Home » What Did We Do To This Poor Kid?!

What Did We Do To This Poor Kid?!

Mac’s been doing something strange lately.  I have no idea if it’s “normal.”  Help a Sister out!

You might recall that we are big fans of Dr. Karp’s book The Happiest Baby on the Block.  We pretty much followed his “5S” method to the letter when Mac was an infant.  And it worked remarkably well for us.

My Husband especially embraced the “Shush” S and still to this day shushes Mac when he needs comforted, often simultaneously shushing and rubbing Mac’s back or side gently while holding him. (Yes.  It’s disgustingly adorable.)

A few nights ago, in the wee hours of the morning I heard Mac stir.  (I feel like I’m always saying he’s teething but I think these days he actually is ALWAYS teething).  I froze in my spot in bed, afraid to move, barely breathing, intently listening to the baby monitor.

What I heard next likely took 15 years off my life:  Over the soft humming of the fan in this room, I could hear distinct Shushing!  Shooooooosh.  Shoooooooosh.  Shooooooosh!

I inched my arm towards the other side of the bed.  Chris was definitely in bed with me.


Oh Gawd!  Someone broke into our house and is shushing our baby!  That’s ridiculous Deni.  No it’s not, maybe they wanted his piggy bank and disturbed him.  Why isn’t the dog barking?  Worthless dog.  No one broke in the house, Deni. . .

It’s a demonic spirit!  I saw this once on A Haunting!  There is some dead restless soul in the nursery shushing my kid!  Mac must be terrified!  How long have these visitations been going on?  What do I do?  Why didn’t I watch the end of that stupid TV show?!  Why?  

But why isn’t the dog barking?  Don’t dogs always bark at ghosts?  This dog is absolutely worthless. 


Perhaps Mac is just shushing himself, Deni you idiot.

Wait.  Mac is shushing himself?!  Is that normal?  Did we damage this kid for life with our overzealous shushing?

Fortunately for me, the wine kicked in and I fell asleep and promptly forgot about it.

But yesterday, I noticed every time Mac was upset, he would rub his chest and tummy, “Shoooooosh, shooooooosh, shooooooosh.”

For real.  Is this normal?

Is he going to be standing on the playground after a particularly nasty tumble and start shushing himself?  Everyone is going to make fun of him!

Part of me feels proud that we have given him a way to cope with discomfort on his own.  Another part of me wonders if we really screwed this kid up (and so soon)?

The Confident Self-Shusher

The Confident Self-Shusher

No Responses to “What Did We Do To This Poor Kid?!”

  1. I think that is 100% AWESOME! You definitely DID give him a great way of coping and soothing himself! I think you will see some great long-term benefits of this and NO, I don’t think people will make fun of him for this – and if they do, they are horrible, horrible people. This is SO great! And totally shows you that what you do as parents to your kids sticks with them! Well done mama! Well done!!

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Well, thank you!

      It’s a little scary to realize exactly how much they pay attention to what you do!

      Now how can I convince him shooshing is preferable to throwing himself on the floor and freaking out? Typically he starts with that method first. Ha!

  2. Agreed – 100% awesome. Self soothing is a very important coping mechanism. And it is so awesome that he learned it by experiencing it though his loving parents. We adopted our daughter from China. Unfortunately she had no one to comfort and teach her how to self sooth as an infant. In order to survive she developed her own self soothing methods, rocking and other repetitive motions.
    She has been with us for almost 3 years now and she is just now allowing us to comfort her. It has taken this much time and tremendous effort on our part to break through to her and help her know and feel the love that your son so obviously has found in the both of you. The soothing without the loving comfort behind it is a very sad, empty place.
    Treasure this and let it warm your heart to know that in Mac’s little mind he is thinking of his daddy strong arms comforting him with a sweet shoosh.

    • Deni Lyn says:

      What you just described hurts my heart a little. I’m not even sure I can chose appropriate words. . .

      Obviously, what you are doing is amazing. The challenges and the rewards must be tremendous. I’m glad your daughter is finally learning to accept the love and security every child deserves.

      I have always felt in my heart, I’d like to adopt children too.

      I volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children and I know many have long lasting challenges because they were unable to experience the closeness and bonding young children need.

      Adoption is an uncertain and sometimes scary journey but your story is encouraging to me. Thank you for sharing. Big Hugs!

      • Deni, this journey we have been on with our daughter has been an amazing roller coaster of fear, anxiety, and over powering love. We never set out to adopt a special needs child, but she was the child the filled the hole in our hearts. Our daughter is going to have physical struggles all her life, all the more reason she needs all of the love we can poor in to her.
        Your son may not have the physical or emotion struggles, but he needs your love and comfort just as much. Never apologize for loving, nurturing, or comforting him. That is the only way he will be able to do the same for his children someday. Hugs right back!!

  3. richardmax22 says:

    Once while my grandtwins were over I rubbed my belly after we finished dinner and gave a mmmmmm. Now after every meal they do the same thing. It’s amazing the little things kids pick up on. I’d bet this falls along the same lines.

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Ha! Kid’s don’t miss a trick! When we were visiting some friends about a year ago, it was during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and someone taught Mac to raise his fist and yell “Goal!” Except Mac couldn’t really say goal and he kinda’ just looked like some kinda’ Hitler youth when it did it. Took half the summer for him to forget about it! Ha.

  4. You know, I think he may just be reaalllyyy balanced. That’s gotta be a good thing. =)

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Thanks! I’m hoping he’s not becoming unbalanced. I think we’re on day two of napping strike. One more day and I might become unbalanced! Thank you so much for your comments. Have a great weekend!

  5. gavmomof2 says:

    That’s SO SWEET! My mom’s friend gave me the only piece of advise that is worth repeating:
    1. So what’s right for you and your family – don’t worry about anyone else
    2. This is more like a rhetorical question:
    “Do you see any adults using pacifiers? How about diapers? Strollers? Enjoy your baby – He will become an adult before you know it”
    I wish she were still alive – that helped me through a lot of my baby raising days.
    She was right, my son FINALLY slept through the night at the age of 4 🙂
    Wish I could go back, he’s 21 now !

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Thank you!

      Wise words all of it!

      I agree, you seldom see a kid dragging their security blanket to college with them. . .Although, my sister took her stuffed dog, Benji. Ha!

      I do try to enjoy every moment. Or at least I remind myself I SHOULD be trying. Time flies!

  6. Erm…kinda odd what I’m about the write here but then again normal my life aint!

    My son goes to Gymboree and they reward the smallest of actions if it’s positive in nature and we started doing that with him from time to time, especially if it was in line with what WE wanted. Aren’t we unconditionally loving parents? 😛

    Anyhoo, long story short…of late whenever the offspring poops a big one (and surprisingly it’s quite often) he wants a clap and a ‘Good Job’ statement coming at him else I’m on the receiving end of a sulk.

    So give Mac time..these guys often turn the tables on us when we least expect them to.

    Plus, he could be doing worse stuff…he’s just self-soothing. Very grown-up, isn’t it?

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Ha! I’m definitely all for “catching kids doing something good.” I’d far rather reinforce positive behavior than always focusing on negative stuff.

      I guess he is self soothing. And these days, we need all the help we can get. . .2 and 3 can be rough years!

      Hope you have a lovely weekend and thank you so much for your comments!