Unsolicited Advice for New Parents: Buy Earplugs

05Aug09

You might be listening to some screaming. Maybe. Some babies don’t do this, some do, no promises either way, but this is just in case you get to listen to the screaming.

It is important that you respond to the screaming by comforting your child and attempting to address any need that might be causing the screaming. Much of the screaming, however, is caused by the fact that the child realizes that this whole physicality deal is permanent, which, honestly, would make even Ram Dass scream. (“Be here now? Now sucks! Waaaah!”) The only thing you can do about this kind of screaming is rock and walk and hum comforting things like “don’t worry, baby, someday there will be macaroni and cheese…” Stuff like that.

Don’t misunderstand me, this rocking and walking and humming will not work. The screaming will continue unabated. Not only that, it will continue unabated directly in your ear. For very long periods of time. But given that, and given also that it is vital to your child’s not later becoming a sociopath that you do respond to the screaming with the rocking and walking and humming, there are a few things you can do to avoid throwing the baby out the window.

And one of them is to buy earplugs.

That sounds utterly callous! you’re thinking. How could you just tune out, ignore your child like that?

Oh, believe me, there is no way to ignore the screaming, and you will definitely still hear it plenty loud.   Love is not measured in decibels.  You do not have to hear every screech and yowl at full volume to get the gist.  On the contrary, preserving your sanity from the full-on brain-scramble is an act of kindness, because it means that you will be able to extend your patience and mine untapped veins of compassion in the smallest hours of the longest nights.

Silicone earplugs are the best because they are easy to insert and remove; if you don’t press them in too tightly they don’t block every sound, they just keep the sound waves from making all the tiny little bones of your inner ear explode.

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