by Angela Jernigan
My six year old tells me from the back seat of the car, “Mom, babies are really very smart, it’s just that they don’t speak like bigger people.” She is looking at me earnestly in the rear view mirror with her serious blue eyes, “If only grown ups could learn to speak baby, they’d know: babies have lots to say.”
I think my daughter knows exactly what she’s talking about. She was, after all, a baby who had a lot to say.
Even from our very first long night together after she was born, my daughter cried a lot. Until dawn she fussed and squawked, wriggled and writhed, her belly against my chest, my body exhausted from giving birth and aching for rest.
But the rest never came. After a few weeks, I began to face it: I had a fussy, sometimes inconsolable, baby. It was harrowing. My husband and I called on doctors, lactation consultants, baby massage teachers, cranial sacral practitioners. No one could find a problem, yet my daughter still could not find peace. She cried so much, my little one, while I work anxiously doing whatever I could think of to stop the crying: bouncing, walking, sound machines, sh-shing, standing in the backyard in the middle of the night, sobbing to myself.
By the time she was four months old, I was desperate and utterly exhausted.
And then I learned about a a way of listening to babies and children called Parenting by Connection from a woman named Patty Wipfler, and everything in our life slowly began to change. Continue reading