You guys. I think my baby might be in the midst of a rare and feared parenting un-holy grail. We are in a Bermuda triangle of baby dramz. A trio of pain. A triumvirate of horror. We are simultaneously experiencing the three things that can most disrupt a baby's normal routine and turn them instantly and without warning into a GIANT DEMON GREMLIN BABY(that's right I said it).
If you read the title of this post and are a parent who has navigated the first year of a baby's life, it probably drove deep and total fear in your heart. Because there are three things that happen frequently and somewhat predictably during that first year that without fail ruin all of the carefully worked for routines and calm that you have previously established. These three things are why moms look forward to a 5pm glass of wine like it is the sustenance of life. They're why we go through bulk cases of k-cups of coffee from Costco in a matter of weeks. It's why we make endless trips to Target, just for a brief, flourescent lit reprieve from the madness.
As a new mom, every. single. time. you feel like you've gotten your shit more or less together that first year, one of these three things come into your life like an unwelcome house guest who farts on your couch and drinks milk straight from the carton.
There's the Wonder Weeks, which I have discussed previously. The name makes it sound adorable and magical, like a whimsical rainbow of fun. It's not. In case you don't know it's when your baby is about to learn a new skill and for whatever reason this developmental leap makes them more dramatic and histrionic than all of the Real Housewives combined. They last for weeks. They happen over and over again the first year like some kind of cruel joke. There's a "fun" app that lets you see on a little table when this leaps will likely occur the first year, and it basically is a cartoon calendar of when your life is going to suck. This, THIS, is what we're dealing with people.
Then there's teething. You know what I never realized until I became a parent. There are WAY too many teeth in the human mouth. Why do we need so many teeth?! Okay fine, there's that whole chewing and digestion function, not to mention a defense mechanism in a pinch. But really!? Do we really need THAT many teeth. Especially when they're baby teeth and are all going to fall out anyway. Is this some kind of sick joke that the human mouth is born without teeth and that they come in, one by painful one over the course of more than a YEAR? And each one is accompanied by buckets of drool and babies whose poor little gums hurt and have no coping mechanisms and will channel their pain into a desire to destroy their parent's lives.
And finally we have sleep regressions, the cruelest of them all. Here's how The Baby Sleep Site defines sleep regressions: "A sleep regression describes a period of time (anywhere from 1 – 4 weeks) when a baby or toddler who has been sleeping well suddenly starts waking at night, and/or skipping naps (or waking early from naps) for no apparent reason."
Awesome right? But just, really WHY?!? That is literally the only thing I can say about sleep regressions. Especially if you are a parent who has had to work to get their babies to sleep, a regression can feel like someone punching you in the face and then kicking you down a flight of stairs. And like the Wonder Weeks, sleep regressions happen A LOT the first year, but major ones tend to happen at 4 and 8 months.
These three things are just the worst right? The pits. The bottom of the barrel. A sick joke. And somehow, at this moment, I have landed into a heap of all three of them. Ryland is teething something awful. She is also right on the verge of crawling (she tries SO hard, but currently can only get her butt in the air in an excellent downward doge pose) so I think she is going through a pretty big Wonder Week. And, just because there has to be something else, she is 8 months old and I think hitting the sleep regression HARD.
I think for some babies, these three things can happen in varying degrees of difficulty. Mild mannered babies I would imagine may sail through these things with mere blips in their temperament or habits. I love my dear sweet Ryland. But she is NOT a mild mannered baby. There is nothing mild or mannered about her. She is a pistol, full of sass and spit fire and stubborness. She has been since she made her mother push for FIVE hours to enter this world, and even then only did it with the help of FORCEPS.
So for her, each of these events are not blips, but rather massive earthquakes in her little baby life. And right now my friends we are experiencing three simultaneous earthquakes. She's pretty much stopped napping entirely (for several days now). If she does nap it's for like 15 minutes. She's also the last few nights fought bedtime sleep which she hasn't done in MONTHS. Last night she was up from 8-10pm and I finally had to give her a bottle and tylenol before she settled down. Her daytime mood is hit or miss, but definitely more volatile than it was a few weeks ago. I drove home from my parents house the other night and she cried hysterically for the ENTIRE 25 minute drive.
Baby life is rough right now my friends. Ryland pretty much lives in a glass case of emotion. My only consolation is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This evil trio of awfulness will come to a stop (granted it will start back up again many more times in the next few months, but if I think too much about that I may run away to Fiji). There will be a reprieve (I hope?) And until there is, here's how we are coping.
-Coffee. ALL the coffee. And then when all the coffee has been drunken (drank? as an English major I should know), I find more.
-Wine. You know those jumbo bottles of Pinot Grigio. I think this is why they were invented.
-Trips to Target. Apologies to my husband for next month's Target bill.
-Tylenol. I do not advocate over medicating infants, but I am an RN and my reaction to problems/pain is to find solutions. When it's pretty obvious my daughter is hurting because a little tooth is working its way in, I am going straight for the good stuff. Tylenol works beautifully. It's a wonderful medication (if you use it as directed, do not give more than the max dosage in 24 hours or you can have serious liver consequences!).
-Cold stuff to gnaw on. Because duh.
-Extra snuggles and love.
-Letting her destroy my magazines.
-A promise to not guilt trip her (too) much over these times when I am feeble and old and want to come live with her instead of go to an old folk's home.
So with a little coping, we'll get through it. The baby will have new teeth and new skills to show for all of this. Her mother will have more wrinkles and a possibly an unhealthy dependence on caffeine and Pinot. But that's parenting right?
Have any of you guys ever experienced a triple whammy of baby drama? Any tips/advice/coping mechanisms I haven't mentioned? Favorite wines ;)? Would love to hear!
I'm a thirty-something mom of two, wife, pediatric RN, and writer with a passion for all the big and little things in life.