Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"Cry it out" Toddler edition

Usually the term "cry it out" is used to refer to infants being put in a crib by themselves for the first time. Some mommies practice the "cry it out" philosophy; some are opposed to it. (It's a philosophy. Hee hee. Parenting communities have turned the method by which one gets a baby acclimated to a crib into a philosophy. We're so nuts.)

I don't know anything about that.

What I do know is that AwesomeCloud cried for seven minutes straight when I told him he had to eat the old yogurt before I would open the new yogurt. I timed him.

I've sometimes been known to scold him when he's having an unnecessary crying jag. But it occurred to me that I don't know what scolding is supposed to accomplish. Actually, he does sometimes quiet down when I shush him. But it takes a whole lot of shushing, so maybe it's not the shushing per se but the amount of time I spend shushing him that matters.

Anyway, I thought that maybe standing there and waiting patiently would be a good thing to do. Maybe it was Zehlahlum Family's influence. If you want to read a blog that's more upfront about the trials of adoption, hers is tons better than mine. And also, some of her latest adventures have inspired me to try out the passive, nonreactive approach. It's so easy to say, "I believe in not reacting - I'm the parent, after all. I should be establishing the tone in this family." Shockingly, it doesn't work like that for very long. The moments during which you own your behavior become shorter and shorter, and the moments when you get inextricably caught up in the drama grow longer and longer, turning into weeks and months.

Zehlahlum says she's going to own her own behavior again, and I guess I'm kinda digging the idea too.

Because when you're chronically exhausted all day and barely have energy to accomplish 1/4 of the things you have planned each day, standing there passively and emotionlessly is a lot easier than scolding and shushing. Kids are gonna have bad behavior. Some kids have more bad behavior than others, but they all have some. So? Just intervene if the kid looks like he wants to strike the cat or smash a glass, or stab at the wall with a Sharpie, or whatever. Barring that, just wait. Cloud and I don't both have to work ourselves up.

Besides, maybe he doesn't actually like to be shushed. Maybe it only annoys him more on top of whatever else has offended him. I know it would annoy me.


  1. Jamey's a personal friend of mine, and she is exactly how she portrays herself on her blog. You can't get more real than her. Just thought you'd want to know that.

  2. Off to read that blog! Just stepping over my tantrummer and getting on with it is doing wonders fir us. Wish I'd figured it out a year ago!