Last Friday we were excited to take Anna to her first football game, here at our very own Smallport High School. We love football season, and it was a perfect still-summer evening for small town sports.
Complete baby breakdown.
Walking in, she was fascinated. Sitting down, she was fine. Meeting a new teacher friend, okay...nope, crying. Being back with us helped some, but the sun was in her eyes and what's that sudden clapping noise and is that the voice of an angry duck god crackling down upon us?! I took her for a walk in the sling and she calmed down. I eased back into the stands gradually so she could get more used to the noise and lights. For a bit she was fine on my lap and looking at friends around us. But then she got upset again and I took her out again, and this time she wasn't going to let me even think about taking her back in there. Soon she was reaching total overstimulation meltdown and we had to bail out. She shrieked as if under pain of death all the way home--thankfully only a mile--and cried all the way through being changed into pjs until we gave her a bottle.
I sat there watching Aaron hold her and wanted to cry myself. What have I done? There goes all the attachment, all the efforts and goodwill and trust undone by the betrayal of a mommy who made her stay in that horrible place until after halftime.
She had been so upset before her bottle, she threw it up all over Aaron and herself. Bad, like Frankfurt-airport bad. (That story coming soon.) He hit the shower and I gave her a bath.
Voila! She was all smiles and giggles. Oh, life is so grand and Mommy and Daddy are so funny! That is, when they're not trying to kill me via the cruel and unusual torture of watching your team lose by 40 points.
This would be the happy ending to the story except that it marked the beginning of a long week of baby breakdowns and mommy meltdowns triggered by a sudden onset of Refusal to Nap Syndrome. RNS is common in homes where one parent works at home during the day, usually intensifying dramatically as the parent's tight nonnegotiable deadline approaches.
I'd gotten a slow start on my work project--trying to get my brain re-engaged and familiar with style rules and all--and desperately needed some nice chunks of quiet concentration time. Ehhhnt, sorry, Dream Baby's not here right now; she's been replaced by Nap Nightmare Baby, who likes to be paid attention to all day and might fake falling asleep after 20 minutes of holding but will cry immediately upon contact with any form of bedding.
Mommy Meltdown #1 came Tuesday afternoon. I was going insane because I couldn't concentrate to work, I couldn't make noise doing anything around the house, I couldn't even take a much-needed nap myself. And as deadline panic approached I didn't have the time/patience to hold her all day or listen to her fuss or monkey around with letting her cry, checking in at increasing intervals, and all that--plus I'm not willing to let my new child bawl her eyes out in a playpen alone anyway, for attachment reasons. Especially after Friday night's debacle.
Tuesday Aaron came home early to save me and got her conked out downstairs somehow. Maybe there was liquor involved; I don't want to know. Wednesday was just as bad--she napped 30 minutes total, until just before our Bible study, which is not really the optimal time. Of course she was an angel for the audience. Thursday I got an hour nap out of her and just let her be awake near me. At least then she was quiet.
Now, happy ending time: With a little sleep-deprivation of my own, I got my work done on time. Today she took two naps again. Tonight she was content in my sling until well into the second quarter. And she even smiled, because we were only down by 8.