Several back-to-back years of parenting babies and reading books and trying things first one way and then another and talking to other parents who have done things first one way and then another, has brought me to this realization: I'm a fan of a loose schedule. Who knew it could be as easy as that little thing? Certainly cuts down on the husband/wife drama at 3am. We didn't have our own way of thinking with our first baby. We just read a book, decided it sounded like a good idea and followed it verbatim.
Oops. Still dealing with the ramifications of that.
Anyway, without a loose schedule, how else do you get more than one child to nap at the same time? Or how do you address the real point of the schedule: Mom's nap.
But luckily, we never had fussy babies like some people do. Seemed like each baby was more easy-going than the last. Then, of course, the girls became toddlers. One definitely tougher and more strong-willed than the last. I don't know where they get that from.
But Joshua is charting new territory for me. That of Screaming Baby. I thought at first he was deathly ill or an invisible person was actually cutting his throat with their sharp, invisible knife. Because beginning about last week, he would scream and scream and scream. Not fussing. Not whining. Those, I can just about tune out. At least that's the rumor. "Mama can't hear you when you're whining." But I began to notice that anytime he was in his high chair and I moved out of his eyesight, however brief, he would start in. Sometimes that only meant he was facing the table and I was behind him at the refrigerator. Sometimes, all I have to do is get up from my chair. The result? High-pitched screaming. Wailing. Gnashing his 4 tiny teeth together.
With Brian gone, the Witching Hour of 4-5pm became the Witching Afternoon/Evening. I would serve dinner, then start bathing kids, leaving Bubba in his high chair with a snack while I got the girls bathed. He never stopped screaming until I got him out of his chair.
Then he was fine.
Or I would put him in his bed, praying exhaustion the reason for his ire. He would then stand there or even lay there and scream until I rescued him.
Once released, he was fine.
I took him to the doctor last week. After a long wait and a short visit where I hoped for some easy identifiable, minor medical reason, I was told he was fine. Great. It was the worst possible answer: it's his personality. Right before my very eyes, he was changing from that of a sunny, happy, thrilled-to-be-here, 4th child, only boy pleasure to a set of screaming hot cross buns. Mama. Just. Can't. Have. That.
What to do?
I thought about what I would do if one of the other kids wanted to have a throwdown screaming fit. Everyone over the age of 2 knows screaming and whining and crying is okay at our house. But has to be done in the bedroom. As soon as the urge to throwdown passes, they are welcome back to GenPop. I decided we could do that with Bubba, too. Unfortunately, it's not always convenient to put him in his bed. Like this morning. Trying to get the girls ready and out the door for preschool was not a good time to put him in his bed. He had to stay in his chair and scream.
I'm very fearful of this screaming stage. It's very painful for me to stand there and listen to him scream, but the last thing I want to do is to create a big, spoiled monster of a boy who grows into a spoiled kid who thinks the world (and everyone in it) is there to serve his needs. An entitled boy who turns into a selfish, spoiled monster of husband with a wife who going to be cursing me later. And I think it all begins here. Joshua Peter (Bubba Gump) Welch has to learn here and now that I, nor his sisters, or his dad are here to serve his purpose. He is just one of 6 people in this group. Sometimes, Mom has to get up from the table. Sometimes other people's needs have to come first. Sometimes, you're just gonna be sad. But if you want to scream and cry about it, you gotta do it in your room.
Otherwise, Mr. Hot Cross Buns, as the rhyme suggests, I'll sell you "one a-penny". I'm motivated.