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When It’s Okay For Your Child to Cry
When I was pregnant with Big Girl, I used to scour the internet reading articles on parenting and crying. Some words that I typed in were, when it’s okay for your child to cry? When is it not okay for your child to cry. I had read so many articles and talked to so many moms that were pro-cry it out that I decided adamantly in my heart that I would not let my children cry. Ever! You are probably laughing, as you think about how unrealistic that actually is! But for the first year of Big Girl’s life she rarely cried and only let out a peep when she needed something. I was always there for her, I always had her back. I did let her cry it out once, when I folded to peer pressure… it was bad news. Did you miss the post? You can read it here!!
But momma, I was fooling myself about my children never crying when another baby came along, and then another!! There is no way to keep everyone calm all the time and sometimes babies and kids cry because they are just plain mad or upset. This is where Curly Girl comes in. As a baby again I tried to respond readily to all her needs and wants, and the same with babykins. But Curly Girl definitely has a stubborn streak, like her momma!!, and when she wants something. She wants it and there is no way of joking her out of her mood once she goes there.
So, imagine my horror when our su-su fairy idea ended up in 3 hours of straight heart wrenching sobs…
Oh you missed that post?? You can read that one here!!
Now I have to be honest after the second night I felt like I had broken poor Curly Girl. She had cried for three hours straight. She was so heartbroken that her beloved su su was gone. And that pain left me questioning if I had made the wrong choice in having the su su fairy come. The what ifs started to come. And I began to doubt myself. And my parenting.
The What If’s…
What if I just waited until she was older. What if I just cut a little of the tip off at a time for the next couple of days, so she didn’t cry. What if I made the wrong choice. What if I totally made the wrong mistake? What if this scarred her?
I hate seeing or hearing my babies cry and so when I dealt with the inconsolable crying I was devastated. I just felt so helpless. And I made a vow that if I were ever to have another baby ever again I will NEVER EVER give them another soother. I will be the human pacifier if I have to but I will not live through the heartbreak of having to wean another little off a soother.
In my daughter’s eyes, she had learned something valuable!!
However, in the midst of my questioning, my regretting, my hurting, and my doubting a miraculous thing happened last night. As we laid down together Curly Girl looked over at me, “mommy, su-su?” It was a conversation I had had many times each night with her. So the words rolled off my tongue, “sorry baby, I don’t have any more su-sus. The soother fairy came to take them for the new babies who need them.” She was quiet for a moment and then with an unmistakable pride in her voice she replied back “I share, I share!!”
And it was then that I realized that sometimes in the heart of the moment despite her anger and disappointment and heartbreak that she no longer had her su-su that she had been brave and courageous. Before taking away that soother I never would have associated a little with being brave over something to be seen as so trivial as giving up a soother. But, for Curly Girl that su-su meant the world. It was her comfort, her security, her object that she loved and relied on when things were going rough. I tucked away her su-su to place in a shadow box for when she is older because of what it now represents. But I truly learned such a valuable lesson. That sometimes when our babies cry for a long time, that we don’t have to always try to fix it.
So, when is it okay for our littles to cry??
Whenever they need to! As mommas, we don’t get to decide or say it’s okay now but not when we are out in public or whatever… Really, we don’t have to shut our littles down and tell them to stop. We don’t have to be frightened that we broke our child because they cried. Because you haven’t!! Crying is only bad for brain development when you leave your child multiple times crying on their own and not comforting them or reassuring them that you are there!!
I have thought of it afterwards, and have asked myself the question. What if I was never allowed to cry?? And I couldn’t imagine having to bottle up all the hurt, pain, disappointment, fear and uncertainty. Crying is actually healthy!! We need to allow our babes to feel those feels and be there as a source of comfort. As mommas, we need to love them and support them because at the end of the day our voice becomes their inner voice.
I share, I share!!
Hearing a 2 year old state with pride that she shared is a feeling of accomplishment that will never leave her. She was empowered and so was I. I now know that it’s okay to cry. And I didn’t break my child!! So if you are feeling like you have broken your child, I invite you to take a moment and place yourself in your babe’s shoes. What would you want someone to say or do for you in this time? Most of the time when I ask myself this question, the answer comes back as I just want to feel loved and accepted. So let your baby cry when they are having a hard day. Let them feel their feels without feeling chastised or you as a momma feeling anxiety and mommy guilt that you have done something wrong!!
Because oh puh-lease!! You’ve got this momma!!