He rejected my soothing advances, my attempted caresses of his back, my calming tones by becoming rigid and frenzied, arching and tossing himself backward, and trying to get as far from me as possible,which is kind of hard to do when his sleeping quarters are designed to keep him within my reach.
I left him alone, writhing there and fussing. During such times, I usually say out loud, to no one in particular, "Well, kid, I don't know what to do for you."
And inevitably, when I stop trying to soothe, his frustrated crying gets worse. And inevitably, I take this as my cue to get back in there, get up to my elbows in fussy baby, and try again.
This morning, I asked M to bring me a sippy of milk. I laid C down on my chest, reclined back against my pillows, and as he calmed down and snuggled against me, I made a mental note.
Always get back in there.
No matter what. No matter how much the initial rejection stings. No matter if he's 17 months or 17 years. Get back in there. Get up to your elbows if need be. Because just when they think you're not what they need, you're exactly what they need the most.
(*Later, when happy and smiling and laying semi-still for a diaper change, I noticed the pointy white peaks of 1, 2, 3 teeth trying to come in. If I were cutting three teeth at once - and all molars, too! - I think I, also, would be a mite cantankerous . . . so, he gets a get out of jail free card. Who are we kidding: he always get a get out of jail free card!)