You may need to bear with me here. I'm pretty sure I have something worthwhile to say, but I'm just not sure how long it may take for me to get there. This could be a long post.
For the purposes of an executive summary, I'll state my conclusion first. Based on my own personal experiences during fatherhood, as well as during infertility, feedback from my wife, and your insightful comments, I think I can confidently state the following:
Infertile women are exactly like toddlers.
Now, don't get all bunjed up. Let me explain.
Obviously, there are some differences. Infertile women don't poop themselves, for example. (For the most part). But I think, if I do a good job expressing my point here, you'll agree with me by the end of this post.
First, a little background is in order. 2 years ago (2 years ago Wednesday, actually), when the Buggins was born, we were given a DVD called The Happiest Baby on the Block. It's by some Dr. named Karp or something. Has a famous book that goes along with it; I'm sure some of you have heard of this guy. Anyway, we didn't watch it for a long time, because honestly, we're just not that type of couple. We don't go in for alot of the how-to videos. We don't read directions. Half the shit in my house doesn't work as a result, but still, that's just not how we roll.
Anyway, after Buggins was about 4 weeks old, my wife and I had aged about 10 years (my wife maybe 20). The kid was crying all the time, up all night, it was awful. One day, at our wits end and in a total fog, we popped in this DVD. This Karp guy is a freaking MAGICIAN. Seriously, he made babies stop crying like he was pulling some kind of crazy Jedi mind trick on them. I wondered if it was some kind of Industrial Light & Magic special effect. This couple would hand him a screaming kid, he would hold it a certain way, whisper something, and the kid was jello. Smiling. Even SLEEPING.
Fair to say, the good Dr. Karp changed our lives. He's kind of a swarmy, annoying, dirty looking man with one of those scraggly half beards, (the kind that makes you wonder why the guy bothers to grow one at all) so I elevate him to this status with great hesitation. But he earned it.
So fastforward about a year. We come upon the sequel DVD, entitled The Happiest Toddler on the Block. We buy it. We buy two copies, in case we lose one. He's that good.
So in this toddler video, he really gets inside the mind of the toddler. He knows how they think. He has an inside line there. He says that when they have a tantrum, usually about nothing in particular (i.e. wanting a cookie, wanting to watch Elmo, etc) the reason for the tantrum isn't actually because of the sadness that they are not allowed to do or have that thing in question. It's because they feel as though we (the parents) are not getting it. We're not validating their desire for that delicious cookie. Saying things like "Ohh, it's ok, don't worry, cookies aren't that good", or "Don't worry, you'll have a cookie someday" don't come close to addressing the issue. That's ignoring the issue, actually.
At first I was totally skeptical of this. I figured kids have tantrums because they're BAD. But again Karp was shown with a toddler who was literally busting a nut over the fact that he/she wanted a cookie. And Karp looked the kid right in the eye and yelled "WANT COOKIE!! WANT COOKIE!! WANT COOKIE!!!". The kid actually paused, looked at the guy for a second (probably wondering about his half-beard) and then wandered off, having totally forgotten about the cookie.
Amazing. So we tried it. When we figured out what Buggins was yelling about, we yelled about it too. And sure enough, she stopped yelling.
I'll give you a recent example, it actually happened yesterday. Buggins has 2 pairs of Crocs, those weird plastic shoes. She has a pink pair, and a green pair. She's obsessed with them. So yesterday, she was dressed in an outfit that begged for the green pair, but prohibited the pink pair. We were going to a nice dinner, and we didn't want her dressed in her typical crazy-ass fashions. So I said "Buggins, you have to wear the green shoes". She LOST it. Started screaming and crying. I said "Green shoes, Buggins", and she kept on screaming, only LOUDER. She lay down on the floor and screamed bloody murder. Finally, I started pounding my fist in the air yelling "WANT PINK SHOES!!! WANT PINK SHOES!! I WANT PINK SHOES!!!! I WANT PINK SHOES!!! " And sure enough, she stopped crying, walked over to me, crawled on my lap, and put those green shoes on HERSELF. Then walked away, happy as a clam.
So this is where I circle back to my main point, about infertile women. You're probably seeing where I'm headed with this. I've been spending all my time saying things like "Ohh, it's ok, there's always next month" and "Shhhh, just try to relax, I'm sure the doctors know what they are doing..." And I've been getting NOWHERE, as anyone who read this blog knows. What I SHOULD be doing is pumping my fist in the air, and, depending on the situation at hand, yelling "INFERTILITY SUCKS!! OUR DOCTOR SUCKS! SHOTS SUCK! THAT NURSE SUCKS!! IVF SUCKS! PREGNANT WOMEN SUCK!!!"
It seems so simple....yet brilliant. My wife wants me to empathize with her situation, not necessarily fix it. I hear her complain about a problem, and my first instinct is to a) solve the problem, or b) minimize the importance of the problem.
I clearly can't do A, and attempting B is a surefire way to get my ass kicked.
So I've started yelling right along with her, and it really seems to making a huge difference. It's like a Jedi-mind trick.
I'm thinking of growing a scraggly half-beard.
p.s. Took the buggins to the Dr. today. No sign of a UTI, so who knows what the story is with the "boo boo". Could be the effects of too much time spent watching "Elmo's Potty Time" video.