Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Soothing

Once upon a time, I saw a therapist to help me learn to cope with my lifelong obsession with sickness and death. One of the first things she asked me was how I self-soothed as a baby or child.

Me: [blank gaze] "Um, smoking?"

Therapist: "No, dear...as a child or baby. What self-soothing techniques did you employ?"

Me: [blank gaze] "Second-hand smoking?"
(My mom just stopped following my blog)

I had no idea. I had no idea what self-soothing even was, but I knew - KNEW - that it was important. As a result, I am fascinated and focused on Sabrina's self-soothing techniques.

She is so good at self-soothing that I fear she may not have been our embryo after all.

Early on she decided her thumb was more convenient than a pacifier (and she is so right about that. No one has to pick her thumb up and put it in her mouth). She was a great sleeper early on because she was able to soothe herself back to sleep.

Recently she's been employing a very entertaining technique, an offshoot of blowing raspberries but without the spit. Basically just making noise with her mouth, which she finds insanely entertaining (as do we). If she's tired an unable to make her lips move the way she wants, she'll just make them move with her fingers. She's so resourceful.

Which led me to wonder, when do we stop doing these things that make us feel better, and why do we stop?

Wouldn't we have a nicer, calmer society if we were able to continue to do these things that soothe us and make us feel better? Wouldn't a pacifier be better than cigarette or a cheeseburger? Wouldn't blowing raspberries be preferable to downing a fifth of vodka?

Imagine a stressful business meeting today. Tensions rise. Bob gets up and slams a door. Samantha rushes out for a cigarette. Alan watches the clock and counts the minutes until their after work cocktail. Elizabeth starts yelling at everyone.

Now imagine if we just did what babies do and soothed ourselves. Would it be so bad if Samantha and Elizabeth just popped a pacifier into their mouths when they started getting upset? What if Bob just started blowing raspberries? Surely Alan could suck his thumb and feel better as well.

Wouldn't we all be more pleasant adults if we just kept doing these things throughout life?

We'd just need to work on that sharing thing. But come on, most adults are pretty bad at sharing anyway, aren't they?

5 comments:

A said...

Sabrina sounds so adorable! Funny insight too :o)

CB said...

Think I'll go buy myself a paci now. ;) Great blog... I just came across it... love the 'Smug Marrieds' post... Spot on!!

Jamers said...

If you ever see me sucking my thumb, you'll know why!

Sandy said...

Oscar self-soothes by dismantling his crib.

Alison said...

As much as I LOVE blowing raspberries... I like vodka a *little* bit more!! ;)