When You’re Crying

To my darling daughter,


This morning your mum and I woke up to the usual sounds of you playing in your cot. Almost every morning you do this and it’s the most delightful sound in the world. You experiment with sounds, you play with the sides of your cot, you study your hands and most recently, you roll.

This morning the sounds of exploration began to turn into sounds of frustration. A quick check of the baby monitor revealed that you had rolled to the side of your cot in such a way that you were stuck on your stomach (this is still not your favourite position).

Your grunts turned into cries as you tried to work your way out of your predicament. You initially tried to keep rolling to your left – the same direction you had rolled to get to the side of the cot. The intensity of the squeals and cries rose as you realised it wasn’t working.

Your frustration with your situation was obvious and both your mum and I felt the urge to rush in and “rescue” you. However, we could see that you weren’t done yet. In your cries we could also hear effort and determination, so we sat and watched on the monitor instead. This is not an easy thing to do. When you cry we feel your pain intensely, but we also know that the struggle comes before the success. If we jump in and help too early, we rob you of the chance of success, the achievement of your goal.

Your cries began to subside. You looked around. You released an arm that was stuck beneath you with a little wriggle. You realised that something was stopping you from rolling to your left so, with great effort, you pushed back the other way. We gave a silent cheer from our bedroom as you lay on your back, exhausted from your efforts but much happier about your position.

Know, my love, that we have heard every cry since the day you were born. Sometimes we pick you up straight away and give you a cuddle, but sometimes we have to let you cry. During those times we have still been with you, watching to make sure you are safe. We have felt your frustration with you and willed you to overcome the challenges. And you have.