Friday, May 23, 2008

Thank heavens for the chicken strangler

Right off, let's acknowledge that there are wonderful, tolerant babies who don't much mind how they are picked up, but will just bask in the glow of being held. Unfortunately, Sonny is a more contrary one-month-oldster.

For one thing, since he likes plenty of room to thrash about in, the standard cradle maneuver - in which he is held crosswise with head tucked into the crook of the adult's elbow - can send him kicking dangerously towards lift-off. Nor may he be placed face-up on the knees, with legs facing the adult. This may be a traditional favourite, but, again, there's not enough kicking room - although, for reasons not known to science, Sonny's grandmother can employ it without ill effect.

For us, not similarly favoured, there are two murderous-sounding grips that do keep Sonny cheery. First, there's the guillotine, in which he is placed on the caregiver's shoulder, head tucked so that it cranes past the adult's neck (as though in readiness for dispatch). Indeed, there is some risk of the head lolling about dangerously - but we're still talking about an almost guaranteed calming device, one that can instantly snuff out a wail-fest.

Then, there's his father's preferred method, whereby Sonny is balanced on the arm with his neck supported so that his head can be swung left and right by Pa's hand. The result calls eerily to mind a chicken about to have its neck wrung, but leaves Sonny with ample kicking space. An even better advertisement for the chicken-strangler is that it can be work, at least for short periods of time, with just one hand, leaving the other free to flip a page or raise the coffee mug.

Presumably, there are many parents out there with superior custom baby holds. We'd always be happy to add to our arsenal. And it's no surprise that the right grip can turn fussy-infant into happy-camper: After all, even adults can all too often be kept pliant and docile, if handled just so.


Mumsgather said...

The superior custom hold is where your feet gets into the action too, walking up and down the room, preferably humming with your lips as you go along. Hands just aren't good enough for baby.

Cloudsters said...

Roger. Clearly a combined-arms approach is the only way to fight this war.