When I cry, there can be any of a myriad number of reasons – pain, sadness, lag, death of a character, rolling too many fumbles, existential angst, lack of coffee, existential lack of coffee, etc. – but our daughter is much more of a stoic than am I. When she cries, there is one of a small number of reasons from which to choose, and hunting for such a reason involves a simple series of steps, much as if one was bug hunting a game.
Good game playtesters often follow the scientific method when bug hunting. They propose a hypothesis – a game wall should stop my avatar. They test the hypothesis – walking the avatar into a wall. They analyze results – my avatar went through the wall, fell through the earth, and crashed the game. Then they repeat.
Testing our baby’s cries are much the same, usually without falling through the Earth or crashing. When a cry suddenly erupts, breaking through the peace of whatever FPS level I am destroying, I go to step one – get my wife to deal with it.
JUST KIDDING HONEY! Don’t erase my saved games.
After eliminating pain or discomfort as a reason for her cries (meaning her pain and discomfort. Mine apparently has no cure):
Step 1. Check the diaper. If wet, refer to my RPGDad post on Tasking with Baby. If not wet, go to 2.
Step 2. Feed. Option 1 is to get my wife to deal with it, as she is better equipped for that than an I (and better equipped than most female avatars in games). If my wife is not available, or threatens to erase my saved games, I prep a bottle, take a shot from it, and then give the baby her bottle.
Step 3. Gas. Okay, the jokes were too easy for this one. Let’s just say I pat baby’s back to the rhythm of any Bob Marley song I can get on my iPad until she expels the gas, and then I praise her for volume and duration.
Step 4. Tired. If she still cries, then it’s time to rock and soothe in hopes of getting her eyes to close and her brain to start sleep processing.
Step 5. If she keeps crying, it probably means her nappy is wet again, and I get to start the entire process once more.
In all seriousness, I have found (thanks to Dr. Harvey Karp) a fool-proof method to soothe her when these don’t work, but it must be done in exactly the following order.
- Swaddle the baby tightly;
- Cradle baby on her side, facing my chest (making sure baby can easily breathe)
- Rock baby gently;
- Make a constant “shhhh” noise; and
- Provide a pacifier.
It may take a few minutes, but it invariably calms her if one of the other issues is not the cause of her distress.
Of course, with the upcoming, and much dreaded Blue Screen of Teething, all this goes out the window (pun intended) …
And no jokes allowed that the main reason she cries is the realization of who her father is.