25 March 2014, by Evelyn Tan
Woah! It’s been a while since I the last blog and I know you know the reason: Looking after Elliott!
He’s now 4 months old already and after a four-year hiatus from parenting a new baby, I am glad to announce that my skills of looking after one has not diminished! If anything else, it has seemingly ‘improved’ (the credit doesn’t go to me though) , because finally I have a ‘textbook’ baby!
Recalling how it had been with my very first child, Kristen being such a fussy baby (partly also because she was conditioned to be so, being the first grandchild from both sides), I had berated myself for not having done more ‘homework’ on possible issues that may crop up in the course of taking care of her.
I had assumed that when babies were hungry, they would cry and all I had to do was just feed, right? Wrong! Or when they were tired they’d just go to sleep, right? Wrong again! How deluded I was! I soon found out that Kristen just cried , whether it was because she was hungry, lonely, cold, hot, dirty, sleepy (the list went on)……. For a newbie mother eager to care for her child in the most loving way she could but struggling badly from a lack of sleep, I can only say that my first experience of looking after a baby had been ‘terribly’ joyful.
So imagine how thankful I felt when Elliott ascribes to a certain pattern of falling sleeping after being patted in an upright position! In fact he will actually quieten down when I sing to him. This time round, the experience is just joyful!
For example, recently we went to cycle by the beach at East Coast Park and forgetful me forgot to bring along my diaper bag and Elliott did his day’s biggest ever ‘business’ just as we arrived at the beach . Thankfully we were near Polliwogs and the kind people there spared me some wipes and a diaper and we changed him on a ‘makeshift ‘ changing mat — head rest: bread we had packed for breakfast that day and mat: plastic bag that was holding our water bottles. Maybe it was the nonchalance that we went about handling the situation. Elliott was pretty cool about it too and didn’t cry until he had to lie on the plastic bag that was obviously too thin for his liking.
Comparing how things are now with how they had been when I first became mum, I must say I am definitely more relaxed and less hard on myself when things don’t go my way. I am even willing to let Elliott cry it out for awhile after whatever I do does not seem to help stop his crying in any way! And sure enough after a while he’ll stop; These days, he’s even figured out a way to calm himself — sucking his fingers!
Nature ? Or nurture ? I have often asked myself. I believe it’s both. Babies are smart even from the first day and if they could have it their way , they will lead you to giving them what they want, but because of our situation at home right now where there’s just two pairs of (adults) hands (and occasional children’s hands — Elliott’s older siblings) , Elliott has learnt to self-sooth and even self -entertain at a very young age! Well, they say 3 is a ‘crowd’ (at least my first three kids felt like one!) but with Elliott being this good-natured , I don’t foresee we’ll be turning into a market place; not just yet, at least ………. 😉