhappy. Because she can’t speak and crying is her hard-wired defence survival mechanism. And all those negative emotions come from deep inside one overarching, deeply powerful positive emotion.

Love really gives you a serious kicking sometimes.

But oh, every day you find out you can love them even more than yesterday, though yesterday you would have sworn it wasn’t possible. Their personality develops, their smiles are brighter, gummier and ever more focussed. Their eyes follow you around the room, their little tummy time press-ups and their wobbling head as you prop them upright…  you find out very quickly why, for a while, parents can’t talk about anything except their little one’s latest achievement. Ramona’s achievements thus far? Smiling, batting at her toys, once or twice grabbing a toy briefly, pushing her head up to between 45 and 90 degrees on her tummy, babbling. Who knew those simple things could ever turn you upside down with awe?

And then, once in a while, comes the crying, to bring you crashing back down to reality. The bubble isn’t burst, though, just a little deflated. And the good news is, that it quickly fills back up again.

I’ll be writing bi-weekly in BitchBuzz about parenting, pregnancy and babies soon (I believe on a Wednesday). I think surviving a crying fit might be one thing I need to cover.

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