In My Weakness…

My daughter is sick, and I am rather in pieces. I am fairly certain this is a sinus infection — the congestion, the sneezing, coughing, feverishness, complaining of her ears hurting. Sinus infections and I are old frienemies, and I’m pissed as all hell that my toddler daughter is having to deal with this. She is croaky and sneezy and bleary-eyed, poor girl, and I am doing everything I know to do, with little relief seeming to be the result. So it’s rather heartbreaking, truthfully. All I can do is keep caring for her as best I can and pray that she starts to feel better soon.

That Mom? That’s Me.

Today, not half an hour ago, I was that mom.

I was the mom who walked into the gas station Subway with a crying toddler, who was angry because we were there instead of on a walk.

I was the mom with the toddler trying to stealthily sneak off because she believed that we didn’t need dinner and wanted to leave the Subway.

I was the mom with the toddler throwing her Lambie around because she was angry that I wanted her to stick with me.

I was the mom with the toddler who gave a scream and went prone on the floor in the middle of the checkout line, right when it was time for us to move forward for our turn.

I was the mom who stepped over her prone toddler to pay for the aforementioned sandwiches for dinner.

I was the mom who, but for the grace and integrity of the hoodie that I was grasping, would have had a toddler who planked herself face first into the asphalt.

I was the mom with the toddler who tried to stalk off through the parking lot, proclaiming she was “going walk”.

I was the mom with the red face. I was the mom with tears threatening. I was the mom trying staunchly to disbelieve that there are other people in the world, much less other people occupying the same commercial space as I was in those moments.

I am the mom with cranky tears still threatening and a mug of room temperature vanilla chai that I never got to enjoy.

I am the mom who, at this very moment, is catching her toddler throwing chips and, probably soon her sandwich as well, out of her high chair and onto the floor.

So, in all honesty today, this is for me. If you get something out of it, great. Really, though, this is for me. But thanks for not judging me.

DISCLAIMER: The linked article below is NOT mine but was posted at Stuff Moms Say.

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Click me to go to the article.

Wednesday Whine – Such a Day

Today was a tough day. Elizabeth began the day cranky, and I began it tired so it was a perfect storm  for a rough day. I tried to give her the attention she wanted while still retaining my sanity, but it was hard.

Firstly, her diaper leaked and wet the couch as we read her ABC book (I hadn’t changed her out of her overnight diaper yet). Cleanup on aisle 1! Then, potty training was exhausting as it seemed that she wanted the potty or had her diaper off every five minutes. She tore through the living room like her beloved Stitch himself. Everything had to be out. After the third time in a row of me cleaning up her unused tea set and her following immediately after me to throw it to the floor again, my already-raw nerves snapped and I burst into tears. I just sat on the couch and sobbed, which Bizzy thought would be made better by bouncing up and down and then climbing on top of me.

All day, it was one thing or another. When I finally decided to seize time enough to myself to read one (1!) chapter of a book, suddenly Elizabeth runs in from the living room in all her diaperless glory. I followed her into the living room to find a discarded diaper, a wet puddle on the carpet, and little poo pellets scattered around the diaper. It was hard, really, really hard, not to scream and cry and scold, but I chose not to as best I could. I admit that I shooed her away rather sharply when she tried to tromp through the wet spot I was cleaning. But, I decided to look at it as her learning to identify when she is wet or dirty and needs clean underwear/diaper. That’s progress, right?

I did, eventually, manage to finish chapter 1 of The Fringe Hours, thankfully. It was good and a book that I hope will be of help to me. So, yes, it was a tough, nerve-wracking day all the way up to bedtime. But tomorrow is a new day, yes? A new day and a new chance to make good with the life I’ve been given and the one whose charge I have been blessed with.

Whiny Wednesday: I Feel Like Sorry

There are days – many days – when I feel like I should say I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I’m constantly tired and only good for sitting or lying on the couch after Elizabeth goes to bed.

I’m sorry that I get distracted by my toddler when you’re talking (whoever you are, whether in person or on the phone). I really am listening to you and interested in what you have to say.

