Sunday, March 27, 2011

What do you do with a crying baby in a car?

Yesterday we had a strange crying incident at the grocery store. Cupcake was getting fussy near the end of the shopping session, making tired nooses, sounding like she was *about* to start crying.   That's not the strange part, btw, that's just a baby getting tired of being out for errands all afternoon.

The crazy part was once we got her in the car seat, thinking she'd finally relax and let the car lull her to sleep.   Oh, we were so naive.   Apparently, what she wanted was to scream and cry uncontrollably.   I'm not usually so utterly defeated by my own child, but there was NOTHING I could do to distract her. My songs, rhymes, and sleep-shushes fell on deaf ears.   She just kept crying.  And have you ever been trapped in a car with a hysterical baby?  Exactly.  

I felt so helpless.  I knew in my heart of hearts that there was nothing actually wrong with her - she wasn't hungry, in pain or had a dirty diaper.   She just looked tired.   Actually, I suspect that we finally learned today what true over tiredness looks like. (The books talk about it, but I swear I thought being over tired was just parents being dramatic, which wouldn't be the craziest assumption ever.  My apologies.)

Eventually I had no choice but to give up and cry along side her. After a few more blocks of this Nate and I switched places.  I drove us the rest of the way home and he finally managed to distract her, though briefly, with a rattle.  It was sooooo exhausting.   We got home, got her out of the car seat, and I rocked for not even two minutes and she was OUT. (Nate, mean while, was his usual rock star self and unloaded the groceries, carried our stuff and parked the car)  On a side note, we had to aspirate her nose, which was probably a huge factor in her frustration.

Blegh, not fun.

On the positive side note, we now KNOW that we're not cut out for CIO (Cry It Out) as a valid form of sleep training.  I'd always suspected that letting a baby cry just didn't "jive" with our temperament, but now we have confirmed it.  

Granted, proper CIO involves making sure all your baby's basic needs are met, and then letting them cry in a controlled environment while you cover you ears in the other room.  But my heart broke for Cupcake screaming in the car, tears flowing freely down her red cheeks.  It stressed me to no end.  Sure, letting her cry for 30 minutes might get her to fall asleep at night on her own, but I just don't think I'd be able to sleep knowing that she had cried so much.  Call me sappy, but I would just have bad dreams of Cupcake being in a crisis and me not being there to help her.  Nate is right there with me, so we're a unified front.   And what's good is a sleeping baby if you can't catch a wink yourself?

Well, glad at least we got that part of our parenting philosophy figured out.


  1. Ugh. It seems like there is a magic point where Klaw gets so tired he CAN'T fall asleep. It's terrible & sad & heartbreaking! So sorry!

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