Finny really doesn’t fuss a ton. He has his sad, gassy moments where he wriggles and squirms. Sometimes he keeps himself up crying even though he’s just crying about how tired he is. His sweet, mellow little face somehow contorts into this beet red little square that makes him completely unrecognizable. Praise the good Lord that I’m blessed with a pretty content, forgiving baby, because whenever he cries I am completely overtaken with anxiety. My body tenses and I drop whatever I’m doing to shuffle through the different soothing techniques that I’m familiar with: bouncing, swinging, swaying, put him on is back, put him on his belly, rock him on his side, pat his butt, try to burp him, bicycle kicks, offer him the opportunity to nurse, check his diaper, move to another room, add clothes, take clothes off, put him in his car seat. Eventually he calms and I think I feel much more relief than he does. I survived another one. I made it through. I did it. I did it. I did it. These successes haven’t yet begun to build my confidence as a mother. I still feel like I’m in the survival mode that set in the moment the three of us were loaded into the car and sent on our way from the hospital.
And so I did what felt like “giving in” and bought my little babe a swing. A huge, ridiculous looking, monstrosity that chirps and rocks and spins. This decision didn’t come without obsessively weighing whether or not I would ruin my baby, or whether or not I’d ever be able to get him to sleep on my own again. Was he too young? Did I look for help too soon? Guilt set in because I felt like I shouldn’t ever want a break; I shouldn’t ever want to not be meeting 100% of my baby’s needs on my own. If I gave him the swing, I would see that he was consolable by something other than his mama and I wasn’t his everything. At the same time I wanted a break. When Finn slept, I wanted him to sleep well. When we played, he always enjoyed himself so much more when he was well rested. Needless to say, I enjoyed my time with him much more when I was well rested, had time to feed myself, and was able to change out of my pajamas on occasion.
I finally recycled the box that the swing came in the other day and admitted that this was a crutch I’m now spoiled with. Finn, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to notice a difference between being held by me or by his new contraption. Sometimes this realization makes me feel better, sometimes worse. I still find myself wondering if I use the swing too much or at the appropriate time. Its a strange debate because Finn of course has no idea what my motives are for using the swing when I choose to use it. But I know, and I want him to know that I tried my best.