Saturday, May 16, 2009


Ruby had a meltdown today. A meltdown to top all meltdowns. And I feel like a bag of shit.

The day started out fine enough. My mom, Ruby and I went out shopping. We got Ruby a couple of cute new things to wear (she's outgrowing her clothes so fast) and my mom bought her a highchair! Yay! (Funny thing about the highchair, when we walked up to it - it had a tag on it that said "Ruby. $20 off". I think "Ruby" might have referred to the color scheme because it's red, but still we were pretty sure that this was a sign that it was OUR highchair.)

When we got home, my mom fed Ruby and we put the chair together. Steve came home and Ruby was sitting at the dinner table in her highchair, beaming as he walked in the door. She seems to love it.

And then a few minutes later she started to fuss. And then she started to cry. And arch her back. And then the screaming started. And the BAWLING. And the grunting. And the leg kicking. The sad, pitiful little face she was making. The quivering lip. The gasping for breath. The tears!!!

My god it was terrible.

She's had little crying jags like this before, but they're rare and usually I can fix it.

Steve tried first by holding her to his chest (which usually works) - she continued to freak.

I tried next by holding her close to my chest and rocking her, putting a blankie over her head to block out any stimulus (which usually works) - she continued to freak.

Soother? Nope.

Soother dipped in gripe water? Nope.

Nothing worked. And while my mothering style is usually very calm and laid back, after 10-15 minutes of Ruby losing her sweet baby mind, I started to feel a bit... panicked I guess. And in my panic, I gave her some baby Tylenol. I didn't know what else to do! And I thought she must be in pain if I couldn't console her (Ruby has NEVER been inconsolable before). She has been showing signs of teething lately and I wondered if maybe a tooth was finally breaking through her gums or something. Shortly after I administered the Tylenol, my mom asked if she could try calming her... She took Ruby in her arms and was able to rock her to sleep.

Which made me feel like a big fat fucking failure.

Not that I didn't appreciate my mom calming her down - I totally did, but I should have been able to do that. Because I'm her mom.

And I hated that my mom was here to see the whole meltdown anyways. Granted, if it had to be witnessed by someone then I'm glad it was my mom, but still it didn't feel good. Usually, I am a pro at all things Ruby. But for whatever reason, tonight was different. I couldn't fix her, but my mom could. I resorted to giving her medicine that maybe she didn't even need, because I didn't know what else to do.

To make it worse, my mom figured Ruby was just overtired and got herself so worked up that she couldn't calm down - which made me feel extra bad for giving her the Tylenol. I was sure she was in some sort of pain (she was ramming her fist into her mouth) - but if it was just over tiredness, I medicated her for no reason.

My mom has called me twice this evening to try to make me feel better. She said I handled it just fine and that perhaps Ruby was in pain and the Tylenol was justified. And even if she wasn't in pain, the Tylenol didn't hurt her and it probably helped to calm her down.


But I just don't feel good about the whole thing at all.

So I totally ate too much pizza for dinner and then a chocolate covered granola bar. Because I'm a comfort eater and I needed some pizza and chocolate comforting. Now I'm bothered that I fucked up my diet and I couldn't console my own kid.

Not one of my most shining evenings (although I'm sure there will be worse to come over the years).


noswimmers said...

Oh hun...I'm sorry! It sounds like Ruby calmed down after the she probably was hurting! Of course you don't want to see her in any pain--you did what any mama would do! You just want to protect your little girl.

Fuck the diet. :p

Alicia said...

After doing this for a couple of years now, Harry and I have both realized that sometimes another set of arms is what does the trick. At first, it really hurts that you can't seem to calm your own child down but someone else can. The first few times it happened with us, we felt like shit, much the same as you. Eventually, we saw that sometimes mommy and/or daddy just don't cut it. You finally concede to that fact, but it takes time.

As for the tylenol. I've done that before too because 9 times out of 10, it IS pain that's causing the meltdown. They're entirely too small to really tell us if something hurts, so when all else fails, you try to fix pain because that's all there is left. Just keep that in the back of your head the next time it happens. You are not hurting her.

I know how crappy you feel right now, but it will get better.

And the pizza, well, you needed it. Today is another day.

JJ said...

Oh hun, Im sorry for the meltdown--Im dreading the day we have our first BIG one...the small ones even make me cry. Thats when I wish he could talk already--we just do the best we can--I think mood swings can happen this early in life too!

Candi B. said...

I'm gonna bet that she calmed down for your mom because the tylenol was kicking in. I don't think it would've mattered WHO was holding her. You did the right thing. Trust me.

Somewhat Ordinary said...

I think you handled this great! Don't feel bad about the Tylenol - it sounds like it was needed.

Hopeful Mother said...

I always feel like an idiot when Al.ex starts fussing and someone hands him over to me, saying, "I bet he wants his mama" or "mama can calm him down better than anyone else" and then he proceeds to cry even harder once in my arms.

Don't take it personally - kids can be finicky and I think they often don't even know what they're upset about. Sometimes a change of scenery is all they're after (scenery=face).

Hopeful Mother said...

p.s. we give our boys Tylenol often - sometimes that teething pain is mysterious and Tylenol WORKS! Don't feel bad about using it even if you're not sure what's going on. It's perfectly safe.

Emily said...

Hey you did what you thought was right (and it probably was) second guessing yourself is never gonna help. I know its hard but you are doing a great job - don't forget that.

I think that when the full on meltdowns happen mom gets anxious and the baby picks up on that and gets even more worked up. Someone who isn't responding physiologically to the baby can soothe them faster. It is like Alicia said sometimes its just another set of arms. Hang in there.

Oh and you look great so you earned the right to that pizza!

Aurelia said...

Tylenol rocks, and so does having help, so really, lets turn this around. What if you were alone? She likely would have cried the same amount of time, and yes, you would have comforted her, but you would have been just as upset or more, because you were alone and had to do it all by yourself. Which sucks.

Teething is agonizing pain, tylenol is about to become your best friend. Just do whatever you have to do to feel calm and happy and keep her calm and happy.

(And personally, I like banana flavoured tempra better, grape tylenol tastes blech...just me, maybe? Taste test a few?)

Sarah @ said...

Don't look at it as your mom comforted her as opposed to you comforting her. Sometimes the baby calms down because they just can't keep it up, or because they're finally the perfect temperature, or because the stars aligned for a brief millisecond in time. Moreover, every step you took to try calming her down lead to the part where your mother rocked her, and it could very well have been the culmination of all of those things that helped.

I hope you're having a better day today, in any case!

Tobacco Brunette said...

I'm sorry sweetie. But I think it has more to do with timing - like a game of hot potato, only different. You pass the crying baby around until what's bugging her stops and the meltdown comes to an end...only the person with the hot potato...err screaming not out, they're actually in, know...they quieted the baby...or something. And there's no music, instead there's crying. Anyway, the lesson is that there's only one winner in that game and it's that's all that matters....and...

Yeah. (Feel better?)