Girls Write Out
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dave and I went out to eat on Friday night at O'Charley's, one of our favorite places. We'd just gotten our water and were checking out the menu when it gradually dawned on us that there was a baby crying somewhere. Now I'm nuts about kids so it was no wonder that I was craning my neck and looking but Dave was too. The crying was obviously a very young infant and it went on and on. I noticed the more the baby cried, the more agitated we were. Glancing around, I realized others in the restaurant were doing the same.

Dave was getting even more antsy and he said, "Why isn't the mother doing something?" We both realized it wasn't that the baby's cry was annoyed us--it didn't. I wanted to go find that baby and say, "Here, let me have him a minute. I'll walk with him." I wanted to comfort the tiny guy. I suspect others in the restaurant felt the same way. FINALLY after probably ten minutes of this constant crying, the mother got up and carried the baby off. When we realized where she'd been sitting, it was clear the parents had just let the baby cry while the mom finished eating.

Then on Saturday we got to babysit our angel. She was absolutely darling of course but later in the evening she was getting sleepy and I decided to change her diaper before she went to sleep. I laid her on the sofa and she immediately puckered up and began to wail. I soothed her and finished changing her as fast as I could and she was asleep within a minute of hitting my shoulder.

I think we're made to listen and respond to a baby's cry. It made me think about how God hears our cries. His ear is tuned to them. That was SUCH a comfort when I thought about it. When He hears my cry, he immediately wants to comfort me. Such a great thought!

But back to the crying baby. What's your reaction when you hear a baby cry and no one is doing anything?


Colleen Coble  
posted at 6:50 AM  
  Comments (15)
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At 9:47 AM, Blogger Allie said...

The same as yours probably - want to comfort the child. At that age its the only way they have to communicate.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

My thoughts go to the mommy who just wants to eat. Mommies never get to eat. I would have been mad at the dad for not picking the baby up so mommy could eat, then I would have seen what I could have done.

I've walked stranger's babies on airplanes before. I am the baby whisperer. After Jonah, I can put any baby to sleep. LOL

At 12:39 PM, Blogger Betsy Ann St. Amant said...

As a new mom, I feel sympathy for the mother - I know how awkward that can be. My daughter, 9 months old, is SO good - we can take her anywhere and usually do! She's great at restaurants but lately, she hasn't been crying - she's been loud in talking and playing! haha. We still get looks that way but at least they are not frustrated looks. I never get upset with the parents because its not their fault!

I do have to warn others though, as a new mom, my reaction for someone outside of my family to offer to help me with a crying baby would NOT be positive. lol I would feel that they thought I was incompetent. Maybe with my second child I'd loosen up in that degree. lol

At 12:54 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I wanted to go offer to take him but I knew how I'd feel if some stranger came up. LOL

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Like I said, it was on a plane. Where was I going to go? And moms get so stressed when babies cry on planes. People are SOO rude about it.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Leticia said...

Yeah, umm...why didn't the husband grab up the baby?

I tend to want to help any mom that has a crying baby especially one that looks like she is at her wit's end. This is why I decided to work in the nursery at church. I have been doing this for a few years now and I always get such grateful "thank-yous" from the moms.

One even told me that she knew I tried with her little boy when he began to cry and she listened and waited to see if I was going to come and get her and when I did not come she was thankful because many times at other nurseries no one tried they just came and got her.

All moms need a break once in a while.

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Beverly said...

A friend of mine at church said he always feels a frustration, because he WANTS to help parents out, but in our culture, he doesn't know if it will be welcome. Where is the boundry line, especially in a church family, much less in public?

I admire people who have the gift or personality to step in without making Mom's feel incompetent (I'm like Betsy, and tend that way)! I also think that people like Kristin ooze that "I'm a Mommy at heart" confidence.

I don't think I even dribble that persona, so it is really not surprising that people don't usually take me up on it when I do offer. In fact, a few weeks ago, I was holding a friend's baby at church, while she went out to warm up the car (or so I thought). Finally, another friend came to get the baby, because somehow I missed the obvious. There I was, waiting in the hallway happily jiggling her little one, forgetting entirely it was a very comfortable, no-jacket required evening out there.

