Sometimes my baby boy gets himself a little worked up. Whether it is because he is tired or hungry or his belly is full of gas, he gets all tied up in knots over it, like the whole world is just falling to pieces. Oren cries, arches his back, kicks his little legs to and fro, tries to scratch his own eyes out with his teeny little fingernails. He can really make quite a scene.
I’m his mama. It’s my job to figure out how to calm him down.
So this is what I do: I lie down, and hold him real close to my body, with his ear directly over my heartbeat and his belly touching my belly. I hold his arms down at his sides, so he can’t continue to injure himself (this is sometimes quite challenging). And I just concentrate on breathing – long, deep breaths.
Oren continues to cry for a few minutes. It seems like he is protesting being held. But then, slowly but surely, my calm becomes my baby’s calm. He starts quieting down, breathing like a normal person, and the storm begins to subside.
It is such an amazing feeling, knowing that I have the ability to comfort Oren this way.
Last night, while using this method to get my overtired son to fall asleep, I started wondering how long I will be able to provide him with this same sense of comfort.
When he is a toddler, and gets bent out of shape over a lost toy or a cut finger, will I still be able to comfort him this way?
When he is seven years old, and he comes home crying because he got teased at school, will I still be able to calm him, with my arms and my steady breathing?
How about when he is a teenager? When his heart is broken for the first time? Will he still come to me? Will I still have the ability to soothe his head and heart?
And when he is an adult, will I even know when he is panicking? Will he even tell me if he feels like his world is falling apart? Will he understand, even then, that I am his mother, and it is my job to figure out how to calm him down?
I hope so. I hope so. I hope I can be a source of calm and comfort for Oren, for many many years to come.