Confession time: When I was 20, I spent the summer living in a small apartment complex in my hometown. One night, a child in a nearby apartment cried for hours and HOURS. Believing (foolishly, as a childless 20-year-old would) that NO child would cry so long if properly cared for, I eventually called the police to report suspected child neglect. Not long after the call I heard the neighbor laughing with the police. The child continued to cry. I was baffled.
Well, now that I have two kids, I would like to formally apologize to those neighbors. I am truly sorry for my ignorance in the matters of crying children. It is clear to me that the neighbors either had a colicky infant, a teething toddler, or a stubborn pre-schooler, because in my experience all of the above can cry for unreasonable periods of time. Obviously, the officer who responded to the call was an experienced parent, hence the laughter. I hope that the incident is now an amusing anecdote (“John once cried for so long the neighbors called the police, hahaha!”) and was not traumatic to the probably sleep-deprived parents at the time.
As I type this, Caveman is in his room, screaming. We have been having problems getting him settled down for naps and bedtime lately (and diaper changes, and meals), so I devised a new strategy: if he would like to read stories before nap, he needs to select his books and get into his bed by the time I finish closing his blinds and curtains. If he does not do this, I will put him in bed, give him a kiss on his bright red tear-stained cheek, turn out the light, and leave the room without reading stories.
Any guesses about the results of this experiment?
I do not know what is different, but Caveman’s cry GRATES on my nerves. Princess could cry that “I’m not getting what I want” cry and I could ignore it happily, but Caveman’s cry drives me UP THE WALL. Which is probably why he cries whenever he doesn’t get his way. It is time for me to toughen up and stop placating him to avoid the cry.
In my head, I know that if I don’t stop placating him, I will pay an enormous price in terms of his behavior for the rest of my life. I KNOW I have to buckle down. He’s just so darned persistent. However, it is time.
Really. I’m going to do it.
I hope my neighbors don’t call the police.