The saddest childhood development stage ever is the moment you wonder, “Where did my sweet little baby go?”
The cooing, giggling, sighing, and long, sleepy cuddles are replaced with screaming, more screaming, louder screaming, followed by deafening screams. Today a friend said the last child is always the loudest. That settles it. We’re not having any more or else there will be no hearing for anyone in our family!
Does anyone know any talent agents for babies? I think mine could lay down an entire soundtrack for a horror movie.
This is basically how my day goes. I wake up next to her (the fact that she’s in my bed is another subject) and even though we cuddled all night and I might even spend the next hour singing to her, playing peek-a-boo, etc., she becomes extremely offended the second I lay her down, even if it’s just to change her diaper.
If I put her in her highchair, she screams.
If we’re on the couch together and I stand up, she screams. If I take three steps away from her, she screams twice as loud.
I can’t go to the bathroom without her screaming.
I can’t shower without her screaming.
I feel like I’m in the boot camp from Hell. Only I love the drill instructor so much!
So during the increasingly rare moments lately when she’s being really cute, I don’t dare mess with it. Or she might just start to get upset about something and sometimes we can do a quick save.
My 7-year-old: But it’s my bear!
Me: JUST GIVE HER THE BEAR! IF IT MAKES HER STOP SCREAMING, JUST GIVE IT TO HER!!!
You see that? I just told my 7-year-old to give in to her awful behavior. What kind of terrible mother am I? A desperate one whose day has been at least 80% screaming unless I listen to all of the well-meaning people who tell me dishes, laundry, and cleaning don’t matter because they’re only little for so long. So you’re OK with my family starving because there aren’t any clean dishes to cook with or eat on? I’m pretty sure you would prefer we all wear clean laundry. I would prefer my house be clean enough to not cause an infestation.
The other day I was feeding my baby and she decided she wanted to feed me back. It was adorable. Then I realized, “I am letting a 14-month-old move a fork towards my face. Anything could happen. She might do nothing other than drop some food and actually get some food in my mouth. Or without any warning, she might suddenly jab me in the eye. I’m so desperate for her not to scream, I am willing to maybe be stabbed in the face with a fork!”
I am willing to cuddle with her while I feed her because maybe she won’t get “that much” food on me.
I am willing to fall asleep on the couch with her in the most uncomfortable position until my arm is asleep and I accidentally fall asleep in the process. Today I had a dream I was taking a bath in our clogged kitchen sink and my arm felt all weird as I was trying to pull things out of the drain. Turns out it was because my arm was asleep. I was so disoriented from my sleep deprivation, I wasn’t sure where I was and had a fun sleep paralysis attack. I have had multiple dreams lately about being exhausted. All I want to do in my dream is lie down and go to sleep. That’s right. I’m so tired, I’m tired in my sleep!
My sleep deprivation has turned me into a complete wuss. I keep thinking about the book “The Miracle Worker” where Helen Keller is an out of control child because her family lets her act that way. She can run around grabbing whatever food she wants and eating like a savage because her family figures it’s her only joy in life and she’s not capable of being disciplined because she can’t hear or see. Then hero Anne Sullivan swoops in and lays down the law: This child can learn and she can follow rules!
I need to channel my inner Anne Sullivan. Or the mom I was when I got more than four hours of sleep per night. With my previous toddlers, I told my older children, “Don’t give in to their screaming!”
Maybe you’re wondering, “How are you even writing this?” Because I nursed her to sleep while typing. It’s now 12:21am. Her body is on my lap. Her head is on my wrist. And she’s kind of pinned between my abdomen and the edge of my desk. Probably neither of us is comfortable, but she’s comfortable enough to sleep through it.
I’m going to take her upstairs to our bed now where eventually our bodies will form the letter H. Of course, the middle part of the H will be kicking the other two parts, whining, and kicking off the blanket. Why is she so anti-blanket?! I think she’s superhuman. It can be totally cold in our room and she doesn’t care.
In summary, if you have a toddler and you:
a. Look like a zombie
b. Are covered unnecessarily in food
c. Let your toddler aim a sharp object at your face
d. Let them get away with murder
e. Haven’t slept in like two years
You have toddler-induced desperation like me. Wuss! I mean, I’m sorry. Let’s be friends!