Okay, okay hear- me out. I’m not a total MONSTER. I don’t actually WANT babies to cry. But let’s face it, ladies and gentlemen, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to make a baby cry. Actually, the mere fact of trying to get a baby to STOP crying will probably show you a million more ways to make them cry in the first place.
I think we have this idea as mothers- especially new mothers- that babies aren’t supposed to cry much. We’ve been trained to think that crying means something is wrong, and that it is our job to figure out and fix said thing, in order to get a baby to stop crying.
But if you’ve spent any amount of time with a newborn, you know there are other factors at play. Sometimes, despite our best of intentions and most tender loving care, we figure out how to make a baby cry- the hard way.
So for your reading pleasure, here are 10 ways to make a baby cry.
Ahhh, toddlers. That beautiful stage full of curiosity, enthusiasm, joy… And tantrums. And opinions. And energy. Allllll the energy.
If you’ve got a toddler, you know that it can be hard to keep them entertained. They want to do everything, but there’s still a lot of limitations to what they can do. Restaurants, road trips, flights, dinner parties at non-baby-proofed houses- it’s enough to strike fear into any parent’s heart.
But it doesn’t have to be that way (well, not ALL the time at least). We’re bringing you a collection of easy toddler busy bags and busy bags for babies for our Littlest Salties.
Ah the age old debate about whether you should find out your baby’s sex (and have a kickin’ gender reveal) before they’re born! There are two kinds of people in the world: The kind that think you’re absolutely insane if you don’t find out and, well, me.
That’s right, I’m team “Don’t Find Out!” And yes, it drives people crazy (but more on that later). Now, I’ve never been super into the argument that there are so few surprises in life – because it’s sort of a surprise no matter when you find out. And lest you think that I don’t know what I’m talking about, we actually did find out once, so I’ve lived both ways. And I can confidently say that should we go for #4, we won’t be finding out the sex.
As Moms we have a thousand “WTF just happened???” moments. Whether they happen in a kids play area with strangers or at our own family functions, we’re constantly exposed to other people’s opinions. It happens so often we need to become ducks and let that nonsense just roll off our back. Or we’d never make it. But some stories stick with us months later. And we just. can’t. let them go.
This is one of those.
This story starts as most annoying ones do….with me, minding my own business, trying to check out of a Target. Cart full of diapers and impulse purchases, Izzie in one arm the other just trying to scan my stuff so I could pay and get on my way.
Enter Nosy Lady of the Day:
Nosy: Cute baby. How old is he?
Yes, people call my baby a boy all the time. And they called my son a girl. Fun fact, I don’t really care. Especially when it’s a stranger in Target that I will never see again.
Me: 10 months.
Nosy: Is he crawling yet?
Me: Walking already actually.
Yes, I don’t correct these people about the baby’s sex if I can talk around it. It’s just not worth it. They either get all offended that I haven’t dressed my child appropriately enough to highlight this fact to them or feel really bad and are way more apologetic than would ever be necessary.
Also, she kinda looks like a boy. Because she’s a baby.
Nosy: What’s his name?
Dang it, now I gotta come clean…
Me: Oh, actually, uh, she’s a girl. Her name is Isabella.
Nosy: A girl. Do people assume she’s a boy a lot? Because of this hair?
At this point, she reached out and touched my babies head – which, NO – as if to show off the fact that she has a boy haircut.
Me: Um, I mean, it’s not like we cut it like that, she’s just a baby and her hair hasn’t grown in very much I guess.
Nosy: Hrmph. Well are you going to get her ears pierced at least?
Me: No? We don’t have any plans to get her ears pierced.
Nosy: Well then how are people going to tell she’s a girl?
Me: You know, she’s 10 months old. It doesn’t really seem to bother her when people assume she’s a boy….and it doesn’t bother us. So it seems a little extreme to get her ears pierced –
Nosy: Why’d you name her Isabella?
Me: We liked it.
Nosy: I hope it’s not after that stupid Twilight movie. You know the girl in that movie? Bella? Her real name was Isabella. Do you call her Bella? I hope you don’t call her Bella.
At this point she finally started to take the hint that she needed to leave me the F alone before I use my arm that wasn’t holding IsaBELLA – the non pierced, short haired, boy looking baby to slap the nosy right off her face. Because the truth is I was PISSED. I don’t care that you thought she was a boy. I don’t care that you think her name is stupid. I don’t care what you think about Twilight.
But I kinda care that you’re offended that I’m not going to pierce my baby to make you more comfortable. And I kinda care that you’re that hung up on if my baby is a boy or a girl. I kinda care that you think I’m doing such an unforgivable disservice to my children by not swathing them in an assigned color so that they can be CLEAR about their sex before their first birthday.
Because what does it really matter? To you, to society, to whomever? It’s a baby. Give her a minute to just BE a baby – instead of who you think she should be. As long as she doesn’t end up some rude lady bothering people in Target, I’ll be one happy Mama.
