Eleanor does not sleep unless she is being held. Put her down? Tears. Pick her up? Sleeping. As you can imagine never ever putting Eleanor down interferes with my ability to parent Abigail. Who, if you'll recall, is mad at me. And then there is night fall. Eleanor likes to go to bed for the night around 7 or 7:30pm, about when Abigail goes down. But again we have insta-tears the moment my hands leave her body. Except at night, Eleanor's fuse is about .3 seconds long. Oh man, she goes to furious, outraged, bloody-murder scream so freakin' fast. And she has zero patience for Daddy-time at night. It makes it hard to even go to the bathroom, let alone do a few dishes, finish some laundry, play a board game with the husband. Tonight was one of those nights where I just didn't have the patience for Eleanor's angry scream. I'm feeling a bit stretched-out, a bit drained. I don't have enough fuel in the system to power calm, patient mom. So Matt stepped in and for the first time possibly ever, she accepted him. So he is now trapped in the bedroom with the tablet and a sleeping child, probably playing a few guilt-free rounds of Kingdom Rush and I am out here with the Dr Sears Baby Sleep Book and the Internet. And I Googled everything:
Four month sleep regression
Four month old sleep habits
Four month old won't sleep unless held
Baby won't sleep unless held
Dr Sears four month old sleep alone
Bouncer vs swing
White noise machine Dr Sears
Are white noise machines worth it?
Babywearing while sitting?
Juggling toddler and baby
Why the hell is this so hard?
And at some point, it dawn on me: There is no answer. You can't fix this. This is what having small children is like. No shit, it's hard. C'est la vie.
Babies are needy. They like to snuggle with their mommies. There is no magic swing-bouncer-white noise machine combo that will make her sleep by herself. And no bedtime routine in the world is going to get an infant to peacefully drift off into dreamland. And I'm batting 0 for 2 in the "children who eventually stop screaming when left in their cozy beds alone" category. And while, "Enjoy this because one day you'll miss it" is not really easy to hear right now, it's true. One day I will be sitting in a nursing home with tremors in my hands or in adult diapers I can't change by myself and I will give anything to be a strong, healthy 27-year-old mother cuddled up in bed with my newborn daughter.
Right now is not the time in life where I get to go out for drinks with the girls or paint my nails a pretty fall color or snuggle up with my husband on a Friday night. And that's okay. Because one day it will not be the time in life when I get to dress up babies in frilly dresses or feel little baby breaths on my neck or hear Abigail say "pwetty, Meemee!" One day I won't be the most important person in their lives. C'est la vie.
So when I feel a bit too stretched out, call in Matt. Take an hour to myself. But don't waste my hour trying to find a solution to an unsolvable problem. Just enjoy the peace, let myself re-fuel. But I can't waste my hour bemoaning my lot and searching for a solution to the problem of babies who love their mommies.