I’m sorry that portions of my house are messy. I can only do so much in a day and I just didn’t get to that one room.

I’m sorry for the repetitive meals. They are quick and easy and something all three of us will usually eat without a problem.

I’m sorry that I have to say ‘no’ to plans out more often than I can say ‘yes’. It’s not that I don’t want to go or do things with you. I really, really do.

I’m sorry for the times that I say to my daughter, “Get off me!” because I’m so inundated with the little personal space invader that my skin is starting to crawl.

I’m sorry for feeling like I should feel sorry. I’m sorry for not being the confident “I can do anything” woman that society (or at least part of it) wishes for all mothers to be. I’m sorry I’m not a Pinteresty sort of SAHM with all kinds of crafts and cleaning hacks and design tips.

I am just a mother with a small house that never seems entirely clean, a rambunctious toddler that can turn on the sun with her smile, and a hard-working husband (teacher and pastor) whom I will never be able to thank enough for all he does.

A friend of mine shared this article this morning, I am entirely thankful for its honesty and truth. I agree with it wholeheartedly, though I am definitely one of those mothers that often feels guilty for wanting time to myself. But I’m working on it.

Growing So Quickly

I have felt that all I have done for the past week is cry. Last week, my Elizabeth turned 20 months old and, almost simultaneously, learned how to climb out of her crib, an action borne out of her pure stubbornness about going to bed one night. She has also seemingly decided that bedtime/naptime is a mere suggestion, not a requirement. So, on average, I am spending forty-five minutes to an hour in her room each night, telling her to lie down every time she tries to stand up in her crib or even administering discipline when she actively and brazenly tries to climb out of her crib to go back to the living room. She’s already climbed out four times and come close to hurting herself, so we are endeavoring to train the behavior out of her if possible.

But, yes, with all of this comes extra weariness and being more wired for me, frustration and feeling inadequate to the task, hence the tears almost every day and sometimes multiple times a day. There’s also physical pain when my daughter fights me with all of her toddler hulk strength when she is feeling angry or obstinate, necessitating me to put her down in her crib rather than cuddle her at bedtime. And that hurts even more.

I have lost my cuddle time with my baby. She might let me hold her long enough for her to drink her sippy of warm milk but then she has begun to fight to get down and away, which means I have to put her in her crib and repeat “lie down”, that it is time to sleep. My girl is active, going all the time, so cuddle time is rare.

There has been a good development on that front, though: she will actually sit with me at storytime, not just run around while I read, and we have found her favorite book.  Caroline Jayne Church’s Good Night, I Love You. Caroline’s children’s books are among my favorites and I want to collect them all for Elizabeth. I have Good Night, I Love You memorized, as Elizabeth insists on it being read several times before bedtime. I believe she has it memorized, too, as she knows just when to turn the pages and looks up at me right after I say the final lines of the book: “I love you. Good night.” She always has this big grin on her face when she looks up at me and I kiss her forehead or cheek.

So it’s been a week of growth and tears, and with today comes a refusal to nap and more attempts to climb so…I dare say: here we go again.

Whiny Wednesday

The pop made us all jump a little bit and then I watched in momentary fascination as a champagne cork bounced onto our table. Then my first instinct was the check my daughter to see if she had been hit, even going so far as to run my hand over her head to see if, impractically, there was a bump or something that would turn into a knot. I flashed a quick look at the giggling group of adults at the lounging table nearby. The woman holding the champagne bottle smiled and sort of shrugged at me, and I felt as if she were saying, “Your fault for bringing a baby here.”

OK, so maybe the look was all in my head but I frequently feel like that. In the airport, in restaurants, etc. People look at you as if to say, “How dare you bring your spawn out in public. It’s your fault if you have issues.”

