Though I studied and researched nearly every aspect of parenthood prior to the arrival of my son, it is impossible to prepare for certain aspects of this journey. I knew I would love my offspring; I just couldn't imagine how deeply I would love my baby. I knew that the early days with a newborn would be tough; but I had no idea how exhausting it is to nurse every 1 1/2 hours for nearly five months. I knew that I'd be bothered by my baby's tears; I didn't know that hearing my baby cry would set an alarm to ring throughout my body.
I don't know if it's biological or psychological because I'm not that smart, but my heart races and my head pounds whenever my baby cries. I have trouble thinking straight when I hear him sobbing. I have wept while he's crying on more than one occassion because it hurts me to see him hurting. My only instinct is to pick him up and cuddle him close whenever he has real tears.
I don't overreact if he falls down, bumps his head, or if he whines a little. I usually don't react at all besides telling him he's okay and to walk it off. Otherwise I'd be cuddling him all day long. . .I've got a busy little guy and he's constantly bumping into things.
But real tears are something very different, as every parent knows. Real tears signify real pain. The pain doesn't even have to be physical. I think babies can suffer emotionally and every now & then my son cries for no discernable reason. I assume that he's crying then because he needs some loving assurance that we're there for him - whenever he needs us.
Hearing a child cry used to make me insane before I had my son. Only then my problem was that the parents weren't keeping their kid quiet. I'd look at the family in the next booth at a restaurant and used to wonder what was that squaling brat's problem. Yes, I was the childless woman who had zero sympathy for their problem and would glare until they left so I could enjoy my meal without further interruption.
I thought my own baby crying would be an annoyance, something that was ruining my good time. I didn't realize how my son's sadness or hurt would make me feel. There is nothing that feels more like a stab in the heart than seeing your own baby's pain and tears.
My attitude has changed. I feel sorry for the parents if I hear a crying kid in a restaurant these days. I figure that they want a fun time out too and they don't want their kid to mess up their meal either. I feel bad mostly because I've had my share of meals that were cut short because either my husband or I had to take the baby outside.
I've learned tenderness through my son's tears.