By Cheryl Bac
Now Everyone is CryingUploaded: Nov 8, 2014
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.