Sunday, March 7, 2010

The importance of humorous narratives

There are a bunch of blog posts that we want to write, and a number of photos to share, but I'm afraid our online presence has been somewhat constrained over the last week -- Joshua had a rough few days. Poor little guy had several long, inexplicable, inconsolable crying episodes, multiple times a day/night, where we just couldn't figure out how to soothe him... And what's even more heartbreaking is that his tear ducts are apparently fully developed now, so he now cries real tears. It's the saddest thing in the world!

Our current working theory is that he was going through a growth spurt of some sort. And it looks like he's finally coming out of it -- he's begun to settle back down into his normal routines, and he seems happier than he's been in a while. And his parents are starting to breathe again -- he gifted us with a 3.5-hour stretch of sleep last night, which was amazing!

In the midst of his squally times, it's very easy for me to get caught up in the emotional vortex, fretting away at what might be bothering him and getting frustrated with myself for not being able to calm him down. That's when I'm especially thankful for David and his particular brand of cool-headedness and humor.

The other night, when Joshua was crying at full volume just half an hour after a feeding and diaper change, and I was walking him back and forth in our apartment, David started giving voice to what he thought might be troubling Joshua:

"I'm feeling an explicable ennui."
"My toe is twitchy. Why is my toe twitchy?"
"I have an itch. But I can't control my hands to scratch it!"

The thing is, we knew that he wasn't hungry, and that his diaper was clean. We'd also tried all our normal tricks for helping him with gassiness, and that didn't seem to be the problem. Really, Joshua just needed to work out his fussiness on his own, and there was little, if anything, we could do for him but hold him as he cried. Imposing these little humorous narratives helped us keep our sanity while Joshua essentially cried it out in our arms -- and they're just as likely as anything else to explain his fussiness. As David pointed out during one of these squally marathons, Joshua has only the one way to communicate his moods... If we cried every time we were bored, tired, confused, etc., we'd cry an awful lot of the time!

So we now have a new catchphrase around our house. When Joshua goes on one of his crying jags, we can just tell each other that it's his twitchy toe!