Yes, the internet is full of tips and advice for what NOT to say to a new Mom. Don’t give your advice on decisions she’s already thoughtfully made. Don’t tell her you once knew a girl in high school that was a total B that has the same name as her brand new perfect little baby. And of course say NOTHING about her appearance – except that she looks beautiful.
If you find yourself being one of those parents that’s maybe a tiny bit smug? (She says with authority, because, confession – she’s been there) You’re in luck. I have the cure for you! It’s one simple step. Ready for this:
Have another kid.
That’s it. If that still doesn’t work. Try this:
Repeat step 1.
See, once upon a time, my husband and I thought we had it figured out. We had this sweet, perfect little baby that did miraculous things like sleep through the night, happily took a pacifier, let everyone hold him, was content in the Ergo, delighted at trying all my homemade purees, and was just SO. DAMN. EASYGOING. People would somewhat jokingly ask, “What’s your secret?” Chad, taking this very seriously would start talking about routines and the importance of establishing good habits young. If I was within earshot I would launch myself into the conversation shouting, “LUCKY! We got very, very lucky, we did NOTHING, he’s magical!”
See before Cole was born, I had seventeen nieces and nephews. And I’d spent a LOT of time around them all. I knew their tricks. And I KNEW that babies were born with a baseline. They were good sleepers or they weren’t. They took pacifiers or they didn’t. They ate lots of foods or they didn’t. And YES, what you did as a parent could move them up a notch or two from their baseline, but you couldn’t totally change a kid that hated sleep and got up for the day at 4:45 into one that fell asleep in 2.5 minutes, slept 12 hours and would be chill until you were good and ready to get up too.
More importantly, I knew that we wanted to have another, and that the Baby Gods will smite you good if you get too smug. So every time Chad boasted our parenting skills as the reason our baby was so good I feared for our fate.
Sure enough, Evie was born. And remember all those badass parenting skills? Well wouldn’t you know it, they did JACK for our baby girl. No routine in the world could get her to sleep through the night. She flatly refused bottles, meaning she was basically permanently attached to her exhausted Mom. She gagged on all purees and decided it would be more fun to only accept giant, chunky solids, stressing us out every step of the way. She wanted NO ONE except Mommy, not even her Father for a good while. Holding her was a process far more complicated than tying a MobyWrap or folding a fitted bed sheet. She was So. Damn. Particular. She wanted to be held by me, except when she wanted to sleep at which time she wanted to NOT be held, but she wanted to swing and she wanted a blanket on her face JUST so (but of course it had to be monitored and moved when she fell asleep) and on and on and on.
It was like starting completely from scratch. We accepted that we had no role in our son’s excellence as a baby and took no blame for our daughter being such a bitch challenge.
Then, we had our newest baby, Izzie. She’s so freaking pleasant. She wakes up with a smile on her face every day. She doesn’t sleep or take a bottle. She loves to be passed around and held. She freaks out within seconds of pooping demanding that she be changed immediately. She’ll snuggle into you and make you want a thousand babies because she’s so incredibly sweet. But everyday we’re learning more about her developing personality – often trying to ascribe her characteristics to either her big brother or big sister. But everyday is a reminder that she’s not just like Cole, or just like Evie, but is Izzie. A whole new person we have to figure out.
And just when we start to get cocky, she does something new to remind us that no matter how many kids we have, we still may have no freaking clue what we’re doing.
This week is World Breastfeeding Week, and as the Salty Mama that’s still attached to a person several times a day, I figured it was my civic duty to weigh in.
I’m almost 10 months into breastfeeding Izzie, and on paper I’m a Gold Star Breastfeeder. She feeds on demand and often, has never had formula and never taken a bottle (except for one weekend when she finally gave in, but that’s a story for another day). Basically I’m waiting for La Leche League to give me some sort of trophy.
The community that has been built around positive breastfeeding messaging in America recently is an awesome and powerful one. Once, when Evie was nearing a year, I was sitting at the kid’s swim lesson feeding her. A Mom sat down next to me with her child and struck up a conversation. She also began to nurse her baby and we exchanged baby stats. Evie was a big healthy baby, and this woman immediately started in on how it was all due to my hearty breastmilk. Our strong bond due to our physical connection through nursing. Basically all of my child’s positive attributes existed because of the way I chose to feed her. As a person currently breastfeeding a baby, those statements were a booster shot to the heart telling you you’re doing a great thing. What an ego boost! Hell yeah, my body not just created a person but is now basically making her super-human! If she gets good grades? My breast milk made her a genius. If she excels in sports? Literal Muscle Milk! I was basically raising an Olympic bound future Harvard graduate.
But there’s a flip side to this messaging.
One that I lived through with my son. My firstborn was almost 9 ½ pounds when he was born. And he was HUNGRY. And I tried, oh how I tried, to feed him. The first few days went well. He latched like a natural in the hospital and seemed to be happy. I left with all the confidence that I was going to do everything right. But when we got home it all went to hell. No amount of “help” actually helped. I had a lactation consultant berate me for “doing it wrong” while offering nothing constructive and better ones that told me I just had to keep trying, my milk would come in. By day 4 or 5 he was unhappy and hungry all the time, so I started pumping. For weeks, I was either trying to feed him or pumping around the clock. I spent so much time pumping and trying to make sure he had enough food that I feel like I actually missed some of his first days. I was exhausted – far beyond what I experienced with my daughters, who were by all measures “worse” sleepers and bigger criers – and felt like I couldn’t function. I watched other people feeding him the bottles that I worked so incredibly hard for.
After engaging in this battle for what felt like a lifetime, but was really about eight weeks, my husband finally intervened. “This is ridiculous. I’m getting formula. You’re both miserable.” In the moment, it was a stab in the heart. I was not ready to admit defeat. But I had to admit that he was right. We were miserable. On the one hand the idea of just enjoying my baby was such an intoxicating one. I could know that he was getting enough food. I could relax and snuggle with him without him straining against me trying to eat and being devastated when it didn’t work. I could be happy. But in the not so back of my head I heard the chorus of people that aren’t just pro-breastfeeding, but anti-anything else. “Formula is poison.” “You’ll never bond with your baby.” And of course, “Breast is Best.” But I was desperate. Anything was worth a try.
Four years later I so appreciate my husband stepping in and taking the reins. My son is so happy and healthy and beyond bonded to me, and if anything, formula saved us. Because breastfeeding just. Wasn’t. Working. And that’s okay. It doesn’t make me a bad Mother. It doesn’t mean I don’t want the best for my kids. It sure as hell doesn’t mean I don’t love my kids. And the people that want to insinuate that in the name of Breastfeeding Awareness need to try to take a walk in the shoes of those of us that tried and failed.
Because as I roam around my Mommy-sphere of the internet, I can’t help but see over and over and over again that mantra “Breast is Best.” While this phrase may be full of empowerment to those that are breastfeeding, it can also be a soul crushing phrase to those who – for whatever reason – made the decision, or had the decision made for them, to not breastfeed.
I know it was for me.
So I guess what I want to contribute to Breastfeeding Awareness Week is this: Be aware of all the absolutely wonderful reasons to breastfeed. Be aware of all the reasons that some people may not be able to breastfeed. Be aware of all the completely valid reasons someone may choose to not breastfeed. And then support each other. Because at the end of the day, YOU are best for your kid. YOU are what keeps them healthy and happy and all the wonderful things we strive so hard for.
Yesterday you got to meet Jaymi’s little ones, and I know what you’re thinking: mic drop stuff. Trust me, I know. I love that little sassafras and my meatball like they were my own. It’s one of the many benefits of knowing someone’s kids basically since they were covered in vernix. (Too far? Sorry. But true). But ladies and gentledads, don’t write off the rest of the Salties just yet. Mine are kinda badass too.
So, without further adieu, I’d like you to meet my three: Cole, Evie and Izzie.
Cole. Holy moly, where to start with Cole? Honestly, I’m not even sure.
Here’s the thing…I was actually supposed to be the one to post yesterday, but for the life of me I COULD NOT FIGURE OUT HOW TO DESCRIBE COLE. So you know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? Here’s a picture that might help:
This wasn’t something special. This was just like a Tuesday. He’s a performer that just wants to entertain and make people laugh. And damned if he doesn’t succeed every time. He loves to play in the dirt with toy dinosaurs and touches ALL the bugs, building them habitats and taking care of them like beloved pets. He also likes to wear costumes, sing, dance and get his nails painted. When you think you have him figured out, he will throw you a fastball. Oh yeah, he’s also like REALLY good at ball sports despite my great desire to never attend a little league baseball game. He’s also a really, REALLY good big brother, which is probably one of my favorite things about him. Also, dimples.
Evie. My little Grumpy Cat. This girl was born with a scowl on her face and a naughty twinkle in her eye. Sometimes I feel like I’m in physical pain because of how cute she is and the rest of the time she is driving me nuts. I’m pretty sure she’s the former out of necessity of the latter. She’s very particular and knows what she wants. I have high hopes that this will serve her well as a young woman, despite being utter hell for her Mama during the toddler years. She loves to play in the dirt while wearing a dress and “farkle jelly shoes.” (See picture above). She’s lightened up considerably in her short two years, and now spends most of her time striving to be as silly as her brother. And she’s giving him a run for his money.
Izzie. My little Love Nugget. She is leaps and bounds more snuggly than any of my other kids. I had high hopes that she was also going to be my most well-behaved child, but then she stared at me in the eyes and took two steps. The week she turned 9 months. So I’m pretty sure she’s decided to defect and join the Bigs in their attempts at mutiny. At least after playing she always wants to come back to snuggle with Mama. She pretends to be shy, but loves anyone and everyone. She has stinky little feet, an ear piercing squeal, and thinks sleeping more than two hours at a time is for losers. But we love her anyway.