angry baby

Mayhem, Chicanery Rule the Changing Table

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You can’t handle the truth!

In the last two weeks, Maddie has mastered the commando-like maneuver of flipping from her back to the standing position. The flip is not a gentle or subtle action, it’s a flash of movement where the baby goes from being on her back to standing right up there in your face. This two-count process starts with the flip to her knees right before she stands straight up.

Maddie really shows off some great athletic potential with this action, but it is no fun at all on the changing table. Whether it’s a diaper change or just changing clothes, this wild bucking bronco is creating PURE HAVOC on the changing table.

The second I lay her down on her back, she takes that as her crazy cue to spin into action. I’m fine with all of that, but when I gently restrain these wild rolling tendencies, she goes absolutely insane. She starts screaming and crying as if she being lowered into boiling oil. This pattern took hold about three days ago and shows no signs of abating any time soon.

I love the enthusiasm associated with her stand and roll, but don’t really understand the temper tantrum that comes with it. I have tried multiple strategies to reduce Maddie’s mayhem including humor, distraction, soothing and restraint. It doesn’t seem to matter what I do, Maddie flatly refuses to sit still for any changing table activities.

Like anything else with the baby, you just have to ride the phase out to its completion. However, it would be nice if I could find a way to reduce the stress for Maddie. The baby really seems to get desperate, but once the diaper is changed or the new outfit is in place, she is all happy and bubbly once again.

We’ve gone through a few phases like this one in the past, but I’m really hoping for a speedy resolution. This behavior does not seem to be linked to hunger or sleep, for now it appears to be another control issue. So for now we are in the grin and bear it stage until little Maddie Sunshine decides that it is ok to have her diaper changed again.

No Good Way to Undress a Tiger

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Why don’t you try to take off my hood?

Just moments after Maddie’s mom left for a business trip, things started to unravel for Stay Home PaPa. Before beginning our bedtime routine, I thought Maddie’s outfit seemed a little too fancy for feeding time.

We went back to the changing table to take care of what should have been a quick change. Within 20 seconds it became painfully obvious, “Houston, we have a problem.” I have no idea how her mother got this thing on the baby in the first place, but it was some type of Hannibal Lecter straight jacket that had NO intention of coming off.

And let me tell you, there are few things Maddie hates more than jerking around with difficult clothing. The longer we struggled, the more the baby’s frustration level edged towards the redline. C’mon, this isn’t my first ‘undress the baby’ rodeo, what was the ancient secret I was missing to undoing this Gordian Knot?

I obviously needed more room to maneuver. I scooped up Maddie and we went to the bed where we both would have some more room to work with. This only made things worse. Now Maddie was thrashing around like a Marlin on the hook and I was in grave danger of serious bodily injury. At this point, I was seriously considering gently ripping the back off of the garment for a nice clean removal.

Before taking this extreme measure, I decided to get a woman’s opinion. Maddie and I went downstairs to see if our neighbor Cynthia had any bright ideas for us. It turned out that getting this thing off was a two-person job.

We pried off that straight jacket, thanked Cynthia and headed upstairs for some dinner. Just as we got to the top of the stairs, Maddie ejected a stream of spit up that spackled a different neighbor’s door. “You can not be serious!” It took another trip to Cynthia’s door to get that mess cleaned up.

So Maddie’s mom is gone less than an hour and the baby and I are mired in some lost episode of the Three Stooges. This is shaping up to be a very exciting week!

Curse of the Late Afternoon Nap

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I feel so refreshed, let's make it a late one!

Few things rip into a peaceful bedtime routine like the curse of the late afternoon/early evening nap. But what can do when that’s when the baby wants to nap? Apparently, not too much.

When Maddie snags a good nap in the morning or early afternoon, bedtime is a breeze. But if she is still napping around 4pm, undesirable nuggets can hit the fan with great velocity. There was a time when we foolishly believed that any nap the baby took was a good one. Maddie has been more than happy to dispel this misconception for us.

At 5pm this afternoon we could feel our anxiety mounting as Maddie slept like the angel she truly is. At this point we knew two things were in store for us.

  1. Once the baby woke up, she would be in a wonderful mood.
  2. Once it was time for bed, it would be time to pay the piper and deal with what we like to call the wild banana syndrome.

Both of these predictions soon came to pass. Maddie woke up sweet as sugar magnolias. She was fun, charming and bursting with love. We fed her pork and vegetables and she was the perfect little lady.

But once it was time for bed, a dark shadow crept over the house. That sweet disposition tuned sour and the angry bedtime antics began. First came the angry protests that quickly escalated into an-all out temper tantrum. The nerve of these idiot parents trying to put me to bed, do I look tired to you??

Letting Maddie work it out in the crib is never a big hit either. She expects full payment of these parental follies and wants it all up front. She also demonstrates great athletic prowess by flipping from one side of the crib to the other.

In the end, it just takes a little extra love and patience along with about 45 minutes of hanging out in close proximity to the crib. Eventually the queen burns herself out and is hopefully asleep for the night. All that’s left to do is go to bed early and hope tomorrow delivers an earlier naptime that doesn’t trigger another extended witching hour.