Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Change of Heart

In case you are not familiar with the television program referenced in the title:

"Change of Heart" involved dating couples who were matched up with other singles and then sent out on respective dates. At the end of the show, the couples had to decide if they wanted to remain together or split up.

This momentous and life-changing decision was announced to the partners (and to the studio audience) at the end of the episode when each turned over a piece of cardboard that read: "STAY TOGETHER" on one side or "CHANGE OF HEART" on the other.

And it was awesome.

So awesome, in fact, that I felt the need to reminisce about it in spite of the fact that this has little or nothing to do with the remainder of this blog entry.

My best friend Norah (a mom since 1991) asked me a couple of weeks ago how things were going with the baby.

I've figured it out!" I responded proudly. "Everything has COMPLETELY turned around. Sleep routine - CHECK! Eating schedule - CHECK! Running errands without incident - CHECK! Looks like it's gonna be smooth sailing from here on out!"

Norah took this all in, patted me knowingly on the shoulder and replied simply, "
How nice for you."

That afternoon, the Snood began a meltdown of epic proportions that continued off and on for the next four days. He pulled out all the stops - fighting sleep, crying at the grocery store, and (
my personal favorite!) responding to my loving attempts to soothe him by punching me repeatedly in the face.

It reminds me of my dad, who has a recurring delusion which fuels his addiction to the game of golf. For months at a stretch his game will range from decent to problematic, when all of a sudden, for no particular reason, he'll have a round where everything falls into place. On these days he comes home and announces confidently to my mother, "
I've figured it out!"

Inevitably, his next round finds him hacking away in the deep woods for drives gone horribly astray as his score soars and his confidence disintegrates.

Like father, like daughter, I guess.

I call Norah to ask what she thinks I should do about the baby's behavior change, and her advice is simple. "
I'd try to get used to it - from my experience, it's gonna last another 18 years."

I ponder her advice. Can I learn to accept the fact that the only thing I can control about my infant son's behavior is my attitude towards it?

Do I need a "CHANGE OF HEART"?

I look for guidance to my husband, David, who possesses a truly amazing ability to define almost any situation in a positive light.

Case in point:

The Snood hates being in his car seat (see
Fox.Hen.Grain) so whenever my husband and I take him anywhere together one of us sits in the back and tries to soothe him while the other drives.

Coming home from dinner last month it was David's turn in the back. As I listened in, he spoke to our shrieking son patiently:

OK, buddy...let's try to stop screaming... why don't you take your pacifier and just calm down... that's right, boy-o, let's try to quit crying now... it's gonna be OK, little guy..."

The only effect this had was to drive Snood into more pronounced fits of hysteria, but still David kept at it.

After 10 minutes with no change I heard a long pause and assumed David had given up. But instead he started talking again, in that same patient tone:

"That's right, buddy, you let it out. Go ahead and express yourself. You just cry if that's what you need. Good job, buddy. You are doing great at letting us know how you feel."

I started laughing so hard I almost drove us off the road. My husband, the MIT grad, had realized that our inconsolable baby was not a variable, but a constant, and so he decided to redefine the equation.

And it was awesome.

I've decided that I, too, will master this approach - and I am absolutely confident that I will succeed.

I'm going to bend so that I do not break!

I'm going to BE the change I seek!

I'm going to turn my frown upside down!

And this is going to make everything fall into place, I just know it!

You might even say
"I've figured it out!"

[1] Sad and shameless attempt to justify introductory paragraphs.