How to Make Your Baby Cry

A quick lesson in how to make your 7-month-old scream in terror, and cry great sobs:

  • Take a shower.
  • Emerge from a shower with wet hair.
  • Wrap a towel around your wet hair.
  • Leave her sight for any period of time.
  • Turn your back on her and walk in another direction.
  • Wear something with a hood.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Pin your bangs back out of your eyes.

I feel like SUCH a horrible mom. But I HAVE to have a shower sometimes, or if I can’t and I have to go out in public, I HAVE to wear a hat. In winter, I’m going to have to wear a hat. And I have to walk from room to room sometimes to put away laundry, get things, whatever.

But then I hear her screaming in terror, huge choking sobs, hysterical crying, big fat tears rolling down her face…

I feel like the worst mother in the world. And that makes ME cry. Big tears of Mommy Guilt. Of making my baby cry. Of making her cry “on purpose” (although I don’t truly mean to do it, of course, but some people would say by just TRYING to do something like have a shower, on the off chance I can sneak it in, I am upsetting her on purpose). Of trying to get things done around the house in the course of a day. Of NOT getting things done in the course of a day. The Mommy Guilt is tremendous.

Then, after you try for an hour to calm a hysterical baby down, who by that time is just crying because she is crying… you feel guilty for getting frustrated and upset. And you cry a few more Mommy Guilt tears.

I knew there would be hard parts to this parenting gig. But having such a good-natured, happy baby, they just sort of sneak up on you, when you are unprepared. And then it feels worse, for making such a normally happy girl cry in terror.

But nothing is harder than having your daughter look at you and burst into tears. To have your daughter fear you, for some very slight change — but to her it is huge.

I know it’s just a phase, and it will pass. I know that all kids go through it — I went through it, even. But it makes things so very hard, for both of you, while you’re in it.

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