Friday, September 07, 2007

Baby Breakdowns and Mommy Meltdowns

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.

Total disaster.

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 Ehhhnt, sorry, Dream Baby's not here right now; she's been replaced by Nap Nightmare Baby, who likes to be paid attention to all day and might fake falling asleep after 20 minutes of holding but will cry immediately upon contact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.


Anila said...

Cranky babies are hell at anytime !
The worst part is figuring out why .....could be she is teething , could be any reason..unknown.
Hope you alle are doing fine again ;-)

Chuck and Jenny said...

Sorry I got a kick out of this, only because misery loves company! We have to be very careful with Josh because he is so very easily overstimulated. A trip to the store can send him in a tailspin if it's busy! So I know your overstimulated-meltdown pain. Oh, and the RNS bug hit our house yesterday too for some odd reason! Must have been because of all the talk about it. Glad she napped again for you!


~Hippie~ said...

In case Aaron hadn't told you yet, the final score was 13-42 with Waldport far behind the Bobcats.
However, in a sick and twisted way one of our guys got them back.
Sadly (No sarcasm) one of the Bobcat's players was caught wrong in a tackle.
Broken arm.
but wait, that's not all!
Broken leg.
Yea... That's gonna ruin his year.
Poor kid...
I just hope that the Waldport kids aren't all cocky about it.
Enemy as he was on the field, he's still just another kid.
Oh, and back to they baby.
Well... I can't say that I'm pro at babysitting, but I can offer a helping hand or the ability to sit with her for a few hours to let you guys get some stuff done if you'd like.
Just call me if you could use the help.
Glad to hear that you got your work done.
Income is pretty important.
Babies are great, but they're much more trouble when you don't have the money to feed/clothe them.

Anonymous said...

We dealt with RNS with all our sons, but it is worse with adoption because of the grieving. The one thing that helped our adopted son was if we put him in the carrier and took a walk... he'd konk out. Then I left him in the carrier while I sat at my computer (and typed around his sleeping bulk) or worked around the house. Sometimes a back carrier is the only way to live. I lost six pounds on walks.

They say it takes at least six months to transition the baby to her new home. Minimum. Things get markedly better after the first few, but our little guy has been home a year now, and it's a whole different world. This, too, shall pass.

Kendra said...

Wendy - you're not alone!

Rebekah didn't like naps, or bedtime, or any other form of sleep, for that matter. Sometimes I would just stick her in her crib and take a shower because the sound of the water drowned out the sound of her screaming at me for not holding her. Vacuuming was the backup for when Lake Michigan was running low after all that showering.

Anyhow, it (eventually) passes. Naps are valid wherever they happen: the baby swing, a playmat on the floor, carseat, middle of your bed, bouncy seat, etc.

Praying for good naps for Anna, and LOTS of patience and superhuman sleep-deprived mommy-skills for you!


Tiki said...

Kendra said it all...I would get one Twin to sleep and then the other would wake her up! Sometimes, you just couldn't help but cry! Everyone else was doing it!

I can only tell you what helped us...we would make sure the room was dark, always put the same CD on (so they knew it was nap time) (It's a Baby Beatles CD BTW) and just lay them down. Sometimes rubbing their back or bum, humming softly with the music. They still take their naps the exact same way at 2 1/2.

I feel your pain but want you to know that it just gets better and worse! Ha! Ha!

You're doing a great job and just trust in yourself...everything will work out and Anna will love you for just being her Mommy.


Pulaski said...

If she was this upset about a high school football game then this is a strong sign to keep her away from the Lions. That sort of upsetting trauma lasts a lifetime.

Amy said...

Oh gosh, I remember that RNS after about 3 weeks home. Roman just stopped sleeping during the day, period. I remember him in my lap in the rocking chair, screaming and crying because his body had touched the mattress, and I was crying just as hard because I was so exhausted and just wanted 30 MINUTES of quiet..... Yeah. It gets better. Much better.

RMMcDowell said...

Ellie still gets RNS. Wait, I shouldn't have told you that. And wait, maybe baby #2 was a bad idea! Ah, well. We'll all nap happily watching our Lions cruise to victory. Especially if Brett Favre is making records happen.