It’s 11 pm but my baby Jamaine’s eyes remain wide open and she shows no signs of sleepiness.
I lie down next to her on the bed and close my eyes. Maybe if I pretend to sleep, she’ll sleep too.
Jamaine flips to her stomach and crawls closer to me. Peeking from one eye, I could see she was staring up at me. I pretend not to react and stay still.
She puts her hand on my face and makes a small whining sound. I do not react.
She slaps harder and whines. I do not react still.
Sensing my indifference, she whines continuously.
I couldn’t stand letting her cry so I stop my sleeping act and pick her up.
She seems satisfied and sucks at her thumb. I walk around the room trying to put her to sleep.
After a few minutes, Jamaine whines again. Looking at the clock, I see it is almost mealtime so I put her down and fix her a bottle of milk. She refuses to take it though and whines again.
I pick her up and sing her favorite lullaby but the whining continues.
What is wrong?
It is past 12 midnight, I heave a sigh of frustration and notice my hand slightly tightening into a grip around her leg.
I am slowly losing my patience. I am tired and I want to sleep but I can’t sleep while my baby’s still awake.
Is this scene familiar to you?
As Jamaine grows and learns her needs and wants, I’ve been experiencing some real tests to my patience.
I love my baby but sometimes love tends to take a bit of a backseat when I’m tired, sleepy and desperate to hit the sack.
I am learning everday that taking care of a baby definitely is a challenging experience.
Sometimes you are pushed to your wit’s end trying to figure out what ails them and how to comfort them.
You get frustrated at their incapacity to communicate what they need and at your own incapacity to understand.
It’s so easy to get carried away with the situation and become irritated or impatient. But of course, succumbing to that doesn’t help at all.
What to do?
1. Always put things in perspective.
If the baby’s whining, then it means she’s not feeling okay about something. Imagine what it’s like when you feel something wrong and you can’t get your message across, won’t you be fussy too?
Babies will cry until they learn how to speak and you can’t expect them to keep quiet just because you want them to.
2. Close your eyes, take deep breaths and keep calm.
I notice that my baby is very perceptive. Even if I don’t say anything, she reacts to how I feel at the moment. When I get tense, she tenses up too. But when I radiate a sense of loving calm, she calms down too.
Another technique I use to calm myself down: I hum a relaxing tune I heard from a meditation CD and use it as Jamaine’s lullaby. After a few repetitions, Jamaine picks up on the relaxing vibe and falls asleep.
3. Visualize your happy baby.
I always keep a mental photograph of Jamaine’s smile. On her fussy days, it reminds me that she is actually a happy baby who happens to have mood swings (doesn’t everybody have it?)
Oftentimes, she returns to her happy baby state when I give her space to be her moody self.
4. If all else fails, hand the baby over.
We are human after all, and there will really be times when we’ll lose our patience. But just when you sense it happening, hand the baby over to your husband, your caregiver or other people in the family who can offer loving arms while you collect yourself.
It helps to relieve yourself of the fussy situation for a little while and pull yourself together. Walk around the house, punch a pillow, drink some water, eat chocolate, do something to release that negative emotion.
Before you take back your baby, make sure you’re feeling better. Chances are the baby will grow tired ahead of you and fall asleep soon enough.
This night too shall pass
Oftentimes, when we are having a rough night, I always remind myself that I only need to stretch my patience a little longer and exert effort a little harder. It won’t be long when the night will finally pass. It always does.
When my baby is peacefully sleeping next to me, I kiss her on the forehead and whisper, “I love you so much.”
Then I close my eyes smiling, looking forward to wake up to a bright and sunshiney day.