How delightful that we have entered the next phase of communication with verbal words. “Uh-oh” is Tucker’s favorite word – really quite a useful term when you are a toddler. He has also mastered several important “B” words: Boo, Book, Ball, Bowl, Ba (Bobby). Tucker sometimes has “Oh-no” and “Ah-no.” The latter means No, but in a very kind gentle way. (I guess the emphatic NO!! will come later). And one of Tucker’s first words was “thereitis” (there it is). This phrase is due to his best buddy, Lukas, who comes with the Nanny to play with Tucker each day. Lukas is 2 and says “There it is” all the time! Tucker also likes to say “shoes” and “cheese.”
Tucker is still using some of his signs to communicate as well. For example, the other night I wanted to put on his pajamas and said “come over here, please” in my stern Mommy voice. Tucker’s responded by signing “please” for the first time. Of course this was so adorable I had to laugh and no more stern Mommy after that!
I saw a Facebook post this week from a mother who was asking advice about her 9 month old who she described as spoiled because the baby cries every time she is put down. There were over 75 comments in response with a variety of opinions ranging from “let her cry” to “carry her around all the time.” Unfortunately, some of the respondents began attacking each other. Mothering is very challenging and every baby is different. So, my first thought was that the last thing we need to do as mothers is criticize each other.
I’m fortunate in that Tucker only “cries when put down” if he is hungry, or sometimes when he is sleeping. For me, the key is to remember that a baby’s brain is still fundamentally afraid of predators. So whether asleep or awake, the baby knows instinctually that being held by someone means safety. Of course, there are no wolves or tigers lurking in the living room – but the primitive part of an infant’s brain doesn’t know that. While some parents are quick to attribute infant behavior as willful or spoiled, I find it helpful to remember that a lot of infant/toddler behavior is actually biologically based.
My perception is that the predominant culture in American believes a “good mother” is able to put her baby to bed on his/her own. I was happy to see that a lot of the mothers on this Facebook post were objecting to CIO (cry it out) and citing research on the detrimental effects. I have friends who used CIO successfully and are happy with the results. I know other parents who sleep with their babies but keep it a secret out of fear of judgment. Personally, I have chosen to help Tucker fall asleep at night. I have no doubt that by the time he goes off to college, Tucker will know how to put himself to sleep. And in the meantime, he is only 1 year old, and if that means he needs to be rocked or held, then I am happy to help him. Moms and Dads and Babies are all doing the best they can and whatever works for their individual situations. May we all have sweet, sweet dreams until morning.