I’ve bragged in the column how my son is easygoing. This doesn’t mean he never cries. He can let out pterodactyl-like screams that would scare away bears. When Everett does cry, he does an A+ job. Not that I’m ready to give him any prizes when his cry fests are going on. But the real tough part about a baby crying is trying to figure out why he is crying. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I have implemented some strategies that have helped me figure out his reason for crying so that I can then solve it.
I’ve got a crying Everett on my hands. The first thing I do is makes sure he is clothed. He hasn’t reached that stage in his life where he has embraced the naked or even the pantless.
Now, if he is clothed but still crying, then I check to see where he is. Is he in his crib or on a couch or in any places that isn’t my arms? If he is, then I pick him up for a good cuddle. I also tell him some stories and serenade him with a few songs (the fact he enjoys my singing voice makes me fear my son is tone deaf). Everett will entertain himself lying down or on his play mat, but after a while, it is just time for some good fashioned cuddles. Everett really likes his visits.
Is Everett still crying despite being in the arms of his dad or mom? Well, then I check to see if his head is whipping back and forth while his mouth is wide open. This is known as the notorious “rooting.” This is when he hopes a breast will appear out of thin air and provide him dinner.
But what if he isn’t rooting? Well, is his face turning beet red or does it look like he is concentrating heavily? He might be creating a special surprise for me. Or maybe the problem is he has already made this surprise, and he wants me to collect it right this moment.
Is the diaper clean, yet he still is one unhappy baby? Well, this is when I start the burping exercises. Sometimes I sit him up on my lap and start to part his back; other times I lay his head against my shoulder and do the back patting in that position.
Maybe he doesn’t need to burp, and yet he is still crying up a storm. What could it possibly be now? Well, this is when I assume he must be overly tired, but he is struggling to fall asleep without assistance. This is the stage where I try holding him in different positions, start to sing a few songs, and gently rock him while I walk. Usually, he will fall asleep, and eventually, be in deep enough sleep so I can lay him down to sleep.
But what if he is still crying? Oh, well I pass him off to mommy and go do something else, of course.