I was home recently and had made plans to go see my cousin and her new baby. I was getting ready to go see her, when my cousin texted. “Can we raincheck? Baby has had too much excitement for today and needs some quiet time.” I felt rather disgruntled, actually. I just wanted to hold the baby, make some faces at it, and then put it down again. A raincheck didn’t really suit my schedule.
Fast forward two weeks. I’d had a mad day working to a couple of deadlines, and had somehow managed to schedule two meetings in for that afternoon, when really I needed the time to finish the articles I was writing. I was cross with former Emily and her inept scheduling skills for being so inconsiderate. I knew exactly what I would have thought. “She’ll be right”, I would have blithely told myself. “I can squeeze it in.” Well, now I was in a pickle. Suddenly I wished I was very small and someone could calmly say, “Can we rain check? Baby needs a nap.” Indeed, she does. It would at times be rather comforting to treat ourselves like the tired babies we are. “No drinks tonight,” we’d say cheerfully to our chums. Baby’s overstimulated. Or, “that sounds so fabulous, but can I let you know in a couple of days? I think baby has a few things on that day.” Namely a bath and playing scrabble with her dog.
It could be somewhat worrying if we started to refer to ourselves in the third person as baby, (even in a Dirty Dancing context #topfan) but you get the gist. Is baby tired, restless, hungry, needs a hug, could do with a soothe? You wouldn’t withhold it from a child – why are you denying it to yourself?
I think we might need to take a firm hand and be the parent to ourselves that our overworked, overtired, overstressed little (big) bodies need. The voice you use with your children, fur babies or nephews and nieces comes in handy; firm but sweet. Cos I think the stress might be worse than a little overstimulation. It seems it might just be killing us. Integrative oncologist Stacy D’Andre said in a recent podcast that when asked what they think caused their disease, a vast majority of her cancer patients promptly replied with stress. Good old stress.
There’s no one-size-fits-all fix, but there are plenty of small puzzle pieces that fit to make the bigger picture. Sleep, rest, nutrition, intelligent movement, nature. Naps. Plenty of naps. While you may not want to wear a nappy (I hope) and your version of day care is a Yin yoga class, you’re allowed to show yourself a little tenderness. But maybe put the dummy down.