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Breakdown of a Meltdown

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Felix has fewer meltdowns than he used to. But they still happen. We understand how people used to think that some babies were possessed by an evil spirit. He really goes berserk and he looks possessed.

This is what a typical meltdown entails

  • He starts to twitch, flail, and kick. He doesn’t have a whole lot of control over his limbs, and sometimes they seem to control him.
  • He makes machine-gun sounds, crying with a bunch of glottal stops in rapid succession.
  • He starts looking out the right corner of his eyes a lot. This is when you know you’re in trouble. The meltdown has gained momentum and there is probably no avoiding it.
  • He starts crying.
  • Then he screams.
  • Then he hyperventilates.
  • Then he sounds like cat being strangled. He screams so hard that his vocal cords don’t vibrate and it’s just a hoarse, strangled-cat sound.
  • He keeps doing all of these things, looking out of the right corner of his eyes, flailing. You can’t get his attention or distract him. He will do this for a very long time unless he is brought back from the edge

During the first month with him, we had no idea how to bring him back from the dark side. Then we read The Happiest Baby on the Block, which is basically a book on how to calm crying infants. We started applying the techniques described in the book (swaddling, very loud white noise or shushing, swinging or jiggling, sucking (finger or pacifier)) and, while he still has many meltdowns, they don’t last hours like they used to. They’ll last a while and then we’ll bring him back to sanity. He might stay on the edge for a while, but it was a huge change in our lives to be able to stop the screaming.

We hope he will grow out of these soon. We fear he might keep doing it until he’s twelve.

Next post will be cute, not scary like this one.


Written by rapidgrowth

5 August, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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