Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why I Call My Baby Names

No one likes a screaming baby. Of course, I love my son. But no matter how much you may love your little one, their screaming and crying will be frustrating and stressful. I’ve had my fair share of tears (my own) because of a baby that would not stop crying. Caring for a fussy baby is challenging and nothing like I ever expected. The first few months are the hardest (especially if you’re baby has colic, which usually goes away after 3 months). Dealing with an upset baby can leave you physically and emotionally exhausted and make you isolate yourself from the outside world. From day one though, I found something that works (most of the time) to calm myself down and make dealing with my boy when he’s upset a little easier. I call him names.

When he’s fussing, I refer to him as “Mr. Fussy,” “Grumpy boy,” “Fussy Britches,” or “Fussy Pants.” (What did you think I meant??) I think it’s important to maintain a sense of humor as a parent, even (especially!) in situations that really test you. It’s easy to become angry and resentful because of the crying – especially when you’re sleep deprived. Calling my 3-month-old lighthearted, humorous names helps me not become too serious and stressed out when he’s reaching pitches I previously thought could only be heard by dogs.

It’s not as if the little guy is fussing just to grate my nerves. Babies are not vindictive or manipulative. (Manipulation doesn’t really come into play until they’re 2 or 3 years old!) So it’s hard to stay mad at him, especially if I’m goofing around and poking a little fun at him. This isn’t to say that I’m completely unfazed by his screaming. On the contrary, just like any sane adult, the screaming still stresses me out. It’s meant to. We are programmed to respond to a baby crying, and biology decided that we would best care for a baby and calm them down if their fussing raised our blood pressure.

Also, keeping a sense of humor in situations like that mean that I don’t look as stressed out. Once a baby reaches 6-8 weeks of age, they’ll be able to clearly see your face from about a foot away. They’ll start responding to your facial expressions and feeding off of your mood and behavior. It’s hard to calm down when the person you’re staring at looks just as upset as you! So, when my boy is doing his worst, I put on my happiest face and coo, “Who’s my fussy boy? You’re such a Mr. Grumpy Gills!”

Please note though, that if you find yourself becoming angry and stressed to the max, it is okay to put your baby down for a few minutes and walk away to take a breather. I promise, he’ll be fine (he may even surprise you and calm himself down!). You never want to put yourself in a situation where you may do something you’ll later regret. If you find yourself fearing you may cause your baby harm, please get help. Walk away, get your partner, or call someone to talk. 

Note Feb 04 2016: This post was originally published online at Family Culture Magazine, but it seems to no longer be active. I previously had only a snippet here on my blog, but because the link to the full article was defunct, you can now read the whole thing right here at Prego to Legos!

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