There is not much you can do when your two-and-a-half-month-old is crying. Crying, not because she is hungry or needs a diaper change. Crying because she is tired, should be sleeping, but is fighting it with all of her tiny being. Ah, the sound. When my baby is crying, I want nothing in the world as much as I want her to be soothed, for the crying to stop. What usually does this for B when she is overtired and in denial about it, is for one of us to carry her around the apartment–constantly moving. Like a shark.
Jake can pull this off by laying the baby across his arm like she’s a football. I do not have such arm strength, and so usually have to wind her up in our Moby wrap, binding her to my torso. We walk, shimmie, sashay around the house. B cranes her neck out of the wrap to see all around. I will her to nod off, so I can, you know, fold some clothes or something. I have one hand free when she’s awake, but the other is occupied supporting her head and generally keeping her from wiggling right out of the wrap. It is best, I’ve found, if I just don’t think that I will be able to do anything else. I can’t sit or stand still, can’t cook, can’t go to the bathroom. Just move. And hum whatever song is stuck in my head. And meditate on how sometimes I have to just let go of my goals and walk my baby around.
The other day, though, I managed to sneak in some reading for one of my classes this semester. I swayed on the balcony of our second-story flat, letting a delicious breeze blow on B and I, as I read a couple of pages in “The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere” by Jurgen Habermas. “Aha!” I silently extolled, “I have it! This is how I can calm B *and* reach my goals!!”
No sooner had I luxuriated in this thought, when my precious angel woke suddenly from her doze, crying. As I fed her, I had to smirk at my goal-oriented self for 1) jumping at the chance to do homework and 2) thinking that I’d found a loophole, a way around the simple fact of monotasking with B. Just let it go, I’m constantly reminding myself. Let it be what it is: a dance around the house with your daughter.
I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing.