OMG! I don't like using this phrase, but when my 1yo cries and screams, I feel like ripping my ears off or hiding under the covers and hibernating, yikes! For the most part, he cries and screams for a reason, whether it be he's tired, hungry, teething, or punchy and fussy, but the reasons don't make it feel any better. My DH do our best to help him feel better. We take turns gently rocking him. We play with him, feed him, change his diapers, put Hyland's teething gel on his gums, chamomile oil on his cheeks, and massage his cheeks, we give him teethers, which he likes using at times, but not when he's miserable. It can feel very overwhelming and we feel like crying. Please Great Spirit forgive me for saying this, though I have a feeling I'm in good company, but I love being his Mama and I'm very deeply grateful, but there are moments when I'd like to take a vacation to the Moon and stay there! :( I imagine that many Mamas cope by drinking, but I have never drunk and still don't. We are intimate have sex when we can, but we're not able to do that as often as we'd like. Thank goodness for comedy and great distracting entertainment on TV and of course SproutTV is great, which he loves. Our 14 month old Michelangelo is the loving light of our life and we love and care and adore him, but the stress really takes its toll on us and we're a very mature couple - DH is 48 and I'm 43 and our lo is our 1st after 21 years of marriage. I'm feeling very tired, but what I'm very much in need of right now is caring kind loving support and hugs. Caring gentle suggestions are always welcome. Sometimes, I just feel the need to talk and vent and I need caring kind good listeners. Thank you.
How do you cope with screaming and crying, especially when you're tired and stressed?
I am not an AP goddess here. I have two kids and a certain amount of protective laziness. There are lots of reasons why parents need to protect their sanity and preserve their energy.
I am so sorry for what you're going through. And forgive me for putting it this way - I know you don't drink, and I can think of lots of good reasons to keep up with that. I didn't drink either, on the basis that I wanted to have the full, un-sullied sensory experience of my entire life. And then there was teething - WOW, was I glad to take the edge off of that. The handy thing about not having drunk a lot previously, and keeping it light now, is that a glass of wine does the trick. Drinking like Don Draper gets expensive.
On a more serious, less potentially incendiary note: It sounds like, when your toddler hits this, you and your husband engage with him, hard core, and try and do a ton of things to comfort him. Is it possible that this is backfiring? I don't think you should ignore his real needs, but sometimes toddlers cry because they're overstimulated, and if that's the case, diving in with rocking and teethers and massage and checking every last thing may not help. Sometimes, they need to be put in the stroller and given the chance to fall asleep in the fresh air. Or some quiet time in a dim room. When my DH was left alone with a kid this age, he would pre-emptively offer food every two hours, and as pushy as I sometimes felt he was being, it was not a bad plan. Toddlers aren't great at self-care or communication, so it can just be tough. (Have you seen this: http://thehonesttoddler.com/?)
I'd suggest baby motrin or tylenol for teething (some people have objections, and they will surely present them to you, my argument is "generally considered safe, and was effective with my kids"). I am not a big homeopathy fan, but that's almost beside the point: if the hyland's stuff doesn't make your kid feel better, move on.
My last suggestion? Find a babysitter, and take that husband of yours on a date. Have dinner someplace fun. Get both of you a break, while your darling baby wraps a local teenager around his fingers, and the local teenager uses her fantastic adolescent energy to wear him out. And remember that babies aren't the only people who need quiet time in a dim room now and then.
I'm in the middle of crazy screaming and crying all day since my 1.5 year old is cutting 3 molars right now. I'll forget that I do this down the line when things aren't so hard, but since I'm in the thick of it I can honestly say that I "check out" on some level. I detach myself a bit from it and become robo-mom because if I don't, I'll blow up at my baby and be super pissed. I know that sounds totally horrible, but I didn't do this with my first and there was a lot of screaming and guilt and I don't want to go down that road again. I am with him 24/7 with the co-sleeping and being a SAHM. My husband puts him to bed and feeds him dinner, but he's with me the rest of the time. It's relentless and I get resentful if I don't check out a bit and then keep reminding myself that it won't last forever and I'll miss this time with him one day. So not the best solution, but it's working out much better than the yelling and screaming. :)
Also, I eat lots of chocolate in the evening when he's in bed. I've given up on trying to lose those last 5 pounds of baby weight because the chocolate makes everything MUCH better.
I also second the suggestion for infant Tylenol. We used it very sparingly but there were times when nothing else did any good but it took the edge off enough to let her sleep.
The suggestion to have a little adult time is also great and I agree 100%. You need a little maintenance and even if kiddo isnt particularly happy, give yourself permission to have a little space so you can be a lovely engaged mommy when you come back.
I also agree with the chocolate - it's my drug of choice lol.
Anyways, hang in there but take care of yourself and don't take it personally! Do what you can and know that most toddlers have difficult phases, whether it's teething or developmental milestones or whatever. Hopefully this will pass soon and you'll have a happy kiddo again soon
"How do you cope with screaming and crying, especially when you're tired and stressed?"
- Very poorly! Sad but true! I so wish I was that mom who had the patience of Job but I don't. My DD seems to be at her worst with me. Especially when I am doing something that needs my immediate attention, like something is on the stove. I live in a high rise and I now often resort to just opening the balcony door and letting her run around out there, which gives me 5 minutes to finish cooking what I'm cooking without burning down the house!
I know how stressful this is, b/c I too suffer from this. Sometimes I feel like snapping and yelling at my daughter, "What the hell is your problem now?" But instead of hell, I want to insert the F word. Of course I do not yell at her. I simply take a deep breath and try to speak to her in a calming voice. But, that doesn't work. So, your guess is as good as mine. I can tell you unfourtnatly, it doesn't get better. My daughter is 2 now, and cries a lot still. She cried a lot as a baby. Now she can tell me more what she wants. But when she doesn't get what she wants, the crying continues. :(
I get tunnel vision.
"What...can I do...to make this child...stop crying?!?!..."
The answer is usually that my 1 year old needs to sleep. Like an above poster said, throw your checklist out the window. Stop with all those choices. I do a
"Are you wet? Need to nurse? No? Ok, you need to sleep" check and then I throw her on my back in the Ergo and ignore the screams, try to walk around doing something useful and wait for her to knock out.
I breath extremely slowly at this point, too. I know she can feel my jittery vibes, so I try giving off "calm" vibes even when I am dying to run off screaming.
I have had times where I wanted to pull my hair out over the screaming but I know she's tired and I too will toss her on my back in the sling and go about my business and generally she falls asleep. As a dog trainer I have an immense amount of patience...but noises, repetitive screaming noises, are my kryptonite :-P If carrying and nursing and everything else fail and it's a night where DH is in the firehouse, to prevent myself from losing it, I will put her in her bed and walk away in spite of the fit, even go outside for fresh air if need be. Usually 5mins of tourture leads to sleep, and if not, the 5mins away give me time to breathe before I go and get her and bc I'm not stresssed anymore, she settles down.
How much alone time do you get? Are you taking care of yourself?
We are human beings, and that rule about put on your own oxygen mask before helping a child put on theirs is just how it is in everyday life too!
I see too many mamas who don't give themselves the care they need, which means having some time just for you to do whatever helps you recharge, or escape, or relax, or whatever you need. If you have a partner then you can take some time evenings, or weekends or whenever he's home to watch the baby. I personally get one night a week off and either go to a cafe and read, or go to a dance class. We also have a couple babysitters and go out as a couple about 1-3 x / month. The next door neighbor is 16 and comes one afternoon a week as a "mother's helper" and I can either get something done in the house or just relax while she plays with our boy. Grandparents can also be a real lifesaver for this, as can aunts, uncles, or even a friend whom you trade childcare with. There are loads of options, many for free, for childcare so you can get some time for yourself.
This is one way to reduce tiredness and stress. I also recommend Dr. Laura Markham's website for loads of tips about taking care of yourself and emotional regulation and how to stay in control when you feel like exploding. http://www.ahaparenting.com/
Good luck! We've all been there!
Well today was another doozy. It's actually gotten a bit better, but today that all went down the toilet. I really think it's the crazy teething that goes on this time in their life. Before, it was the molars coming in, but now I think it's his canines. He cried and pulled at me and nursed and yelled and then cried some more today. I'm thinking I need to invest in bigger supplies of chocolate.
Children are children, and they will cry, but it's not really truly sustainingly natural to cry all the time. Sabertooth tigers eat crying children. It's not in our DNA to do this (I'm a geneticist, so I really do feel this way, as silly as it sounds in layman terms). So....something is being missed here. There's pain that needs to be medicated (naturally or synthetically, whichever you choose), or attention is not being given in the way that he wants it (like, a major shift in the activities of the day needs to happen, etc), or he is intuitively feeling -your- frustration and is feeding off of that... there's something going on if he really is screaming-all-the-time. Gut pains, reflux pains, hunger pains, fear, it's gotta be something ... My DD got her 1 and 2 year molars, and she hurt, but she didnt cry all the time. They can be whiny, and annoying, and up and down and such (for a few days) but crying/nursing/crying again? That's something else. Has to be. We're not genetically programmed to cry all day/every day.