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Tips, Ideas, ANY ADVICE NEEDED! My once-placid baby has turned into a screaming, crying diva this week!

this was once such a rare occurrence that I snapped this photo just to prove that she cried sometimes

this was once such a rare occurrence that I snapped these photos just to prove that she cried sometimes

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?????!

the struggle is real

the struggle is real

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?!”

she calls out to strangers who walk by our house and tries to make friends

she calls out to strangers who walk by our house and tries to make friends- this time it worked.

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.

UPDATES:

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”
http://alphamom.com/parenting/baby/the-screaming-phase/
 

“Why your 9 month old is so difficult all of a sudden”

http://babyshrink.com/2010/why-your-9-month-old-baby-is-so-difficult-all-of-a-sudden 

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Maisie’s Newest Silver Baby Bracelets from Claire Lush Designs!

New Silver Cuff Bracelets from Claire Lush Designs!

New Silver Cuff Bracelets from Claire Lush Designs!

 

Got more baby jewelry swag in the mail today from Claire Lush Designs!

In today’s package, she received a V-shaped silver cuff and a heavier silver patterned cuff, plus two thin silver cuffs for a friend’s daughter.

They look ADORABLE on Maisie.  I had to move the Puravida bracelets over to the other hand, which is no mean feat when you have a squirming 10 month old.

A happy Maisie with Papa (my dad)

A happy Maisie with Papa (my dad)

My parents were here visiting, so photos were snapped with the kid only in her diaper and jewelry. She’s going through a “MAMAMAMAMAMAMA” phase and doesn’t want anyone but me usually, so it’s a good thing when people visit and she goes to them- gives me a slight break, which I sorely need.  She refused to nap for 2 days and finally went down for one this afternoon.

She only seems to have 2 speeds lately:  “Pick ME UP!” or “DANCE TIME!”

Here is a video of her dancing with my parents in the background:

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Parenting After 40: Nostalgia and Raising Baby on the Front Porch…

View of my hammock and front porch... where we spend most of our time

View of my hammock and front porch… where we spend most of our time

Raising a child these days is so different from when I had my ‘first brood’ of three sons 26-17 yrs ago. Life is so much faster, more ‘plugged in’ than it was when my boys were young.  All of the ‘mommy friends’ I have now are about the same age or a wee bit older than my oldest son. We make playdates, talk online, or text on Facebook. Other mothers discuss phone/tablet apps and other electronic entertainments for their kids- which leaves me a bit overwhelmed. I remember a slower, more face-to-face time- and I miss it.

I live in a huge 102 yr old house on the corner of a semi-busy residential street- not far from the beach and downtown. I’ve owned this house for many years and raised Maisie’s older brothers here. It is always in flux, always in a state of renovation or some sort of pleasant (and sometimes unpleasant) chaos. We have very little yard, so I utilize every square inch of it, gardening even the city tree lawn. I grow veggies in raised beds and roses everywhere else. We own three lazy, gigantic Newfoundland dogs who are always snoring away in some odd corner.

Miss Maisie with Tiberius, one of our newfs.

Miss Maisie with Tiberius, one of our newfs.

My favorite part of this house is the wide front porch-where people who visit sit, smoke (if they smoke, because I don’t allow that in my house), drink coffee, and chat till late in the summer evenings. Maisie plays on it and has a small swing she loves. I have a hammock addiction and hung one in the front, too. I love to lounge with the baby there on warmer summer days.

this is how Maisie meets new friends- she calls out to the moms pushing their strollers down the street...

this is how Maisie meets new friends- she calls out to the moms pushing their strollers down the street…

People ask me why I’d spend so much time in the FRONT of my house, where it is so public… I like people watching (and I also have no backyard to speak of). It reminds me of my childhood, when people were not so hidden away from each other.

sharing bread from the farmer's market up the street with her grandfather

sharing bread from the farmer’s market up the street with her grandfather

My family is loud and friendly and argumentative and we spend most of our summer days and nights out there, probably to the chagrin of our neighbors. Nowadays folks cloister themselves away in their houses or backyards, unless they’re walking dogs or pushing strollers. My family is one of the few in my neighborhood who use their front porch as a living space.

where most of the action happens

where most of the action happens

When I was a child, I grew up not far from where I lived now. In those days, it was common to see people outside on their porches in the evenings. Children played on the sidewalks, rode their bikes.  Parents and grandparents worked in their gardens. Neighbors laughed and talked after supper. Women would hang their wash in the backyards. Everything was noisier and more ALIVE.

I still do most of those things. Most folks do not. It makes me sad.

The stillness and silence of these neighborhood streets is so unnatural to those of us who remember how it used to be.

the town I live in- and where I grew up- circa 1950s-60s.  We used to have a very famous amusement park here.

the town I live in- and where I grew up- circa 1950s-60s. We used to have a very famous amusement park that was torn down in the early 1970s.

Only when our town has festivals or fireworks or something similar does it come alive again. Our population swells with the FIPs (that’s Michigander for “Fucking Illinois/Indiana People) and out of townies who become weekend/vacation residents. A lot of people complain about these times, but I don’t. I love it when I can see humans out and moving and not hiding away inside their homes like Mole People.

Maisie and one of her front porch fashion shows

Maisie and one of her front porch fashion shows

I love raising Maisie on our front porch, watching her try to interact with her grandparents and friends and other family members.  Our world is so different now- people are less connected, more plugged in to the virtual world. I want her to learn to socialize and to say “Hi!” and wave to the folks who pass by on the street. I want my child to understand what life can be without the internet and iPads and all the other things that children these days rely upon for entertainment.

I think this is one benefit of being a mother over 40.  I remember what childhood used to be like and want my daughter to celebrate and enjoy the simpler things- like connecting with loved ones on summer days on a front porch.

Other new parents over 40:

How do you think your parenting style differs from younger parents?  

Feel free to leave a message in the comments section.

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Pet Peeve #101- When Family Members REFUSE To Call My Child By Her Nickname: “Hello, My Kid’s Name is MAISIE”

THIS IS WHAT WE CALL OUR BABY

THIS IS WHAT WE CALL OUR BABY

**I will now take the time out to go on a full-on rant.  I am SO frustrated right now by this.**

When family members (not going to tell you WHICH side of the family) call and introduce my daughter as “MAYA” (her given name, but not used) when they KNOW that her nickname is “Maisie” and KNOW THAT she doesn’t come nor answer to anything else.

this is Maisie.

this is Maisie.

WHY?! Just because you don’t like her name??? Yes, I KNOW that her ‘real name’ IS INDEED “MAYA”. She can use that when she grows up.

WE call her “Maisie” and that is what everyone else should call her, too.

I love the nickname

I love the nickname “Maisie”

Why did I name her “Maya” and not “Maisie” to begin with?

Her FULL GIVEN NAME IS “Maya Scarlett Emmaline” or MSE= MAISIE.

Am I the only person who has this happen?!

Perhaps I should re-introduce this child to them and say:

“Hello, have you met my daughter? We call her Maisie. Maya is her given name and she isn’t old enough to respond nor understand”

“however, she DOES respond to MAISIE and it would be lovely if you would call her something that she’d answer to, as it is not your place to educate her on her given name”

“…and to avoid further confusion, we would like you to respect our wishes that she be called “MAISIE” – unless you are a representative of the federal government, the doctor’s office, the schools, or the social security administration”

EXAMPLE:

If my horse (if I had a horse) was called “Sunsets Of Gold Troll Bridge” and I decided to call him “Asshole”, that would be his name- maybe they’d understand that-

I should explain it perhaps in EQUESTRIAN TERMS if they don’t get the humanoid reasoning behind it.

honestly, though, if I had this horse I'd probably call him

honestly, though, if I had this horse I’d probably call him “Petticoat”- don’t ask me why

Now, on MY side of the family, for example, we have a long tradition of various given names and nicknames.

Nobody bats an eyelash, nobody causes a fuss.

I may not like what YOU call YOUR child, but I respect your wishes and call them the name that they (and you) are comfortable with.

**end rant**