I am losing my effing MIND.
Once upon a time, I had a baby who rarely cried. She smiled and coo’d and was almost ALWAYS agreeable. She napped twice a day and slept (mostly) through the night. She laughed and amused herself. She was SUPER social, loved being around lots of people. It was so unusual for her to cry that I even snapped a picture of her doing so once, just to show people. She was the PERFECT baby.
That was until last week when she turned 10 months old. She is STILL super social, but now she CRIES AND BEGS FOR ME TO PICK HER UP CONSTANTLY. Her shriek is so high pitched, it could break windows.
To add more fuel to the fire, I’ve been told by my doctor that I cannot pick her up for six weeks because my back is out- I haven’t complied. I just pop a pill and grin through the pain.
I’ve done EVERYTHING that the new-fangled attachment parenting books tell you to do (and mostly the opposite of how her brothers were raised 2 decades ago).
-she never ‘cried it out’
-I sleep within arm’s reach of her, her pack n play is next to my bed.
-when I attempted the ‘baby led weaning’ stuff, she decided to wean herself to curries and pizza
-she fell asleep every time with a simple “Frere Jacques” lullabye and some classical music in the background
All of this worked (and worked well) until this last week when she MORPHED into a demanding, crying, fit-throwing, entourage-needing diva.
It started with a BANG.
I am never called by my full name (Jessica). Never. It’s ALWAYS “Jess” or “Mom” or what-have-you.
Somehow I ticked Maisie off last week and did not come to her fast enough and was rewarded with her SCREAMING “JESSSSS-IIII-CAAAA!!!” clearly and OVER AND OVER.
I was shocked.
FIRST of all, how in the HELL does this child even know my first name?!
Secondly, where did she learn to throw a fit like that?????!
Suddenly, every time someone would leave the room, she’d SCREAM LIKE IT WAS A PERSONAL AFFRONT TO HER.
If folks walked by our house, with their strollers and dogs- perfect strangers, mind you- she’d lose her SHIT. “How DARE they not stop by the house?!”
Yes, I KNOW this must be the ‘separation anxiety’ stage, but DAMN.
The struggle is real.
I want to preface this by saying I am NOT the most patient person I know. I wish I was. I am much better than I was with my older boys, this is certain. Older age has some benefits.
If my parents are here, sitting on my front porch, she will insist that they sing to her while she dazzles them with her superior dancing skills- this kid is a dancing fool and she can’t even WALK. Unless Papa walks away to get coffee or pee, she’s perfectly happy and all smiles.
If I tell her I will dress her up and ‘go to Aunt —‘s house’, she stops long enough to get a pretty dress on, to fuss in the mirror, and ask for lipstick, too (I am NOT KIDDING. SHE’S 10 MONTHS OLD AND DOING THIS!).
My cousin Morgan, who is a SAINT, came over yesterday (and stayed til 3 am) and helped out by singing/playing guitar/helping me get her to bed- and by making me drink some wine to calm my frazzled nerves. Maisie was dancing and singing and enjoying herself, as usual.
Honestly, I CANNOT throw a cocktail party or a hootenanny every time this kid is bored. It’s just not a do-able thing.
Morgan has three sons, who are roughly around the age of my youngest boy. They are wonderful, well-adjusted, loving children.
Morgan: “You know, letting her cry a little bit and soothe herself won’t kill her…”
She proceeded to instruct me on leaving for 5 minutes, then coming back, and repeating, yadda.
My rational mind can agree and comprehend this, but my irrational mommy bits say:
“OMG, you horrible mother, pick her up and FIX THIS!”
At the same time, my brain is ALSO screaming:
“If I don’t walk out of this room RIGHT.THE.FUCK.NOW. I WILL THROW MYSELF OUT OF THE NEAREST WINDOW”
I guess you could say I had forgotten about this part of child-rearing.
When I did as Morgan instructed- Maisie miraculously fell asleep within FIVE MINUTES.
I think a few things are going on here, besides the separation anxiety part:
– She’s teething. Baby Motrin, little teething tablets, a teething necklace- I’m doing all of it.
– She IS a little spoiled.
– She’s bored (I think this is a huge part)
As my dad said, when he first witnessed her meltdowns (and I’m paraphrasing here):
Papa: “I was wondering when this was going to happen. It was inevitable.”
To ANY parents/grandparents/people who are reading this:
HOW DO *YOU* (or DID you) handle this type of thing/separation anxiety phase?
I’ve received great advice on distractions, toys, and other things I could give her in lieu of carrying her around from a few friends. I am in serious need of input. Any advice would be INCREDIBLY APPRECIATED.
Found some terrific articles online that I will be trying out ASAP.
If any readers out there are in the same boat as me, they’ve given me a glimmer of (sane) hope!
On the “screaming phase”
“Why your 9 month old is so difficult all of a sudden”