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My wife and I have our first child, a daughter. She’s great, but does what babies often do — cry/scream, often in the middle of the night.We live in a townhouse with thin walls. I feel bad for our neighbours, who have young children of their...

How should I apologize for my crying baby?: Ellie | Toronto Star

My wife and I have our first child, a daughter. She’s great, but does what babies often do — cry/scream, often in the middle of the night.We live in a townhouse with thin walls. I feel bad for our neighbours, who have young children of their...

How should I apologize for my crying baby?: Ellie | Toronto Star

My wife and I have our first child, a daughter. She’s great, but does what babies often do — cry/scream, often in the middle of the night.

We live in a townhouse with thin walls. I feel bad for our neighbours, who have young children of their own. I’m worried that our daughter’s cries from powerful lungs are waking them.

We asked about it when we met them outside and they seem understanding.

But I’m not sure whether we should formally apologize, go over with a bottle of wine, buy them a white noise machine to put in the room on the other side of the wall, or something else.

New Parents

Your consideration for others is admirable. Since your neighbours have young children, they’ve surely also experienced some loud crying episodes in the night.

Your idea of giving them a bottle of wine after a difficult night will be appreciated.

Meanwhile, you’ve joined a large club of first-time parents and could use some reassurance that the initiation rites of sleeplessness don’t go on forever.

If possible and desirable, invite those understanding neighbours over and share some wine, coffee, whatever, while you chat about the joys and trials of bringing up baby.

You’ll find, through years of child rearing, that gathering information is always worthwhile.

Don’t hesitate to also check with your baby’s doctor if the crying seems too frequent or reflects pain.

Also, read some contemporary experts on parenting and if you feel you need more guidance, consider taking a parenting course.

My mother is extremely self-centred and has relationships only as a means to an end.

She repeatedly cancels plans because something better has come up.

She’ll also bluntly say she was too busy to return a call.

A year ago, she told me she could spend the rest of her life never seeing me or talking to me.

I was a little stunned, but very hurt. Some of my siblings get treated the same way and some don’t.

She doesn’t work, have a partner, or any friends. Her world revolves around three of my siblings and their children.

I was still making an occasional effort to see her but recently decided to stop setting myself up for repeated rejection.

The last time we spoke, I said, “let me know when you’re free so we can get together.”

It’s been six months of no contact, not even over Christmas. Your comments?

Done with Mom

If you’re looking for permission or approval of your disengagement from your mother, you don’t need it.

You’re an adult who’s tried, reassessed and emotionally withdrawn.

But if you’re thinking it’s OK to cut all ties forever, that’s not so easy or wise.

Things change. She’ll get older and won’t understand why you don’t seem to care (it’s part of her self-absorbed nature to not recognize her part in pushing you away).

Your siblings who are close to her will have opinions on all this, and you may not be emotionally comfortable being misjudged, or losing touch with all of them.

However, taking “a break” from expectations about getting together is healthy for a while.

If trying to reconnect (briefly) becomes something you can handle, contact her. Also, ask your other siblings how she’s doing. You’re part of a large family and they need to know that you’ve tried.

There’s no guarantee she’ll respond as you wish, but I believe that you and your relatives need to know the effort was made.

Tip of the day

As new parents, check with the baby’s doctor and seek information on any persistent and worrisome behaviours.

Read Ellie Monday to Saturday. Email ellie@thestar.ca or visit her website, ellieadvice.com.

Follow @ellieadvice.

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