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January 26, 2011

He’s screaming in the car seat again. This kid has lungs, there’s no doubt about it. How can a three-month-old scream so loud?? It’s a trigger for me – the screaming, the noise – and I can’t take it any more.


It’s been a day much like any other. We went to a play date with my moms’ group (which is less a play date and more a breastfeeding-fest, but whatever. We all need to get out of the house whether it screws with the nap schedule or not).

In my mind, my son is always loud. He’s loud when he wakes up. He’s loud when he wants to eat. He’s loud when he’s fussy for some reason that, try as I might, I cannot identify. In my mind, our play dates involve a bunch of snuggly or sleeping babies (the others) and one fussy one (mine). So we bounce. Or we walk. But usually we bounce. Whatever we do, it generally doesn’t involve me sitting on the couch with a sleeping baby on my lap.

Sanity-saving “play date” over, we went home for a nap. Except my kid doesn’t like to nap. It doesn’t matter if I rock him, nurse him to sleep, swaddle him. It doesn’t matter if I put on white noise, music or nothing. Nothing helps. As soon as his head hits that crib, he screams.

No “me” time, then.

I find a way to eat lunch with a baby who likes to be bounced. Or maybe I don’t – I can’t remember. Some days I’d rather prevent the screaming than eat.

Time ticks on. I’d give anything to be able to put this kid down in another room so I can just be by myself for a few minutes, but he’s having none of it. So we bounce some more.

In the afternoon, it’s time to give the dog his daily exercise. “A ha!” I think. We can go to the dog park and then I can hit Starbucks on the way home. It will be a little treat for me.

But the dog park is a 15-minute drive and and the kid hates the car seat…

I decide I can deal with it. I need to get out of the house (again) so off we go to the dog park.

I manage to get there without going crazy. Manage to get him strapped into the Ergo without dropping him on the concrete. The laps of the dog park in the cool, fall air are good for me, but I’m painfully aware of one overwhelming thought: how badly I wish to be out here without a baby attached to my chest. Not a mom, just a woman with her dog.

The laps are done and the dog is panting. Back to the car we go, with Starbucks only a few blocks away.

Once in the car seat, the screaming begins again.


Why? Why does he do this?!

“Connor, what’s wrong, buddy? Mama’s right here. We’re going to go to Starbucks and then go home and we can bounce some more. You just have to hold on a little longer.”


“Connor, please calm down. I’m right here, love. Just hang in there. No more screaming, little one. Shhh.”

I just want a few minutes where I’m not tending to someone else’s needs, even if it’s in the car with a cup of hot chocolate. I can taste it – warm and chocolate-y and mine.

“Connor, please. Be quiet, little one.”


I can’t take it anymore.

“CONNOR! Shut up! Mama wants to go to Starbucks!”

A brief silence. I’ve scared him. And then I know what loud really sounds like.

Starbucks isn’t gonna happen.

Instead we pull into the parking lot of Canadian Tire and I take him out. Bounce him. Try to calm him down without being overly concerned that there are people walking calmly into the store and coming calmly back out with hoses and windshield scrapers and things while my baby screams because he has the worst mother ever.

I just wanted a hot chocolate.


This post is part of Writing Wednesday, which is part of For the Love…of Blogging. Katie and Miranda have asked us to write today, and write well. This is my exploding moment.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2011 11:04 am

    I remember these days so clearly… my son is 6 now!

    I look at other mothers who seem so happy and contented and feel guilty that I couldn’t give my son that kind of mother. I feel sad that I look back and and these are the memories I have rather than the ‘precious time’ I hear so much about.

    Then, I give myself a break….

    Hope anyone who is struggling with a screaming baby can just take two precious seconds to breathe, give themselves a pat on the back and realise that even though it feels like eternity, it really doesn’t last forever x

  2. January 27, 2011 7:43 am

    Oh, mama, this is so hard. Is this still going on, or now that he is older things are better? I’m sending you much love and support. thank you fro detailing all this. you wrote well indeed.
    “how badly I wish to be out here without a baby attached to my chest. Not a mom, just a woman with her dog.” Yes! and I don’t even have a dog…
    Connor, give mommy a break, hot chocolate is important!

    • January 27, 2011 8:34 am

      Oh, it’s way better. He gave up the full-on screaming in the car seat shortly after that. When he hit 4 months he suddenly seemed to figure it out. I still struggled with the alone time for a long time after that. It’s actually only recently that I’m better at finding ways to get it and to ask for it when I need it. (Okay, I don’t do it all the time but I’m better!)

  3. January 27, 2011 6:15 am

    While I am lucky that Belle was never much of a screamer, she had her moments. Most of the time was in the car where I could do nothing to help her. I wanted to crawl into a hole those moments. Very honest post.

  4. January 27, 2011 12:43 am

    It does, it makes people feel less alone-I hated the screaming baby moments! Mothers are made to respond to them I guess? My husband never got as crazed as I did when one of the babies was having a screaming fit. And then I’d feel horrible about being irritated. I love your style of writing!

  5. January 26, 2011 6:29 pm

    I know this, I live this.
    Your post is beautiful and honest and makes ppl like me feel less alone

  6. Colleen permalink
    January 26, 2011 4:18 pm

    Gah, this is exactly me (minus the dog and i HATE play dates), 0-about 6 months with my daughter. Now she is almost 15 months and still whining/screaming crying.

  7. January 26, 2011 3:37 pm

    I just had one. In my quiet office. I kind of miss him (but not the screaming).

  8. Briegh permalink
    January 26, 2011 3:18 pm

    I’ve got tears in my eyes with this one R.

    As my 9 month old screeches because he wants God knows what.

    And now I really want a hot chocolate. 🙂


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