Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Klingon Attack!

It's been so long since the big kids were babies that I sometimes forget what that was like. In a way, it makes things all kind of new with our baby. I do remember that my son, my firstborn, was just the chillest, most patient baby ever. Hardly ever cried. Never threw tantrums. He kind of spoiled me for what came next. Even through those difficult second and third years, I don't recall any terrible behavior or acting out with him. At worst, he would get on a "NO" streak for a minute, but usually a strong look with the people's eyebrow like The Rock was enough to get him back in line.

My daughter, on the other hand, was not a quiet baby. Like her brother, she was never one for tantrums, but her normal crying volume was quite loud. Like incredibly loud. The kind of loud crying that sounds like it's coming from inside your own head, centered between your ears, and seems to go on somehow even after the baby has actual stopped crying. There were never any moments of flopping in the grocery store or screaming and fighting in Target, it was just that she only had two levels of sound. It was either cute, bubbly, pleasant baby or top of the lungs screaming as if her leg was broken baby. 

It looked like the baby was going to find her spot right in the middle of her brother and sister - not the laid back, no rush, "I could use a change" style of her brother, but not the over the top, bloody murder, "I just pooped, why am I still wearing this diaper" style of her sister. She had a really good groove going. If she cried, we knew that something was actually wrong, and her cries had meaning and import to them. We could really determine the threat level by the tone of the crying.

And then things suddenly changed.

About a month or so ago, the baby started developing this really bad habit of bursting into tears for EVERYTHING. Anytime something didn't go her way, or she didn't get what she wanted, or even if she just had to wait, she would turn on the water works. We dealt with this by speaking firmly to her about using her words, especially because she really is so verbal. Just when she starts making some real progress in that department, all of a sudden she turns into the clingiest child ever. And only for her mother. If she gets home and her mom isn't there just yet, it's tears. If mom isn't the one giving her a bath, or putting her to bed, it's tears. If I wasn't so rational and manly, this would probably hurt my feelings. It's like having a whole different child suddenly, like some kind of changeling that the fairies switched with ours. For the first time that I can remember, I'm having to deal with the flops and the tantrums, and it's really strange to me. I can't lie. There's a small part of me that's tempted to let her have her way and make mommy do all the work. It's a really small part, though.

And I'm aware that I exaggerate sometimes for the sake of narrative effect, but I swear that it's not uncommon these days to see MyTy walking through the house with a 39-inch tall sloth wrapped around her leg or dragging behind her.

I've been trying to track down the cause of it, to figure out if there was any change in the home or at school that might cause her to be so clingy. There was an out of town trip a month ago, just the two of them, so maybe she got too used to all of that alone time. Also, school is over, and our schedules have changed a bit. Maybe she is getting confused or thrown off by the fact that she's waking up later and seeing less of mommy in the morning or afternoon. Is it possible that this is just a thing that babies go through? And maybe I either got lucky the first time around or I'm just repressing the memory of it?

Until we figure it out, if we ever do, we're just going to continue to use equal parts of reassurance and firmness. We can make sure that the baby gets a little extra focused snuggle time with mommy to try to appease the clingy monster in her, but then also enforce the schedules and parental roles in the house so that mommy doesn't get burned out and baby understands that she can't always have her way. Keeping fingers crossed at all times, of course.

In case that doesn't work, I'm looking at constructing an extra large baby carrier harness that can accommodate a 35 pound child. It might sound like a physical burden for MyTy, but then I'm told that weight training for women is great for increasing bone density.

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