So I think I accidentally married the Verizon guy who used to say, “Can you hear me now?” I say that because my husband constantly has to repeat himself. “Why?” you ask. Because of…SCARLETT! My lovely, sweet baby girl screams like a feral cat at a dental cleaning without anesthesia and now my hearing is on the fritz. For some reason, her intense high-pitched screams can only be calmed by me, especially at night. A typical night in my house goes like this: My husband comes home, starts dinner and takes over watching the kids so I can do some work. After 5 minutes of being with Daddy, Scarlett turns into a human fire alarm.
After another 5 minutes of torture, I shut my computer down, cringe, grudgingly climb the stairs and with tears in my eyes tell my husband that I’ll take over. Sound familiar? According to our pediatrician, Scarlett’s cries stem from her sense of object permanence. Pretty much she’s unsure about why mommy “disappears” and when she’s coming back. Unfortunately, there’s no overnight solution. It’s just going to take time and work for Scarlett to get better with Mommy being away. I know that’s not very comforting if you’re in the same boat, but have no fear. I have a life-saving tip to help parents like us survive a high-pitched screaming baby. Thanks to Karen Kripke, a fellow fabulous mom, I’ve got a great tip to share with you for combatting this issue – earplugs!
I Can’t Hear You
While rummaging around in the Dollar Spot at Target for something I could use for my next htgawCrafting project, a woman I never met before stopped me to compliment my kids. I smiled feebly as I was beyond tired and in desperate need of a highly caffeinated drink. While we made small talk she asked how I was holding up with two little ones.
I won’t lie. I totally dumped my purse and confessed that I was beginning to lose it. I told her about how Scarlett’s screams were maddening. I opened up that the constant screaming and neediness was taking its toll on me and my ability to parent with kindness. I admitted that I was starting to get short with my oldest, was less than friendly with my husband and just frustrated that I couldn’t get anything done. After roping Karen into an impromptu therapy session, she smiled and said she had a bit of valuable advice for me. She said she could relate and wished she knew about this little tip when she first became a mom. She looked at me and simply said, “Earplugs.”
Being A Better Mom
It took me a minute to process what she had said. I was expecting something more than telling me to use bits of foam to drown out the cries of my child. But when she explained why these tiny little gems were so powerful, I couldn’t get to the healthcare aisle fast enough.
Karen explained that earplugs would dull the intensity of the screams and allow me to better tolerate the noise. I wouldn’t feel as exasperated or frustrated. This in turn could help me maintain my ability to be a kind mom, versus a testy one.
Not So Proud Mama
It took everything for me not to break down and have a good cry on Karen’s shoulder. The reality was, I was feeling like a bad mom. I felt guilty that I was easily frustrated with my son. I felt horrible that I was snapping at my husband. I was ashamed that I was incorrectly assigning blame to Scarlett for the newfound tension in our home. Chatting with Karen helped me realize, that instead of living with the noise and stress, I could reduce it all, and in turn, lessen the frustration with two little pieces of foam. I could go back to being more like the mom I enjoyed being.
Now I See The Difference
That night I left Target with a pack of pink Mack’s Dreamgirl Soft Foam Earplugs. (Cause you know they had to be pink, right?)
Later that evening, like clockwork, Scarlett screamed her head off, but I didn’t climb up the stairs and tell my husband, “Just give her to me.” No, I shoved the earplugs in and breathed a sigh of relief. I stayed downstairs and did some work at my desk. When I thought my husband couldn’t take anymore, I went upstairs, smiled at him and happily asked for my daughter. And he smiled back at me, not because I was taking our little screamer off his hands, but because I wasn’t moody or mean when I asked for her. And Scarlett looked happy too. She also seemed really interested in the hot pink buds sticking out of mommy’s head.
A Few More Tips For Earplugs
I am so glad I met Karen that night. Her advice has truly changed my mood and actions around our house. Between her advice and what I’ve done, here’s how you can bring serenity to your ears:
- Keep a pair of earplugs in your car. Any parent knows that there’s nothing worse than hearing a baby CRY in the car. Now, even though you can hear your baby with the earplugs, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to clearly hear traffic, so DO NOT drive while wearing them! I would recommend when driving with your little screamer, pull over somewhere safe, then pop in your earplugs and soothe your child until you both feel ready to ride again sans earplugs.
- Keep a pair in your purse/book bag/briefcase or whatever. Some packs of noise-reducing Mack’s Earplugs come with a great little carrying case. It makes it convenient to store an extra pair for when you’re out and about and your little one lets loose.
- Place several pairs of earplugs around the house. This way you don’t have to hunt down a pair when the screaming starts.
- Make sure they fit. You want to get earplugs that fit to your ear canal in order for them to work effectively, be comfortable and to be safe. My husband actually uses ones designed for female ears because they are more comfortable.
- Buy more than one box. Let’s be real – you’re going to drop these beauties from time to time. And if you’re also a cat parent like me, you know you won’t want to put furry ear plugs back into your ear canal. So instead of standing there at 2am with your last pair of earplugs, worrying about how dirty your floor really is and debating whether your ears can handle it, just have a few extra packs in storage.
- Keep them out of reach of your other little ones and animals. At my Target, the earplugs are available in beige, neon green and neon pink. To the innocent eye of a child, or a hungry cat, they look like food or candy. To avoid a tragedy, keep your earplugs high and away from little hands and paws. Enough said.
I hope this little lifesaving tip helps to make you a calmer and kinder parent. If you have any tips for other moms and dads with delightful but LOUD babies, please, please share. Good luck and consider this: you may have the next Beyoncé or Prince on your hands with that strong voice.