Friday, April 30, 2010

The crying game

I have an older baby. Not a screaming newborn that only wakes to be fed but a baby that's passed her half-year milestone and is rolling across the floor madly trying to work out how to crawl. She spends her days babbling to her toys and watching her older siblings play.

But being an older baby means she has also worked something out: the ability to cry on cue. Yes all babies cry, it's instinctive. But I think tiny babies give it no thought. They cry to be fed, they drink up and then sleep. What is there to think about?!

But once they hit six months they suddenly cotton on to the 'crying game'. They realise that if they cry, their mum will come to the rescue. And then they like to exploit it. So they cry to be fed, they go back to their cots with a full belly and then they cry again. This time it's just for laughs. Just to see what mum will do. She'll probably try to feed again but the wise little baby is not hungry. Instead, this bub will kick, gurgle and smile at their ability to bring mum back to the room. So mum leaves and the baby begins to cry - sobbing just to bring mum back.

In my brief years of parenting three children, I've found that all babies do it at some point between five and eight months. They're just testing the limits - something they'll continue to do in other ways as they grow older.

With my youngest crying and bringing me back into the room, she's not only tested the limits, she's jumped on and flattened them. Now I'll have to teach her to sleep. She must realise that I'm the puppeteer pulling the strings around here and I'll dictate when she sleeps. '


It's overly ambitious isn't it?

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