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The epic meltdown of the century

Ever since my adorable, tiny baby was born, I’ve been looking forward to when we could get back to our previous schedule of frequent outings. Well, not ever since, since for at least a few days to a week I was quite enjoying just sitting around having a normal breastfeeding relationship with my new baby. It wasn’t before long, though, that I realized that my ability to remain calm in the face of my toddler’s inability to remain calm hinged on our ability to get her the hell out of the house. Having a newborn who eats on a regular schedule of all the time put a damper on my ability to go anywhere where I wasn’t just sitting right back down and feeding her again. (Another hindrance in our leaving the house was the factor of how inordinately hot it’s been this summer and my inability to survive and parent when it’s inordinately hot.)

When adorable, tiny newborn was about a month old, after a couple of weeks of increasing tension from seeing only each other all day, every day, the three of us went for a walk to the playground. It went fairly well. Newborn (C) slept in the Ergobaby or nursed almost the entire time. Toddler (G) played with “her friends”, aka kids she just met. There were a few less than optimal aspects to our trip. I should’ve brought the stroller at least for the walk home. I should’ve brought the water bottle. I couldn’t have done anything differently when it came time to leave and C started crying just as G was running away, crying that she didn’t want to leave.

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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in mama

 

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Blogging about talking about sleep

What do people mean when they ask you if your baby is sleeping through the night? Do they know that normal baby sleep doesn’t always involve sleeping the entire night for 8-12 hours? Do they want to judge you if your baby isn’t sleeping through the night? Do they want to sympathize if you’re not getting a full night’s sleep? Do they really mean to ask if you’re getting enough sleep but the “normal” question to ask a new parent is about the baby’s sleep?

It doesn’t matter. I’m done caring about the motives behind the question “is your baby sleeping through the night” because I’m done answering it. I’m instituting a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about baby sleep. It may be based in superstition or coincidence or a misunderstanding in the difference between correlation and causation, but that doesn’t really matter. I’m done answering any questions about my children’s sleep.

Why, you might ask, would I do such a thing? I’ll tell you.

Any time someone asks about how well my kid is sleeping, I’ll try to be positive (and part of it is my ability to forget the frustrating times and only remember the successful, restful times) and say something like “oh, she sleeps great. She wakes up a few times to nurse but is right back to sleep, usually.” (See, I even say things like “usually” because I don’t want to jinx it.) Invariably, that very night, something different will happen (difficulty falling asleep, waking more during the night, waking earlier in the morning than usual), and I’ll remember that conversation about sleep, shake my fist and curse talking about sleep.

I’m fully aware that any of those things could happen on any other night and I’d just get frustrated, but deal with it as a variation of normal or developmental/growth spurt or what have you. The fact that I’d just spoken about sleep in a positive way makes the negative that much more negative. Hence, I am not going to talk about sleep anymore (or at least that’s my goal). If you ask me how well my newborn sleeps, well, I haven’t thought of a simple, clever, inoffensive response yet, so I might start ranting about how talking about sleep changes the sleep so I don’t want to talk about it. I guess I should work on that response.

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in mama

 

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Memorial Day weekend lesson learned

This weekend, I learned a valuable lesson about myself. Or rather, I officially recognized what I’d known about myself for a while yet hadn’t necessarily taken seriously.

If I get overheated, I do not function.

It’s not so much that if it’s warm out, I get a little cranky or if I get warm, I get cranky. If I’m overheated (which is exacerbated by the pregnancy, no doubt), my ability to engage with the world in a respectful way decreases until I’m a raging, frustrated puddle of sweat. I am unable to parent in a way that my child deserves. I am unable to interact with others in a way that they deserve. I am unable to care for myself in a way that I deserve (and even writing that sentence is somewhat difficult in that merely acknowledging that I deserve to be taken care of properly brings up feelings of guilt that I’d be taking time or attention away from caring for my family, but that’s a tangent for another post).

It doesn’t matter what the thermostat says. It doesn’t matter what other people are feeling. If I feel as if I’m overheating, I have to take steps to prevent it from getting out of hand. I have to make myself drink ice water. I have to get myself in front of a fan or in a room with air conditioning. I have to be ok with the possibility that our electricity bill will be higher from running our A/C more frequently, especially if that means that I’m able to treat my family the way they deserve and the way I prefer.

Maybe this kind of thing is obvious. Maybe this kind of self-care/self-awareness is normal for most people. Up until the past few days, though, I’ve been thinking of temperature control in terms of others being comfortable, and if I got too warm, well, I just had to suck it up and deal with it (so said my internal monologue, not anyone else). Sucking it up isn’t working anymore. I’m learning to trust myself, learning to recognize my limitations before I reach them (at least for the most part), and learning to speak up or make changes to prevent myself from turning into the Incredible Sweat Puddle Hulk. Because really, no one wants to see that.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in mama

 

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