The little ones have been sick. Flu season has thoroughly knocked us on our butts. We’ve trudged through 4 illnesses in the last month, but this latest one was the worst.
The 4-year-old girl is a real trooper, only a little more whiny than usual. But my almost 2-year-old son? This cold has brought out the worst in him.
He experienced a complete and utter regression back to his babyhood. Which made me realize that I am actually still traumatized from it.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a very sympathetic mom to the fact that he is sick. And I totally get that he needs extra love and attention because he just feels so miserable. But the nonstop screaming that has resumed when I have to put him down for any reason has me twitching all over again.
This behavior has flashed me back to how hard it was on our whole family when he was younger.
I feel traumatized by the sound of his constant screaming. I am revisiting the helpless feeling that I could nothing to ease his unhappiness. He would have just this instantaneous visceral reaction to everything. Not getting what he wanted. Not being picked up. Everything.
He screamed every day for the first year. In the beginning, we figured it was colic. Hell, it’s not like we were first time parents, we knew babies cried.
But the phase seemed never ending. 3 months. 6 months. A year. And oh, he was so unbelievably loud. To this day, he is the loudest baby I have ever heard. You know those cute little infant cries that are so adorable because they haven’t really found their voice yet? Before they’ve had proper practice to really give a good cry? Well, our son never had that. He was loud from the moment he was born.
My husband is an audiophile, so he happens to have a lot of sound monitoring equipment. Just for kicks one night, in an attempt to find the humor in our plight as the parents of a screamer, he actually used a sound pressure level meter to measure the decibels that little man was putting out at full bore. He hit 100 decibels from 4 feet away. To give you an idea, that is about rock concert level loud. Coming from my baby in a quiet, otherwise peaceful home. I am pretty sure my hearing is not as good as it used to be.
I recall always telling people, my son has two modes. Extremely happy and extremely unhappy. And when he was mad, he was going to let you know it. You know how most babies stop crying when you pick them up? Not this guy, he was not quite done crying when I picked him up. It was as though he wasn’t finished letting me know how upset he was for not being held in the first place.
The fever from this cold made him extra clingy all over again. Strapped to my legs like a barnacle. To the point that he would cry if he was not being held for longer than 10 minutes. This includes all night long. Out of sheer desperation for sleep, I found myself back in a bed with him just like when he was little. And never mind that he could have just slept next to me, he would actually position himself on top of me, with an elbow in my neck. Needless to say, I’m wrecked.
He has regressed to using screaming to communicate again. Which is not very effective at all. He was pretty delayed with speaking, and typically only says a couple words now. But at least we’d gotten to the point that he could indicate if he was hungry, tired, wanted to watch Octonauts, needed to be picked up, or wanted his binky.
It’s like we’d traveled back in time to the stage when he wouldn’t even try to tell you what he needs. Instead, bursting into tears if you moved in the wrong direction (away from whatever he apparently wanted but wouldn’t express).
The last two days, he’s finally better and returning to his more peaceful, typical self these days. Which makes me the most relieved mom on earth. Because I don’t think I could go through another year long episode like that again. It literally has shaken me up how quickly all of those same feelings bubbled right back up out of nowhere.
And I am eternally grateful that miserable phase is in the past. I can handle a couple days of regression, but any more than that and I’ll be running for the hills.