20 September 2014

C'est La Vie

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
Ferber method
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.


Anonymous said...

Dominic is six weeks and just started holding his head up for longer periods when I'm holding him up to my shoulder. I looked at his blessedly sweet little turtle-craned stretch this morning and was sad that he's no longer so floppy that he can't up but constantly snuggle with me.

These life stages go so fast. I was thonking to myself last night how "I never have a moment to myself" is the negative way of saying, "my boys love being with me, interacting with me, helping me, learning from me."

Oh, to pause and count our blessings ! TB

Amelia Bentrup said...

Oh man...you are totally in the HARDEST part of parenting. The hardest part is having multiple little kids and NO big kids. It's just hard, hard, hard. It does get easier, and you don't have to wait for college for that to happen. once you had a kid older than 6 or 7 or 8, it's a whole different story.

And, when my kids were babies the only way I could get them to sleep alone was to nurse them lying down in bed and then once they were super sound asleep, slowly sneak away. Forget putting them down...was.not.happening. But if they fell asleep already lying down, I could sneak off and leave them in the bed.

Even now, at age 2, I still spend like 15 minutes nursing Elsa down for her nap (that I'm lucky if it lasts 40 minutes) and then another hour or so, nursing her down to sleep at night (but at least now, she will sleep at night alone in the bed for a few hours).

It is exhausting spending so much time getting them to sleep, but I figure what is the alternative? Letting them cry? I just can't do that so I just make the best of it and realize that they do outgrow it.