Princess decided that she simply did not want to take her nap today. By the time we got home from babysitting and she'd eaten a delicious lunch of pb&j, it was 1pm. Definitely time for a nap, right? So I gave Princess her blanket and pacifier and laid her down in her crib with a good-night kiss. She didn't move at first, but then I left her room and sat down to finish my lunch. A tiny whimper reached my ears, then a louder one. Within a few minutes, she was screaming. Not crying, not yelling, but angry bloodcurdling screaming that came one after the other. After about 10 minutes of this, I marched into her room, checked her gums, her temperature, and everything else I could think of to make sure that there was nothing really wrong and quickly ascertained that she was throwing a major tantrum in an effort to skip her nap. I gave her a little swat on her diapered bottom and sternly told her that it was naptime and it was not negotiable. I tried to lay her back down in her crib, but she spit her pacifier at me rebelliously and tried to climb my arm to get out. I pried my arm out of her grasp and left the room to angry yells that soon turned into screams again. Within a few minutes, Princess was beyond angry. She was hysterical. I went back into her room and picked her up, knowing from experience that the only way to get through a tantrum this bad was to hold her close and tight and "shush" her until she calmed down. I finally managed to get her to stop screaming and tried once again to put her in her crib. She clung desperately to my neck and refused to let go. Finally, I gave in and sat down in the rocker to rock her to sleep. As she played with my hair, her fingers gradually slowed down until her hand hung in mid-air before dropping to her side. I realized then how much I miss being able to rock my baby girl to sleep. One of the great rewards of parenthood to me, is being able to hold your beautiful sleeping child and study all of their tiny perfect features. I thought about how just a few minutes earlier, I had been angry with her for throwing such a massive tantrum. Even though I had given her a spanking and was stern with her, she still wanted only one thing-me. Talk about humbling. I rocked her longer than I needed to, listening to her soft snores and holding her relaxed litle body close to me. And then I thanked God for the opportunity to rock my baby girl to sleep even if it did involve a temper tantrum.
From the time Princess was a newborn, making a repeated "shushing" noise has always soothed her. Even now when she's 20 months old, I can still get her to relax by doing it.