Those of you who know my parenting philosophies know that we do not practice CIO (cry it out). I believe that babies cry because they NEED something and that a parent's role is to respond to that need. Now, that does not mean that when an almost 4-year old whines, "Just/one/more/Scooby/Doo!!!!" she is supposed to get it! She of course gets told, "We agreed on one." But true, genuine crying, in infants in particular, warrants attention.
That said, I do also believe that crying is sometimes a tool humans have to cope with the stresses and strains of life, a tool that should not be stifled. I try to never tell my children, "Don't cry!" That is different from my patented, "Hush down!" when they are screaming for more milk when I'm on the phone with the kitchen contractor. Anyway, back to my point about "Don't cry..." I want them to be able to experience their emotions as they happen, to let the feeling wash over them, to take over them. And I want them to be able to cry to let go. What adult has never buried her face in a pillow and just wailed, let it all out? Yet, when small children cry so often we comfort them, rocking them, saying, "Don't cry..."
Tonight Alex fell asleep just after dinner. And then Gregg went to bed an hour or so later. Greggie was WOUND UP! She was running and jumping and babbling and dancing and singing. I thought, you know what? She is TIRED! That is why she is acting so WILD! So I carried her in and turned the lights off. She laid in my arms on the bed and SCREAMED. I mean HOWLED. No words. Just primal expressions of... of... of what??? She was still as could be and just bellowing and sobbing. I just laid by her and let her let go. Let go of the frustrations of the day (of which I'm sure there are many -- the scratch on her neck because "Poodle pinched me" being just one), let go of the stresses of a 2-year old life. Within 5 minutes she was silent, sleeping. Calmly breathing, as peaceful as Walden Pond. That's a CIO I can get behind.