Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bad Mother Days

Every mother goes through one of those days. You know those days, the ones where you feel like you've failed in the general sense and you need the day to end so you can have a do-over. Every person has those days, but being at home with a baby generally means that those days have left you feeling like an ass parent and your baby doesn't love you anymore.

I mean, it wasn't even that bad, exactly. Jack was a little off schedule and that meant he was unpredictable. When would he be hungry? Tired? I'd have to watch and wait and see. His naps were 40 minutes, throwing him even more off and making his diaper changes less easy. See, I'd throw him in a new one before a nap and after, roughly 90- to 120- minute intervals.

But I wasn't going to do it at 40-minute intervals. And those short-ass naps left me frazzled. It's just not enough time to relax and actually do something or take a nap, yourself.

Kiddo takes three naps a day, usually. But his third nap ended shortly after 2:00. His bath is at 6:30. Asleep by 7:00. Five hours awake for him ruins all our lives. Do babies get super tired after being up a long time? Oh no. Well, yes. But no. They express this aching fatigue with freaking out indefinitely. Then they pass out, and wake throughout the night to freak out some more.

Anyone who tells you a baby doesn't need regular naps is ridiculous. Just an FYI. A strict schedule may not be necessary, or even possible, but you gotta make room in your life for your baby to sleep at sensible intervals, otherwise you're all doomed.

So what did I do? Well, I tried to stretch out the nap past 2:00. I tried for an hour to get him back to sleep. He was rubbing his eyes and crying. And crying. And crying. This means he was tired. But he did not sleep. I'd give him his soother, which he'd suck on gratefully for 5 seconds before he'd pull it out and howl. I'd hold his arms down, mimicking a swaddle, which sometimes works. But no, it made him bounce his body against the mattress and chortle.

So I took him back to the living room for another hour, determined to put him down for a fourth nap, to break up the five-hour stretch of impossible foolishness. He was cranky, so I put on the TV to distract him from how much he hated everything. Yeah, six-month-old and TV. Shut up, I don't care.

Then back to nap time. No dice. He was even more tired, but probably over tired by now, so what did I do when nothing was working again and time was running out for this nap to even happen and thus spare us all a nightmare?

I let him cry himself to sleep. I went in to calm him down a couple times, only to realize this would wake him up and renew the sobbing. So I laid down on my bed and listened to my normally sweet baby wail for 30 minutes total. Then silence for 35 minutes as he took a forced and likely unsatisfying nap.

He woke up in less than good humour, but not as cranky. His eyes were a little puffy and I felt like an asshole. I regretted nothing, but still.

And so around 6:00 I tried to feed him apple oatmeal mash. He took three bites and cried. Screw it.

It wasn't till I got him ready for his bath (Alone, when normally the Dude handles this. He had to stay late at work unexpectedly) that I realized I forgot his last diaper change. Not only was he unpredictable, but my normal routines were thrown off and he had soaked his clothes. Awesome. Mom of the year.

I think Jack prefers his dad to do the bath time routine. Not only is the Dude more energetic after a day spent not doing child care, but he's had time to miss him and is bubbly and fun. I was probably pretty perfunctory.

Jack normally falls asleep on the Dude as he's fed his final bottle before bed. He didn't do that for me, and he didn't fall right to sleep either like he usually does. By the time I collapsed on the couch I was so done.

My entire list of accomplishments for today include: Kept baby alive.

And tomorrow the Dude is seeing the David Bowie exhibition and won't be here for bath time. Christ kittens, I'm tired just thinking about it.

But I'll end this on a high note: A few days ago I took Jack to a store and showed him some toys and he lit up at one of them, and so I just had to get it.

And now Big Bird is his favourite.


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