By Cheryl Bac
E-mail Cheryl Bac
About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl... (More)
About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons including Chicago and Boston. Exercise is an integral part of my life. I hope to one day go back to long distance running and tackle the New York City Marathon. Right now I run after my one year old son. Although I am a stay-at-home mom, we are rarely "at home." My mom also stayed at home with my brother and me. She warned me that, although rewarding, it can be isolating. So, with her help, I learned the importance of getting out into the community and meeting other mothers. On the rare occasion when I am at home and have a hand or two free, I squeeze in time to scrapbook. As a new mom, many challenges are thrown my way. I hope my opinions, triumphs, and struggles help experienced parents reminisce, new parents cope, and parents-to-be get an honest glimpse of what the first years of motherhood can entail. (Hide)
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Like many kids in the Bay Area, our son and daughter share a room. When I was pregnant, we were concerned that our son wouldn't be able to sleep through baby's nighttime cries. It can be challenging enough to get a baby back to sleep in the middle of the night. Adding a toddler to the mix sounded overwhelming. Luckily, at least so far, our son has been able to sleep through her nighttime waking.
Nevertheless, we've had our fair share of both kids crying at once. Sometimes it was because both had unmet needs...he was thirsty and she needed to be fed. And other times our toddler cried immediately after baby started. The first few times this happened I was puzzled. Did he want attention? Was he jealous? Worried? Confused? Empathetic?
My heart sank hearing my two kids crying. So I mentally ran through all of the advice I'd read/heard while pregnant. I tried explaining that his sister wasn't hurt. That she cried to communicate with me. That it must be tough when I can't give him my full attention. After a couple of failed attempts, I was running out of ideas. So I decided to just ask him why he was crying. He immediately stopped. And matter-of-factly stated "Now everyone is crying!"
Once I had a better understanding of what was going through his head, it was so much easier to switch his interest from crying to a more helpful behavior (bringing her a lovey, pacifier, blanket etc).
You can read and listen to all the parenting advice out there. But, at the end of the day, what matters is what is actually going on in your own toddler's mind. However simple this thought was, I feel extremely lucky that my toddler was able and willing to share it with me. The next time I am puzzled as a parent, I hope I first turn to my toddler and ask questions before turning to others for advice.