Bad Mamma Blues
I was overcome during Ethan’s bath last night, thinking about how rough this week has been.
The amount of crying involved has been unsurmountable.
My precious, independent, easy going bitty boy has rocked my world with his shrieks, screams, and heart-wrenching sobs. He has clung to me like the baby monkeys on the Discovery Channel—I could be swinging through trees and he would remain securely attached.
Monday was probably the most trying day of the last 13 months (it didn’t’ help that I was in PMS-ville) because in addition to the uber-fussiness, it marked our second
scream-fest swimming lesson ending in us LEAVING the pool so as not to ruin the fun for the other babies. It’s amazing how screams echo in a natatorium.
Tuesday was a little better but hard, Wednesday even Stu got to witness a random breakdown, and yesterday my brain could barely function from sheer mental exhaustion. It’s unbelievable what constant crying will do to a person!
Yes, there were happy moments when Ethan would play, smile, laugh, and practice standing/walking like a normal day. But the rest of the time we were dealing with a mixture of tantrums and totally-out-of-the-blue crying hysterics. I’ve tried to stay strong and not pick him up during his rants and pathetic grabs at my legs…I don’t want him to think these actions get him attention.
But it is SO hard.
All you want to do is pick up your sad baby, not only because it will make him feel better but also because it is a sure-fire way to STOP THE CRYING. But here I am, trying to talk to him, distract him, anything to get him to stop crying for a second so I can feel good about scooping him up.
After a tantrum at gym daycare on Wednesday (kid had a pudding, Ethan decided he wanted that pudding even though he doesn’t know what pudding is) we went home and I fed the tasmanian-devil-of-a-child—he just couldn’t calm down. During his much-needed nap I frantically started reading a much procrastinated book on my list, Happiest Toddler on the Block.
I’ve never read anything so fast. Shaking from my workout and lack of lunch, I devoured pages as if they were Coconut M&Ms (if you haven’t tried them, you aren’t fully understanding this analogy).
Dr. Karp explains the craziness going on in a one-year-old’s head and how, when mixed with their inability to communicate, sends them into a red-zone of temporary insanity. I read about the all-knowing Dr. Karp’s “Toddlerese”, “Fast-Food Rule”, “Clap-Growl”, “Kind Ignore” and more, all while thinking there is no way Ethan is ready for this stuff. Everything makes sense, sounds great, must work because this guy is good. But putting it into practice…that’s another story. Getting through to your raging toddler is so hard! Especially when you don’t know why they are upset in the first place. But I’m beginning to use the techniques—with my fingers severely crossed.
Still in denial that this is “normal”, we went to the doc and ruled out ear infection—she said he looked fine. He has a little runny nose but no fever or cough. He’s eating normally (for a 13 m-0 nothing involving food is really “normal” since he loves something one minute and hates it the next). I’ll be limiting his diet for the next few days to see if it’s food-related as he hasn’t been as “regular” as usual.
So, in a nutshell, I’m feeling like a really bad mamma. I’m not saying this to illicit comments of “No you aren’t!” or “You are a great mom!” I’m saying this because it’s really how I feel. Though I spend every moment with The Peanut, would do anything for him, and do my very best every day to make him grow strong and happy, I still feel as though I’m causing this behavior and distress. How can we NOT feel this way as moms? Isn’t it just part of the whole child-rearing experience?
I’m completely aware it is irrational, but I have this sinking feeling that I’ve missed the boat on something…what activity did I forget to do with him? What crucial development toy does he not have? What nutrient is he missing from his diet? What attention have I not shown him?
So there I was at the side of the bath, watching Ethan happily splash with his toys with a look of “Who me? Cry? Freak out? NO, I’m the happiest boy!” My thought was that a warm bath might help ease any possible tummy trouble. And right when my feelings of ineptitude reached their peak and the tears started to flow…
Ethan pooped in the tub.
**Don’t feel too bad for me…tub has been bleached and tears have been dried. I just thought you may get a kick out of my story. :)