Casey Liss on Tuesday wrote a story on his site about an incredibly trying time in the life of every parent of an infant – when your baby is sick, inconsolable and you feel helpless. I am no stranger to this feeling; when Adam was a wee baby, he had bouts of inconsolability that would make his mother and I rock him, sing to him, bounce him, beg him for mercy, and everything in between.
Reading Casey’s post brought that experience right back, sense-memories and all, so I thought it a good exercise to write a bit about how I got through Adam’s most nightmarish times as an infant. Unfortunately there’s little advice to give here, other than to tell other parents to buckle down, be persistent and consistent in your approach to calm your baby down, and trust that if you’re putting in the effort, your tiny human’s ailments will eventually quell. The crying fits will get less frequent and eventually he or she will return to that lovely state of “happy baby coo”.
One thing that really keeps things in perspective for me is to go back to the music I love. When I read Casey’s story, what immediately came to mind was this interview with Ben Folds from his iTunes Originals album, in which he talks about the song “Still Fighting It” and where it came from. Folds (emphasis mine):
The song is about the birth of my son and my daughter, they’re twins. And when they came out, my son was the first one to come out, and all of a sudden I was like oh man, how hard is that? And then my revelation was – this is not going to stop for him. Everything for the rest of his life is gonna be another thing where it’s like, okay, I’m tough enough, I’ve taken this, and then the next thing to come up is going to take him completely by surprise, it’s going to be the scariest thing he’s ever done. Everyone has the scariest thing they’ve ever done right on the horizon, coming up. And that’s why the song is ‘it sucks to grow up’, and ‘it hurts to grow up’. And so the song, the line came to my head about ‘we’re still fighting it’. If it helps any to know, that your parents don’t know what they’re doing, and they’re still fighting the same things that you’re fighting. And that’s what the song is about.
Still Fighting It, from Folds’ 2001 masterpiece Rockin’ The Suburbs, is a really beautiful song, even without this deeper context of the lyrics. But knowing what Folds (and every parent) is going through, when I hear that song I can’t help but connect with it. And I hope Casey and every other parent does too.
Listen to Still Fighting It: