The next nine months flew by as we carried on our merry way as a busy, but relatively sane, family of five. On New Year's Day, 2017, everything changed.
Our sweet little baby girl turned into a screaming terror without warning.
I remember the day very clearly. We went to a friend's afternoon party and I was happy to be out of the house, with everyone ooh-ing and ahh-ing over my adorable little girl. Suddenly, she found her voice – and it was LOUD. At first, it was hard to tell if she was mad or just vocal, but I remember thinking, "Man, she is the loudest person in the room, and she's not even drinking!"
From there, her voice got increasingly louder. She screamed at me for hours a day – and for absolutely no apparent reason. We talked to the doctors and they checked her out, ruling out obvious things, like reflux. Together, we determined she was just very vocal, very opinionated, and possibly ready to communicate but didn't know how yet.
So we tried to stay patient and positive. And we waited, and hoped.
For the next 18 months, the only way I could get her to stop when the screaming started was to feed her or hold her. And hold her. And hold her. Which was exceedingly difficult for a working mom of three.
I felt so helpless and frustrated, and at times even angry, which I still regret. Her screaming made me crazy, and also made it impossible to give my other two children the attention they so badly needed and deserved. I cried and cried along with her and tried everything possible to keep my sanity during that year.
The noise was one thing. But a terrible side effect was, it grew difficult to maintain a meaningful connection with her – and that broke my heart every day. There were some good times, sure, and even some longer spurts of peace amid the noise and the chaos … but it was a really, really challenging time for everyone. (Fortunately, she remained a good sleeper, so at least we had that going for us.)
And then, one day, almost as suddenly as it started, right around her second birthday, the screaming stopped. Today, as her fourth birthday approaches, I continue to fall more and more in love with her every day.
She is the sweetest, most precious and loving little girl. I can scarcely remember the frustration I felt with her during those very loud months. While she's certainly still a spirited little girl, she came by that trait honestly, from both her mom and dad. Plus, as the youngest of three, she must have learned early that you have to be loud to be heard.
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