Lessons from my baby daughter #8.
Ahhhh blessed silence! Never a more precious commodity than when in short supply. And the supply is short right now, as any new parent will attest. It makes you do crazy things like tiptoe around the house, turn feral on the person who lets the door slam, commando crawl out of the nursery beneath the cot radar and lock yourself in the loo just to sit there for a while. Miss L is (mostly) sleeping through at night now and I am guilty of all of the above. My Friday night fantasy involves a freshly made bed, a dark room and 12 hours of peace and quiet.
Hubs and I have had a noisy six or so months. Actually, it really all started when we announced that Miss L, or Bug as we knew her then, was on the way. All of a sudden, everyone had something to say.
“You’re carrying low, it’s a boy for sure.”
It was a girl.
“Make sure you don’t eat (insert preferred food item).”
The recommendations change every decade or so, I ate what my body felt like it needed.
“You’d better not gain more than 12kg or you’ll never get it off.”
Well I did and I have (mostly).
“It’s so important for men to be involved in every stage.”
Um no, there was no way Hubs was going to be there for the stretch and sweep!
I’m not saying we didn’t appreciate the advice, but ultimately this was our baby and our home and our life. Now that our life has been spun on its head, the voices seem louder than ever. It almost feels like a funeral of sorts, where no one is quite sure what to say so they come out with sunshine and rainbows and cheery platitudes that sound as if they should be printed and framed. When the walls of your life are crumbling, there is no place to hang pretty pictures.
Miss L cries at night sometimes. For the past two weeks or so it has been almost every night, usually when Hubs and I are turning in ourselves or in the wee hours before the alarm clock goes off. The thing is, she doesn’t actually wake up. She has usually rolled over or kicked her blanket off or is in need of a reminder that we are still here. The worst thing I can do is go in, make shushing noises, talk to her or sing her back to sleep. I’ve made this mistake many times. All she wants is for me to fix the problem, turn her over, pull up the blanket and give her tummy a couple of pats. Less talk, more do.
I used to be full of a lot of pretty words and I used to pull them out in times of crisis. I don’t so much anymore. After our own crisis, I have realised that those in need aren’t comforted by what you say but rather by what you do. Don’t tell them you’re sorry or that life will look better soon or that time heals all wounds. Take them a meal, hold their crying baby, hang up their washing, clean their kitchen, pay that bill that is stuck on the fridge and do it quietly. They will hear your silence loud and clear.
“But he who restrains his lips is wise.”