When you bring a newborn home from the hospital the doctors and nurses are quick to tell you that they only cry for a reason and you can’t give them too much attention. I took that to heart.
Every time Will cried or fussed I was there in seconds (unless I was pretending to be asleep of course) and I’d go through the checklist in my head: Check diaper, try a bottle, rock him, etc. If Will needed something all he had to do was make a little noise. And since the doctors all told us there was no chance of spoiling him so early on in life, I was happy to do it.
But just last week I found myself in a situation that leads me to believe things have changed in that department.
We were out at a restaurant and Will was actually being very good. We had given him a paper children’s menu and he was obsessed with it. As he was waving it around he dropped it on the ground, so I picked it up and continued on with my conversation with MJ. Then, a few seconds later, he dropped it again. I never stopped talking, just reached down and picked it up and put it back on his lap. And then it happened a third time and I picked it up again.
I saw a small smile begin to creep slowly across MJ’s face. I asked her what was so funny and she sheepishly said “Nothing. But I think he dropped it again.” Sure enough, he had so I picked it up and gave it back to him. Except this time I noticed Will had a similar smile on his face. And that’s when it dawned on me…
He’s screwing with me!
I was like a guinea pig. Will’s little science experiment. He just kept dropping his menu to count how many times the big guy would keep picking it up and giving it to him. He might as well have been shouting “Dance monkey, dance!” And it’s not just that incident. He has been crying and fussing a lot more lately for no reason. Sure he’s been sick but that’s not really it. You can tell the difference between a sick cry and what I call a fake cry.
The fake cry has been coming about when he’s bored or more specifically, whenever MJ or I leave the room. Nothing is wrong with him; he’s not hungry or sitting in a poopy diaper. He just wants attention. So he cries alligator tears to try to get us to come back in the room. I’m not sure when this phenomenon started but I’m pretty sure we’re now officially out of the “tend to him whenever he cries” stage and into the “strike a balance between tending to his needs and not spoiling him” point.
But that’s hard to determine. It’s not fun to hear your baby cry, but at the same time I understand it’s necessary to let him cry it out sometimes so we don’t end up as his whipped bitches, so to speak. As I type this, he’s over in his pack & play wailing away. He’s been fed and changed so I know nothing is wrong with him. But holy crap he can keep it up. It’s a tough line to walk and I don’t think I’ve mastered it yet, but my tolerance for his crying has increased a good amount. I used to not be able to stand it at all but I’m getting better. I guess it’s just another milestone and sign that he’s growing up really fast.
OK…I’m going to pick him up now. Like I said, I haven’t perfected it yet.