Tuesday was not a good day.
We went to the Sensory Room at the children’s centre for the first time with my friend Kate and her little girl and all was going well – Jack was fascinated by the bubble tube as you can see – but 20 mins in it all became too much and he started crying… and crying and screaming and crying some more.
Jack is usually a very chilled out, calm little guy so it doesn’t usually take James and I long to calm him down when he is irritable but no matter what I did, he wouldn’t stop crying and was getting more and more frantic. He’s been a bit under the weather the last few days anyway, plus he was tired I think which didn’t help but no matter what I did I just couldn’t calm him down.
The Sensory Room is basically a small storage cupboard within the centre that has been transformed into a little sensory haven. There’s the bubble tube, uv light, a ball pool, projector, galaxy light and lots of other sensory bits and it is supposed to be a quiet, calming environment. But not on Tuesday!
I felt completely useless. I tried feeding him, rocking him, winding him, shhhing him, putting him down, standing up, checked his nappy and I even resorted to the dummy (which I very rarely use) but nothing. The crying lessened when I stood but in order to get the dummy I had to carefully lower myself to the floor to get to my bag but that made him cry more. Where I was getting all flustered as well, I couldn’t find the damn thing (and doing it one handed whilst trying to soothe Jack in the other made it that more difficult) and when I eventually did find it, he wouldn’t take the dummy anyway! I was at a complete loss as to what to do – I just kept apologising to Jack that I didn’t know what to do to make him feel better.
He eventually wore himself out so much he fell asleep in my arms but by that time I was sitting in a really uncomfortable position on the floor on the verge of tears. I felt embarrassed, tired, stressed, hot, sweaty and a complete failure. I felt that people in the adjoining rooms, who must have been able to hear us, would be getting annoyed at the noise and thinking what a terrible parent I must be. And of course, every time I moved even slightly, he started grizzling again and I just felt lost.
Kate bless her was so sweet during all this hullabaloo and really understanding (her little girl had been perfectly content during our visit). She kindly offered to hold Jack so I could sort out our stuff ready to go home but part of me was terrified to move in case it set him off again. But Jack was fine and quietly laid in Kate’s arms looking up at her. I felt rubbish and a bit heartbroken – why couldn’t I make him feel better like that? But Kate is brilliant and just knew that’s how I felt so very kindly reminded me that she’s had similar moments where she felt like she didn’t know what to do either. She also said that she had learnt how to calm babies from a book, how the 5 s’ technique (I will blog about this another time) worked for her and that she would copy me the relevant pages*.
I still felt quite rubbish and upset with myself when I got home and anxious incase Jack had another “moment” and I couldn’t calm him again, (Kate had politely declined my offer of moving in with us!). I didn’t want to be on my own (James was at work) and I needed a hug so I went to my mums for the afternoon! There’s nothing quite like a hug from your parents when you are feeling awful, no matter whether you are three months old like Jack or a grown up like me!
So yes, Tuesday was an emotional one and I felt all sorts of crap. But that was on Tuesday. There are going to be days when things don’t quite go to plan and you feel guilty and rubbish for not knowing what to do but that’s ok. You can learn from it and then next time will be better. And talk to any mother and they know exactly how you feel in times like this – you aren’t alone!
*Kate – you have no idea how much I appreciated your kind words in that moment and I’m not sure if I thanked you at the time but thank you so much and good things are coming your way!