Blasting White Noise Through My Headphones To Drown Out the Sound of My Daughter Screaming for Me

Another relaxing bedtime. 


I know she’ll live. I know she’s fine. I know I’m teaching her how to soothe herself, and resilience, and yadda yadda.

But it feels like there’s a fire alarm going off in my heart. I can’t take it. I stopped nursing her when she was 18 months old, and almost two years later, at times like this, I still have the urge to just nurse her back to happiness.

I wonder if that urge will ever go away.

The urge to press a button and make it all better. 

My friend Michelle posted this quote to Facebook the other day from a Stanford dean:

Without experiencing the rougher spots of life, our kids become exquisite, like orchids, yet are incapable, sometimes terribly incapable, of thriving in the real world on their own. Why did parenting change from preparing our kids for life to protecting them from life…?

Of course, my daughter’s three. But when is the right time to start preparing her for life? I think it begins now. Michelle and I agreed, advice like the quote above is easy to agree with in principle, harder to put into practice. When is it right to watch your kid suffer, knowing it’s helping to make them stronger? 

I’m reminded of a column a few months back by Meghan Leahy, a parenting coach who writes for the Washington Post. She counseled parents whose kid was literally making himself sick from his tantrums to throw out the rule book and remember compassion. If your kid is puking from hours of crying, for god’s sake, comfort him…don’t just ride out “sleep training.”

But these judgment calls…man. They’re killer. 

We just moved. She’s having a hard time. But she isn’t, really, not the rest of the day. And the truth is, before we moved, she’d do this sometimes too, mostly with me… testing me, wanting me, breaking down with me, whereas when Jordan puts her down, she often — not always, but often — simply goes to bed peacefully. What’s that about? 

Earlier today, she and I chatted as we drove through Rock Creek Park, and we played at the playground, and my heart lit up like a Christmas tree. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: She fills me up, and drains me down, all at once.

Why doesn’t anyone tell you that having a child makes you crazy?

Photo by Nick Southall on Flickr

3 thoughts on “Blasting White Noise Through My Headphones To Drown Out the Sound of My Daughter Screaming for Me

  1. My best guess on this has always been the human race would end if we really "got it" before we had kids. And we’re all too egomaniacal for that. Good luck! Know you’re not alone.


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