Take last summer for instance. When we were leaving the Cayman Islands to come home, it was pouring rain as we waited in the terminal. My Vulcan nose told me immediately that Bizzy needed a change and now! However, the terminal bathrooms were under renovation and unusable. If passengers had to use the bathroom, they had to be escorted outside (like, OUTSIDE outside) the terminal to a bathroom round the corner by a gate agent. I was NOT taking my six-month-old baby out into the pouring rain to a bathroom that most likely didn’t have a baby changing station anyway. So we struggled through the crowded terminal to find a corner in which to change my poor little girl, who wailed this affront against her dignity in public. along with people who glared at me like the world’s biggest inconvenience  when I politely said “excuse me” to get by their feet with Elizabeth’s stroller(how dare I exist and have that ponderous contraption and screeching little body to push). After the second request, they would grudgingly move. Needless to say, I was nearly in tears before we ever left the ground. And people wonder why I hate traveling.

There are many places and people who are incredibly accommodating to parents and small children and, for them, I am extremely thankful. But it’s still hard when people look at me as if I committed the gravest sin of hubris by daring to procreate and then bring her out in public.

 

That Never-ending Chapter

Author’s Note: I am NOT looking for advice on sleep training my child. If you give it, it will only make me angry and resentful right now in my current state of mind. Thank you.

You know that chapter of a book that you get stuck on, whether because of time or distraction or what have you, and you keep reading it over and over again? That’s where life with Elizabeth feels right now, per her sleeping habits. I know it’s not Wednesday but I’m going to whine.

With spring here and daylight extending its presence, her clock is incredibly off. It used to be every night, 6:30/7:00 and she was good and ready and down like a light. Nowadays, it’s 7:30/8:00 and, though she is exhausted, she will fight tooth and nail against me holding her. She screams if I hold her, she screams if I put her down. She flails, she throws her pacifier. And I don’t know how to calm her. Tonight, it took an hour and a half to get her to sleep. After three failed attempts to put her down, I left her in her crib and sat in the living room, listening to her scream and wail like someone had just cut off her toe, writing this article in my head until I couldn’t stand it any more. I forced myself to stay calm amidst my frustration and frazzled state. I made a fresh bottle of milk, got a dose of Tylenol in case she is teething and was indeed in pain. I went back into her room, gave her a fresh pacifier, laid her down in bed and patted her back for a bit. She resisted and rolled around in the bed but I told her that I was not going to pick her up, she was fine, and it was bedtime. I sat in the rocking chair, facing her crib, and told her that I would sit with her until she fell asleep but I would not pick her up again and I forced myself to make that truth. I sat in the rocking chair and sang her lullabies. She stopped cry, though she still moaned for a long while and kicked at the bars of her crib, but, eventually she calmed and, finally, FINALLY she fell asleep in her crib and I slipped out of her room (what used to be our library by the attic stairs.

Today has been especially rough. Elizabeth and I…*sigh* She woke up at 11:40 last night, had a bottle, and went back to bed relatively easily. Then she woke up again at 4:30am and it was a struggle to get her to bed again, nor was it very long at all. I didn’t even bother taking off my glasses or getting comfortable in bed again because I just KNEW. She woke up again 5:30 and I just didn’t have the fight in me to wrestle her back to bed, so I let her get up, took her to living room, and set her down to play. She stayed up until 7:45am, when I got her to sleep again. Unfortunately, she only slept for less than an hour before getting up again so all day I was very tired. But there’s nothing for it so here I am. I shouldn’t complain. Lots of people are up before me normally  to go to work, Ben included. And, part of me wonders if I have earned this difficulty in a way. If I deserve it.

On the whole, Elizabeth’s infancy was incredibly easy. Difficulties with breastfeeding aside, she had no health issues, no colic, no allergies, no diaper rash, nothing like that. Her infancy was, all in all, stupidly easy and incredibly blessed. Sleeping through the night has never been a norm for her, though (it wasn’t for me either until I was three or form). So…I cannot help but think that, maybe, I deserve it, and maybe others think I deserve a little difficulty, too. I know, it’s stupid and ridiculous and trouble made of itself but I can’t help thinking that way at times, that maybe I am getting what I deserve and that others might think that’s true, too.

I know that the hard times are not the end of the story but I would really, really love to get past this chapter.