Listening requires eye-work and ear-work.
They were eye-to-eye as he held her in the palm of his hand. A very BIG daddy and a very tiny girl. Six weeks early and ready to tell him what she needed. So daddy, are you listening?
Listening to our babies is more eye-work than ear-work. Their cries are confusing, their messages unclear. This tiny infant was making eye contact with dad, yearning for the same connection. Her eyes seem to say so very much. Let’s listen.
Daddy, will you protect me, hold me, feed me and love me? Will you watch my face to see if I am happy, wet, hungry or bored? As you look at me, I will wiggle my arms and legs and smile at you. (No daddy, it’s not gas). Your job is to watch me carefully and give it your best guess as to what I need. It’s OK if you’re wrong sometimes.
Remember, while I am this tiny, my wants and needs are the same. You must respond every time I cry, none of this “crying it out” business while I am so little. If you help me, I will learn to soothe myself; lights off, a special cuddle, a favorite pacifier or the music on my crib mobile. Don’t expect it to work every time and please don’t give up on me.
There are times when I will cry and show you the saddest face a baby has ever had. That means “Daddy, fix it!” I am in pain. Hold me, rock me, sing to me; do everything you can think of. If nothing works, don’t lose your temper with me. Send in mommy or call grandma or a special friend that loves me. Chances are, we’ll both feel better having someone else near. Soon I’ll smile again and everything will be alright. Thanks for being my daddy.