Breakdowns galore

Don't let this angelic face fool you. Sister provided the worst ever crying episode that I've experienced as a mom last night, one that had me in tears and nearly admitted to the mental ward. This post is like the antithesis of my 'life is so awesome!' post about breakthroughs galore. Yes, we came crashing back down to a low point after that high.


So my mom has been here visiting us all week, which is nothing short of amazing, yet again. Having an extra set of hands for these kids is the best gift I could ever get and she is loving her some grand kid time. On Thursday, Truman went to daycare and I decided it would be a great opportunity for me to leave Cecelia with mom for a solid few hours to trial this idea of me being gone for 8 full hours at a time beginning next week. I had to go up to my office to prepare for work on Monday anyway, and mom said she was up for the challenge. Of all the scenarios I ran through my mind leading up to this trial, none of them could have been close to what really happened. It was the best of days, and also the worst of days. Am I being too dramatic already? Can't help it.

I tried to make that morning as similar to a work day as possible. I got up pretty early and showered, put on makeup (!), got Truman ready, nursed Cecelia and even ate breakfast. Truman and I left at 7:45 for Lori's house and it was pouring down rain---something we desperately needed but it really made for a gloomy, yucky day. Drop off went great and I headed up to the office, pumping in my car once I got there for my first 'return to the world of the pump' experience in my car. It was fine but I somehow got a TON of milk into the tubing and nearly broke my beloved pump. Not the best way to start off my career as a pumping mom this time, huh? Perhaps it was an omen of what was to come along with the dreary weather.

I spent 2 hours at work getting my PT brain up to speed. It sort of hurt to work that muscle again but it was nice to remember how to speak in professional language again instead of newborn and toddler talk. Then I checked in with mom and all was going really well---no meltdowns! She had taken an ounce of a bottle with a lot of work and patience on my mom's part, and she was napping. Perfect. So I decided to go for a run to push our time apart even more. After pumping in my car again, I got changed and went for a fantastic jog. Then I went to Starbucks to do more work stuff and treated myself to a hot coffee and a little sandwich. This day was turning out to be awesome! Called home again, Cecelia was up and happy (!!) and took another 0.5 oz. I was really hoping she'd get hungry enough to take even more and then I could relax about Monday at daycare, so mom said to keep running errands and she'd keep trying more milk at home. So basically, she twisted my arm into getting a pedicure at this point:) Rough life, indeed.

I got home at 2:00 and Cecelia had finished 2.5 more ounces, meaning she took an entire 4 ounce bottle in the 6 hours I was gone. PROGRESS, people, progress. I was stoked and couldn't wait to nurse little miss and cuddle her with proud mommy hugs. I figured she'd be hungry because 4 ounces is really not that much to eat in an entire morning, so I thought I'd be spending a lot of my time on the couch before I had to leave again for my previously scheduled hair cut.

But as soon as I took CC from my mom, anticipating a bonding nursing session and lots of smiles, girlfriend flipped a switch. She nursed for about 3 minutes then started crying. I figured she was tired because she hadn't napped in a while so I tried to bounce her to sleep. No luck. I opened up the iTunes visualizer on the computer and played her some DMB which quieted her down right away. Whew.

Then Nate and Truman walk in from daycare. I asked T how is day was and he immediately started to cry and wouldn't talk to me. Nate said Truman had a poopy accident and when Lori was changing him, he peed. Now in the 3 weeks we've been potty training this is the FIRST accident at daycare and it's pretty rare that he will have an accident at all, aside from the occasional/random 'I was too busy playing to care' mess. I tried to encourage Truman that it was okay and that everyone has accidents sometimes, but my poor sensitive boy was obviously very embarrassed and upset over this. Broke my heart.

It was time for me to go to my hair cut appointment and CC had started fussing again. So I handed her off to Nate and my mom started playing with Truman, and I held my breath as I left. I got my cute hair cut and when I called home I could hear the baby crying in the background pretty definitively. Mom said that she hadn't been too happy the whole time I was gone and Nate took her for a 1.5 hour walk which calmed her down and got her to sleep. But when they got home, she was pissed and angry again. Fantastic. I drove home as I felt my nerves building up to be assaulted by my daughter throwing a fit.

