Ryan is loud. Really loud. He has always been loud since he was a newborn. "A good set of lungs," as the polite people would say. As an infant he would cry for hours a day. At the time we did not understand why our baby seemed so unhappy with the world. Now we know that things were too bright, too loud, too rough for him. But at the time we had no idea our son viewed the world differently then we did.
Ryan was colicky and would cry for hours, usually between 4pm and 9pm nightly until he was around six months old. It seemed that very few things seemed to soothe him. Car rides would usually put him to sleep so we would drive him around and then let him sleep in his car seat for the night. He did not like his crib, pack n play, or bassinet. Even in the hospital as a newborn he did not want to sleep in his little roll around bed.
He also had a loud, deafening scream. Every now and then he would scream a high pitch scream. To this day I have never heard anything like it. It was so loud that if I was holding him while he screamed my hearing would become muffled for a few minutes afterwards, like I was swimming underwater. It would make anyone nearby stop dead in their tracks.
As a new mother still waking up in the middle of the night, his nightly screaming was enough to frustrate me on several occasions. I learned a few tricks to help me through the long days.
1. While he was crying I would turn up the music and dance with him around our living room. It was stress relief for me and I found different motions that Ryan seemed to like. I also found that he liked when I patted his back while swaying around the room. Also when I was singing along to my favorite songs it helped take my mind off of the crying.
2. I started movie nights. Once a week I would leave Ryan with my husband and go to the movies by myself. Most of my friends had kids but I did not mind going to the movies alone. I would show up right before the movie started and you never talk to people during a movie anyways. It would refresh me and allow me some much needed time out of the house. My husband also gained respect for what I did with Ryan day after long day. He was able to build his own relationship with him.
3. If I felt myself starting to get annoyed at Ryan I would put him in his crib, shut the door, go downstairs and watch a Friends episode (a show that gets me to laugh no matter how many times I have seen it) and then I would go back upstairs and get Ryan out of his crib, usually still screaming, and try to calm him down again. At the beginning I felt so guilty for putting Ryan in his crib. I did not want to tell anyone about it because I felt like a bad mother. But now as I look back I am glad that I did it because it allowed me to get a fresh start on the problem and keep my emotions under control.
Ryan is still loud and crys but nothing like it used to be. I have not heard his deafening scream in over a year and Ryan is using his words to express himself more and more everyday. As I look back I do not know how I made it through those first months. I know it all feels like a blur...