We have been taking Ruby out and socializing her quite a bit - and thus far we've been quite successful. She's been to a New Years Eve get together, a chick's night, out for lunch in restaurants with Steve and I, grocery shopping, midwife appointments, strolling through the mall - and she's had lots of visitors come to see her here at the house.
She's super good in these situations too. I couldn't ask for a better baby, really.
But Sunday I feel like maybe I foolishly (and not purposefully) took advantage of her good nature in social settings.
We were supposed to get company on Saturday day night but when my guests hadn't even started the trek from downtown to my house by 8pm, I politely asked them not to come over. I only get sleep in two hour stretches and couldn't imagine having someone arrive for a visit after 9pm in the evening. So the plan was changed to brunch at 11am downtown on Sunday - in a restaurant (which I wasn't crazy about but I hadn't seen my friend in a long time so I made the sacrifice).
And then we were invited to my parents house for dinner (an hour away). I really wanted to go to my parents house because we haven't had Ruby out there yet and my brother and his girlfriend and kids would be there. (Also, my mom is great with Ruby and gives me a bit of a break).
And then since we were going to my parents house, Steve wanted to stop in at his parents house also for a visit (they live 20 minutes from my parents).
We left the house at 10:30am and met our friends for brunch. It happened to be Ruby's feeding time so my breakfast sat and got cold on the table while I fed her in a cramped booth. She wouldn't eat her entire bottle, and then for the life of me I couldn't get a burp out of her. Of course she was passed back and forth to our friends as well.
After that, we made the hour drive and went to Steve's parents house. Since she hadn't eaten her whole bottle at the restaurant she was hungry and a bit cranky. I held her and rocked her while we warmed the bottle. I fed her and burped her and had her settled down when MIL wanted to hold her. I passed her over to MIL, when Ruby started fussing again - and then she was passed back to me. I danced around and talked to her and got her settled again when MIL said "I think she wants to come back to me now". I told her that Ruby was a little fussy so maybe she should stay with me. MIL then told me that it was because Ruby was hungry... even though I had just finished feeding her. I advised that she was not hungry and MIL said again that she wanted her. So... I passed her back to MIL, and Ruby started crying again and then power puked all over MIL's sweater. She was promptly passed back to me, and I once again rocked and cuddled her until she was happy. MIL came out in a new shirt (freshly sprayed with strong perfume) and took her back from me. Ruby puked on her again and started crying again.
Everyone (except me) started panicking and asking "is this the first time she's done this??" "What's going on???" I advised that no, it's not the first time she's cried. Babies sometimes do cry - but everyone was flustering around, worrying that something was wrong. (Which annoys me and makes things worse) I think the only thing that was wrong was that the room was a million degrees hot, the perfume was strong and she just wanted to be with her mom and not bounced around. So during the last crying jag, I took her into a bedroom and shut the door. The room was cool and quiet and as soon as I laid her on the bed, she stopped crying and actually started smiling and cooing at me. My sweet baby just needed a break. Mommy knew.
So Ruby and I hung out in the bedroom for a while and smiled and talked to each other until it was time to go.
Later, at my parents house, my mom took her and snuggled her and fed her. Then my dad held her. Then my brother held her. Then she came back to me. Then to Steve while I ate dinner. Then back to me while Steve at dinner. Then my mom held her again. (No crying fits this time).
When we were leaving, my dad commented on how good Ruby is and how successful this whole trip was. I said that we'd see how successful it was during the night.
And oh I was so right to be cautious. I fed Ruby before bed and then held her and rocked her to sleep. She slept for a while but then she started tossing and turning and grunting and groaning, and crying out. And this... went on all. night. long. She barely slept. And I barely slept. Usually we have 3-4 hours between feeds and I might get 2-3 hours sleep in between. Not this time. Ruby was so unhappy all night. Eyes like saucers.
So I think it's pretty obvious what happened. The poor kid was over stimulated. And I feel pretty bad about it. I should never have had her in so many different places in the day with so many people bouncing her around. I totally took advantage of her good nature. And about half way through the day it started to feel wrong and I knew I had fucked up. Poor little monkey.
Now, I know. Lesson learned. I can still take her out and she'll be good for me - but I also know that I can not overdo it like I did on Sunday. That's not fair to her. And she and I both suffer. Her from the over stimulation, me from the mommy guilt.