She had to be starving. She had to be exhausted. And I know she was sort of gassy from the bottles, since she is so inefficient with them and likes to play with the nipple way too much. She had to have swallowed a ton of air because sister was burping like an obese, bald man and farting like a teenage boy. I got home at 5 and literally from that moment until 7pm, Cecelia did not stop crying. Actually, I can't even call it crying---it was screaming, hysterics, total and pure meltdown central at our house. She would stop for maybe 5 seconds to catch her breath and then she'd start wailing again. I honestly thought that maybe a demon had possessed my little angel, because poltergeist didn't have anything on this little lady. None of my tricks worked, even the heavy hitters like walking outside and even trying a bath. She would NOT nurse---it was like she was so far gone over the edge that she couldn't even focus on sucking. I tried a baby massage, music, bouncing, the swing, handing her off to Nate and mom, laying her down....Every.Thing. And nothing worked. She was obviously pissed that we threw her schedule off so much with a bottle all day and was really making me pay for it now. Can you imagine shrill, high-pitched newborn cries that are a constant wail for two solid hours? Maybe you can. Maybe you've been there. But I had not and wish I hadn't because I'm obviously WAY too much of a wuss to handle that type of experience. It wasn't even just two hours, because she was basically crying for five off and on. You think she has strong opinions about the bottle?

But there is a funny part to this evening.

In the middle of this most epic meltdown, I came in from outside with a partially deaf right ear and heard mom say, 'Great! You have to poop, Truman? Let's go!' very enthusiastically. I heard them go into the bathroom, she took down his pants and got him on the toilet with a lot of praise, and then I heard mom say, 'OH!!!!' like she stepped on something scary. Because she did. A giant toddler turd had fallen out of Truman's underwear as she pulled them down and she didn't notice. So that's wonderful, two poopy accidents in a day---a new record. And a grandma with crap on her foot. Truman was able to semi-redeem himself and did make some of it in the toilet and he acted like he'd just won us the lottery by this feat. Nate and I decided to still give him the stickers and reward despite the turd on the floor because I'm pretty sure mister sensitive, who was already beating himself up about one accident, would have broken down if we tried to scold him at all for this disaster. As we all cleaned up the poop, with the baby hysterically screaming in our ears, we admitted defeat. This was horrible. And I could see no hope for a quiet future. Nate said simply, 'This is the stuff dreams are made of, huh?' A low point, for sure.

As the others ate dinner, I finally got C to nurse a bit without tweaking the eff out. My nerves were shot and even the silence of her nursing didn't soothe me. I had entered a scary mental place of 'I just don't even care if she's crying anymore'. Totally numb. Totally exhausted. I let my mind wander to dark places, like maybe Cece was coming down with meningitis and THAT is why she just screamed her face off for hours (very logical, no?). Obviously, I'm a horrible mother that can't soothe a baby for squat. Obviously, my first week back to work is going to be about 1000x harder than I thought. She might do fine for Lori during the day---which was the part I was most concerned about---but now I'm aware that our evenings at home are likely going to be pure hell. After being tired from working all day. And honestly? If I can't handle my child with TWO helpers (Nate and my mom) how am I supposed to handle both children alone before Nate gets home in the evenings? I started to brainstorm ways to get out of returning to work---maybe Nate would feel sorry enough for me that he would magically say, 'Okay, honey, we really don't need your salary anyway' (Ha!). Or maybe I could just see all of my patients in the evenings and on weekends to avoid daycare all together (horrible idea, too). I stared down at this little child and wondered how on earth I could feel so afraid of someone so little and helpless. And why I couldn't help her when she needed me the most. Her eyes were puffy and tears stained her fat little cheeks.

Cecelia was asleep in my arms now and I handed her off to mom so I could complete Truman's bedtime routine. As we said our prayers that night, we were going through everything we were thankful for from that day. Truman always chimes in with great stuff, like, 'Thanks for my new train' and 'Thanks for daddy's job'. Tonight he just said, 'Thanks that the baby stopped crying.' Cue the waterworks for the 5th time in an hour. My poor buddy hates to see sister cry---he tries so hard to cheer her up, but that night wasn't even fixed by sharing his trains. I gave him a kiss and a hug and thanked him for being such a great big brother, and then let my big boy --- who had a tough day of his own, even without his sister's antics --- go to sleep.

