I have to tell you about listening to my one-year-old daughter. After a very short surgery under anesthesia delivered through a mask, she was brought back to me. As I expected, she was crying and mad, and probably confused. Her crying went on for a while.
The nurse came in after a bit to ask me if she had a “temper at home too” to which I answered “Yes.” My daughter continued to cry (she was really mad) while I was hugging her. A neighbor mother asked if she could help by giving me her blankie or something. I said, “No, thanks, it’s OK.” and I let her cry. I went for a walk, offered her water and breast thinking she was probably hungry. Then I went back to my room and my daughter continued to cry.
The nurse came back and told me, “9 out of 10 kids do better once you put them into their car seat and they understand you are going home.” I told the nurse I did not want her to be so upset in the car through morning rush hour traffic. Finally, I closed the door and sat on a chair where the nurse could not see me and my daughter continued to cry. She was really mad and did not want anything.
After 30 minutes of crying in my arms she started to soothe herself, then went back to crying, every time a smaller cry. Her body started relaxing. She was breathing better and finally fell asleep in my arms in a very relaxed state.
I cannot tell you how relieved I was that I did not feel like I needed to entertain her, distract her or stop her from having her feelings. I was calm and felt an internal peace I have not had in a while. I knew I was there for her and that it was not my responsibility to “make her” feel better, that she just needed to to feel her pain, confusion and anger.
My daughter slept soundly for 4 hours. Then she woke up happy and relaxed! IT WORKED!
–A mother in Texas