Clearly the 12th and final day was simply too much for Ben. Our flight home was at 8:15 and check out for the hotel was supposed to be 11:00. Nick was going to be at work til 4:00 and I simply didn't know what to do with myself and my kid (would most definitely would not have been getting a nap if we checked out at 11:00) for several hours, so we paid a little extra and got a late check out of 2:00. Since Ben had been waking up at 6:00 nearly every morning, I knew he would be able to go down for a nap earlier, so I put him down at about 10:00. That was great, because he did go down pretty easy and slept nearly 3 hours. The problem was, he napped too early. Even though he was tired and benefited from the nap, he needed that benefit later in the day and it simply wore off.
Nick ended up getting out of work early (2:30, I think) so we met in the hotel and took Ben to the park. We let him out of the stroller and he played and had little minifits when we'd make him mind. The meltdown started at about 4:00 and lasted til well after we got home. There were several intermissions, but the cab ride to the airport was a challenge. Once we got to the airport, he was mostly fine. My HUGEST mistake of the night was having him fall asleep before we got on the plane. He drifted off really quickly, stayed asleep as I got up and moved to get in line, as we gave our boarding passes to the ticket agent, as we made our way down the ramp and onto the plane. He woke up as I sat down.
He screamed. For nearly an hour and a half straight. I have NEVER seen him behave that way.
Arching his back.
Pulling my hair so hard handfuls of hair were coming away.
Tossing his head back and just screeching.
I know he was tired. I know he was exhausted. I know he was overwhelmed. I know he's teething. I was still MORTIFIED & hurt (both physically with the hair pulling and my feelings were hurt). We both cried, a lot. Me, silent tears out the window and Ben, loud wracking sobs that I think the pilot's heard.
Every time he'd drift off to sleep, the dang captain would come on the speakers LOUD and wake him up. Nick would shift. Of our 3 hour and 24 minute plane ride home, I think he slept about an hour of it.
Once we got home, I attempted to put him to sleep like normal - meaning I put him down while he was still awake and left. He's been putting himself to sleep for over a year now.
My heart cracked and I rocked him to sleep. The next day we had more abuse. He's chasing Sadie around the house, grabbing her fur or throwing things at her. He'll randomly come up to me and yank my hair. If he's not getting his way, cue the slaps and pinches.
What the heck?
I let the rocking to sleep happen a few times. I thought it would help him transition to being home. I rocked him to sleep the night we got home, the nap the following day, that night... and then he woke in the middle of the night. And it wasn't as simple and rocking him til he fell back asleep and laying him down. This process now takes HOURS. Every night since we've been back, he wakes for about 3 hours of Nick & I taking turns trying to get him back to sleep.
Last night we said enough. We're revisiting sleep training. And let me tell you what. I thought it was rough when we first did it? I thought his little cries and occassional screeches were bad? That was NOTHING. N-O-T-H-I-N-G.
Hearing your baby cry out "mama! daddy! mama! daddy!" over and over is awful. It's wrenching. It's SO hard to know you're doing the right thing, even though it feels like the wrong thing.
I wrestle with myself EVERY time. I say to myself "you're his mother. it's your job to cuddle him, to protect him, to soothe him and make it all better" and then I say back "he's got to learn to fall asleep on his own. Cuddling him doesn't help him in the long run and it doesn't help you now". It's awful. I hate it.
Mostly I just don't understand this violence. Where has this aggression come from? Why is he hitting and biting and pinching and pulling my hair? How do I curb it? Time outs aren't working. He isn't connecting the time out with the poor behavior (or he simply doesn't care). Ignoring it isn't helping.
I don't know what to do, but I'm drained.
That 2 weeks in Chicago was so difficult. After it's all said and done, I don't think Ben & I should have gone. It was awesome to see Chicago, and I'm glad we got to see and do the things we did. It was wonderful having Nick as support, even if it was only 2 hours a day. I know Nick loved having us there when he came home from work. But at the end of it all - I think it was detrimental to both Ben & I. I think we might have been better off just doing it on our own at home.
I'm hoping it doesn't take much longer to get Ben back to his routine and his normal and for his behavior to mellow out. Have any of you been through anything like this before? Do you have any tips for me?