My mom has always said about babies that it gets so much easier when they can just tell you what they want. Obviously that makes sense in my brain but I’ve been feeling it much more acutely lately, as Henry is getting older and starting to have stronger opinions. And when you’ve got a little one who’s clearly trying to tell you something but you have no idea what, parenting starts to feel like one majestically long, magnificently orchestrated guessing game.
Take Hank this week, for example. I submit to you Exhibit A: A 5-month-old, slightly fussy (which is unusual), with suddenly short naps, putting everything in his mouth, drooling all over the joint, grabbing only his left ear, a stuffy nose, and only interested in nursing on one side. Ready, guess, go! Teething? Head cold? Ready for more solids? Reflux meds not working any more? Developmental leaps getting him all cranky? Bad reaction to me trying to add cheese back into my diet?
See what I mean? It’s like being a detective! How in the world are you supposed to know if he’s grabbing his ear because his teeth hurt, or his ear hurts, or he’s sleepy, or he just happened to find his ear and liked how it felt? You’ve got to make this extensive flow chart inside of your brain that cross references all the other symptoms and puts it all together and spits out the right answer to try to help your tiny person. All while little dude is looking into your eyes and just begging for help. Ouchie, my heart.
Truth be told, Henry is a peach. An absolute peach. He’s a chill, happy little sweetie and the challenges we have had with him most likely pale in comparison to what some parents go through with their kiddos. We’re just in a tiny little bumpy patch and I recognize that. But none of that makes it any easier when we’re all just trying to do right by our own tiny people. And if, as a parent, you’re having an off day, the guessing game can really get to you! It’s times like those that I’m so thankful that Ryan is on my team — because where one of us stumbles, the other one picks up and carries on.
Any mamas (or dads!) out there feelin’ me? Have you been playing the guessing game with your little people? Someone with older kids please tell me how wonderful it is when they can use words to communicate! (And by the way, any baby whisperers out there know how to tell when your kid is teething?) xoxo