At 7:33 PM, Blogger Jaime said...

I don't think my ears are "mommy-tuned" yet. :( I usually don't pay much attention to a crying baby. When I do, I feel totally helpless and wouldn't know how to help ...

now a crying toddler throwing a tantrum I definitely pay attention to ... especially in a public place, when it goes on and on and on and the parents are completely oblivious to the flying feet and food.

At 7:06 AM, Blogger Kristine Bercot said...

I would rather hold a baby than eat any day. Not that you can tell by looking at me :0).I always advise unless you have a babysitter don't plan on eating a warm meal for the first 3 years. My youngest is 4 and I still find myself getting up, cutting food etc. the first 5 minutes of table time no matter what. Cherish these moments sounds so cliche but it's true they grow up before you know it.Hey Colleen I mentioned you helping to name my new summer line on my blog. Check it out. Best regards,Kristine

At 10:53 AM, Blogger Cathy Shouse said...


I do think there are times in our lives when we are in tune with babies. Yesterday, this topic came up when my cousin and I were having lunch.

We think when you're having babies of your own or having grandchildren or wanting them, you are attuned to babies. Her son got married last summer and she's drawn to babies and takes it as a sign she wants to be a grandma.

My kids are 9 and 15, I won't be having any more and I certainly don't want to be a grandma :) Just this week I noticed the sweet faces of babies but I don't feel the need to get involved, even if they're crying.

I love the analogy of God hearing his children cry. That comforted me today. Thanks.

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Amy said...

As a mom of four, I feel like an expert in this category: eating 20 minutes after your food arrives aka never eating with the rest of the table.
But as a mom, I would never let my baby cry for 10 minutes in a restaurant. Either pack it up & leave, or pick the baby up & eat one handed...what mom can't do that? I can cook, talk on the phone, and carry my baby. Not that I recommend it (DCS speed dialers).
I have to say, I can't think of many situations where I'd turn my crying baby over to a stranger. I've traveled from Japan to California by myself with two small children and still managed to use the potty or hold it until I could find a large enough stall for all three of us.
That said, if for some reason I needed an extra set of hands, I would be more likely to turn my baby over to another mom or older grandparent type, female only. Sorry, guys!
And a crying baby in a restaurant would not warrant a second pair of arms...that's when you push back the plate & comfort the baby. Period.
Hmmm...ranting much? sorry!

At 4:54 PM, Blogger Deena said...

The same, but stronger now that my grandson is here. I listen for him in his momma's (and auntie's) room, and if I hear a certain cry, I'm up in a heartbeat.

But his momma is so good with him, I always know he's being attended to. Still, now I have crying baby radar, and it's on high alert!!

At 6:21 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

I remember after our son moved to Texas and took our grandkids with him (he really does have a lot of nerve) we offered to babysit a church friend's newborn.

They dropped her off in her little car seat, sound asleep. Terry and I sat and watched her like she was the best TV show, waiting to see if she'd wake up. LOL It was going to be a race for who could pick her up first. :D

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

I'd say the same as yours. I want to console the baby. Or, at the very least, I want to give the parents or caretakers a good talking to.

Of course, now that I'm a new mother with a daughter who is just 4 weeks old today, there is a whole new meaning to a baby's cry. :) I'm not 100% sure yet, but I'm learning her cries each day and recognizing what they mean.

When I'm in public, though, that's a whole different story. There's a fine line between CIO (crying it out) and ignoring the child for your own selfish reasons. I feel bad for that little baby and his mother wanting to finish her meal first. (sigh)

At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Andrea said...

It seriously makes me angry when a baby is wailing and the caregiver is making no attempt to respond. I'm not referring to the poor, harried mom trying to juggle a million things with no one there to help her. Also, not referring to the wise (IMO) parent ignoring a toddler temper tantrum. Unfortunately, more and more these days, I see parents like Colleen mentions here who seem to think that an infant's cry is a mere "suggestion" to be ignored until it's convenient for them to respond. I guess after studying and using attachment theory in much of my work as a therapist, I'm super sensitive to this sort of thing. No human can respond to every little thing, so I'm not saying that. It's the ones with the nonchalant, devil-may-care, attitude that get to me and I see it quite a bit :(


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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