And of course, CC was awake again when I returned to the nursery. I got her back to sleep by nursing (thank God it was working again, and she was actually trying to fill her starving belly) and didn't put her down for a split second. I let her sleep with us all night in bed, nursing pretty much non-stop, and when we woke up this morning she was her innocent, happy self. I'm still a little shocked over yesterday's episode and really, really nervous for Monday night now. I realize that I have to take it a day at a time but I just figured that if we got her to take a little from the bottle, we'd be great. Maybe I'd have to nurse her a lot in the evening but I could handle that. What I cannot handle is her being so upset that she won't even nurse at all. Please God, let yesterday be the worst of it.

And so, that is my story about yesterday. I almost left for a run and never came back----or at least, I wouldn't have come back for a solid few more hours. And I didn't even drink that glass of wine I SO deserved because I was just too freaking tired and numb.

The moral of the story is this: she is almost 12 weeks old and I mistakenly thought we'd be past the evening tweak outs. But apparently not when there is a bottle and lack of boob involved. She always keeps us on our toes, this one does, and it's really a good thing she is so cute. Maybe I should change my blog title to 'it's a good thing she is cute' because I think I say that 40 times a day lately. I know this is not the end of the world and a little baby meltdown is really no big deal in the grande scheme of things. But holy man, last night it was a VERY big deal to this mama. I'm glad it's over. I hope it doesn't happen again. And if it does, I hope I get to drink my wine to survive another episode like that.

Mothers of children who have major meltdowns (since I don't think I was a part of that club with my first born)--tell me it gets better. And that I won't die next week if it's this bad again.

Cecelia, darling, I was going to write you a nice little 'thank you for an awesome 12 weeks' post like I did for your brother right before I returned to work. And yes, thank you for being an amazing baby girl. I love you so freaking much it hurts my heart sometimes. I've cherished these early weeks and would love to spend 12 more with just you as my sole focus. I've drunk in every snuggle and every smile the best that I could. But baby, PLEASE be nice to us here. We just want you to be happy and not possessed by demons. Work with us. Take the bottle and don't starve yourself. I'm only going to be gone three (pretty short) days each week, so let's focus on how amazing that is and what a sweet gig mom has as an employee. And remember that we love you no matter how much you make us sweat with those screaming fits. You are probably just going to be a little strong willed lady---one that I adore and wouldn't change for the world. But wow. I cannot wait to see how your personality emerges even more over time And I'm already scared about your teenage years.

We love you, you little devil, you.




  1. I'm so sorry that your nerves are shot, but it will get better. Hopefully this was just a one time thing so just relax and take it in strides. You can do this!

  2. My goodness, that sounds very traumatic! I hope that never happens again! Good luck with your return to work, I hope it goes smoothly!

  3. It does get better :) G was a freakin' bear. There were nights I couldn't handle it anymore and put her in her crib while she screamed her head off. She was safer in there ;)

    I don't know who said girls were easier! They have such little personalities that can be VERY difficult to deal with at times. I love my girlie but man, such a pistol, that one!!

  4. Oh, man. I've been there. Brady was like that the first month of his life till we got reflux meds. It's awful, so I can sympathize! Geez, CC, give mom a break! I wish you lots of luck on Monday, I'm so nervous for us for lots of reasons but one is that my sweet Bennett goes into freak out mode a lot when he's overtired...which is like all the time!

  5. Oh Julia! This was a fun post to read, even though it was SUCH a horrible experience for you. I think you will love having this to look back on and you'll be so proud of yourself for getting through it! And you even threw in some humor (I had to read a few parts out loud to Dave) - I'm impressed. ;) The part about T being upset about having an accident at Lori's brought tears to my eyes, though! Poor guy.

    But seriously, the evening with C sounds unbelievably horrible and I do not blame you for becoming numb and crying your eyes out. That one day Ben screamed for an hour (on the day I met C in the hospital!) was just the worst - and that was only an hour and was an isolated incident, thank GOD. I feel for you!!

    Lucky she's so cute, indeed. God knew what he was doing with these little beings! Fingers crossed that was the worst of it, and I will send tons of good vibes that next week goes much better than you are anticipating! Enjoy the rest of the visit with your mom.

  6. Oh, Julia. I'm so sorry. I know how you feel -- Erin was a really difficult baby. (Actually, maybe I don't know how you feel, because I only have one!) But she has gotten so much easier. She's still strong-willed, but the major crying episodes definitely tapered off a long time ago. Hugs, and I hope CeCe starts to feel better (and that YOU start to feel better) very soon! Also, I love your new haircut!

  7. I will start out by saying that absolutely nothing in this comment is helpful (except the commiseration?) our experience with meltdowns was due to a completely different reason, but...

    This is what Leighton did, at various times during the evenings / nights, for a solid 3 weeks beginning right after her 4 Month Birthday. First, she broke completely out of her "one wake up a night" schedule, and it was as if we were back to the newborn phase of waking every 2 hours to nurse. Which would have been manageable had my once champion-nurse-to-sleeper not turned into a baby that refuses to be put down after nursing. Then bedtime became an absolute nightmare. She would cry...and cry...and cry...until she would have to stop just to catch her breath in order to come back full-force screaming again. And this was not CIO... she would scream while we held her, bounced her, walked with her... in the swing, in the vibrating chair, in the stroller, in the Moby, etc. My parents came in the midst of all of this and tried to give us a date night out... she cried from the time we left for the movie until we came home - 3 hours.

    It was absolute torture. I really thought I was going crazy. This is when I got desperate and read Ferber. (Like I said, completely different situation... not a suggestion for you at all). We are back on track after some major effort and more tears (on both our parts), but damn, I FEEL YOUR PAIN. I just kept thinking "this is what it would be like to have a colicky newborn..." My heart aches for those mamas... Someone would have committed me if I were in their shoes.

    It will get better though - one way or another. She will adapt. And you will survive! These girls are just strong-willed sassy pants!

  8. Oh noooo, this all sounds so horrifying!!! I don't know if I've ever dealt with a meltdown of those epic proportions, but I do know that Ben did with Annie for the same reason - the blasted bottle. I agree w/ Erin that you probably really will love having this to look back on and I hope you can laugh at it. It WAS pretty entertaining to read! (or is that because I had 2 beers, which apparently means that I'm almost drunk? Who knows) I will be thinking of you on Monday... so nerve wracking :( I hope the day (AND NIGHT) goes much better than this!

  9. It is amazing how easy it is to forget those newborn days. And then you go and mention the sweating...and it all comes back. I SWEAR in the beginning, I thought there was something wrong with Ethan. I remember those early days as just horrible and terrible. Of course, it is amazing and loving when they are sleeping and cuddling on you and smiling...and then all hell breaks loose. But he was normal and CC is too. This too shall pass and it will get better. I agree with Andrea...put her down in her crib and shut the door for a little bit and drink a sip or ten of your wine. She's safe in there and you need to take a breather. And you girls with these little drama babies is making me really think that boys are much easier (altough I still pray nightly for a girl someday). Big hugs to you, mama. You and Miss Thang will get through this. Good luck on Monday!

  10. I just re-read the part about Nate saying "this is the stuff dreams are made of" and laughed because that was SO us the past 2 nights - Annie threw epic meltdowns at bedtime, and then Luke gets all distracted nursing because of ALL THE SCREAMING, and cries and blah blah, and Annie is just being ABSOLUTELY INSANE - and yeah, that was only like 20 minutes total and after that was over we both are just laughing because wow. WHY DID WE HAVE KIDS AGAIN?!?!! I mean, I love them so much. But really. Okay, that's all, last semi-drunk comment from me. Goodbye.

  11. I'm catching up on blogger and headed over to another fav, MODG. Go read her post from gives hope.

  12. Oh man, I hate to hear this Julia. Thank God you had an extra set of hands, but jeez! I know how my anxiety spikes with just a few minutes of a baby crying...I truly can't imagine 2 hours. :-/ I sincerely hope this was an isolated incident and that next week is much more smooth than you are thinking.

  13. As the mama to a very spirited child, such as yours, I promise it does get better! For the first 8 weeks Charlotte screamed daily for hours, never took a bottle or paci, and slept significantly less than what is considered the right amount of sleep for her age. At 12 weeks we were starting to see improvement with her only screaming for a couple of hours every evening and by 6 months she was an incredibly happy baby, although still extremely picky. At 2.5 years she is an extremely sensitive and empathetic toddler who still can't get enough mama snuggles.

    Thank god #2 is much happier. Good luck with your return to work.

  14. Hang in there. And drink that glass of wine, dang it. :)


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