Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Phase

(Written a few days ago, at rapid, venting speed, and then posted after proofreading to ensure it wasn't excessively over dramatic and woe-is-me.)

(It might still be anyways.)

It is twelve thirty pm. I have at last put Jameson down for his nap, after plying him with sippee cups and a smorgasbord of food and ok, fine, here, have a bite of Mommy's chocolate, even, just STAY AWAKE for another hour. He has yogurt, aforementioned chocolate, and his own blood from not one but two face-plants smeared on his shirt front and sleeves. He is so, so tired.

It has come at last, the uneasy dance between two short naps and one long afternoon nap, and Baby isn't taking it too well. He is still sleepy and sucking his fingers by eleven am, but if I actually put him down then, we end up with yet another day of countless ten minute, fake-out kind of naps, no real sleep at all, and then an overly tired baby who WON'T GO TO SLEEP come bedtime. So I've been aiming for twelve thirty at the earliest before he goes down, and if all goes well he then sleeps until three thirty or four. He gets up, snacks, plays hardcore, and is sleepy again at eight thirty, which is the big kids' bedtime too and which is basically awesome sauce, obviously, but not without its hiccups. Basically his really tired phases keep coinciding with meals, so after breakfast, I just try to sneak food into him here and there, all morning long, so he won't be hungry by Official Nap Time even if he does disregard any attempt at feeding him an Official Lunch. Then I try to sneak food in before dinner because I know he's likely to be tired and crabby by dinner, too.

Hey, wow this is boring! I'm so sorry. I'm boring myself. Toddlers, though, amiright? They're like... they're like Rubiks cubes. Which I have never been good at. Mind puzzles, especially human mind puzzles, are not my favorite thing. Do you let them snack through the day (on healthy things!) so their blood sugars stay stable and they don't lose their minds? Do you strictly limit snacking so they'll actually eat their meals at regular times and get to join in with the family and pick up on social skills? Do you let them try to use utensils even though it makes your own dinner a tense exercise in Applesauce Flinging Prevention, or do you only give them easy finger foods so they don't get frustrated by their lack of motor skills and start to find mealtimes unpleasant? I just don't know.

I know they're not super significant either, these small decisions, but there are just so many of them throughout any given day that I end up feeling fairly overwhelmed by the time nap or bedtime arrives. And the vigilance required by a kid this age! I literally sag in relief once he's asleep, euphoric with the knowledge that I can stop swiveling my head around every couple of seconds, my ears tuned like a bat's, to make sure the baby is not actively trying to kill or maim himself. Or empty the towel drawer, or plumb the depths of the trash can or whatever new hobby he's momentarily taken up. He's not jumping off his brother's bed or licking the toilet or putting some stray earring into his mouth. He's not trying to yank dirty steak knives from the silverware basket every time someone dares to open the dishwasher. He's not sitting quietly in a dark room, methodically ripping apart his sister's pile of artwork with hawk-like concentration.

What's that? Put him in the play yard, you say? Yes, that does happen, trust me. If I decide to shower (anyone's guess!) or need to vacuum or do something that will require my attention to be decidedly not on Jamie, I do stick him in there. But unless he's kind of sleepy AND the tv is on to lull him, he stands there yelling, so it's pretty awful for everyone. He wants to be a Big Kid and play with his brother, and I know that's healthy and good and that freedom and exploration should be encouraged. I also know that the kid has bloodied his lip (in my presence, lest you think I was ignoring him while he swung from chandeliers) like four times in the last week, once requiring a trip to Urgent Care, thanks to all this freedom and exploration, so... Again with the Rubik's cube.

People always talk about kids going through phases, but I sometimes feel like it's ME in a phase lately. The pregnant with a young toddler phase, which means that any time he is resting, so am I, regrouping and zoning out until I must once again rally and take up my post. My post that is keeping Jameson safe and happy, or, failing that, at least ALIVE until Jim gets home. If he's clean and fed? Well that's just a bonus.

And yet he is so beautiful, so charming, so playful. His belly laugh is so infectious that it IS doable, this phase. It is tiring, and my standards for the house are far lower than they were even when he was a nursing newborn, for heaven's sakes, but I do enjoy him most of the time. I just also feel like I maybe deserve hazard pay.

At the very least more than two hundred milligrams of caffeine a day. That's a bunch of crap.


Scottish Twins said...

I feel your pain. I have no advice, because only you know Jamie best and know what he needs, but I agree with your Rubik's cube analogy. 99% of the time I have no clue what I am doing with any of my kids. They are all so different and I feel like I am just rolling with the punches. I have a tendency to beat myself up over these little decisions about sleep and food, trying to figure out what I think is best for baby's need vs. what fits the family's needs vs. what will keep me sane and rested. I feel like I've been in a phase over the last 6-8 months and while it's been good for me and baby, it hasn't been what's best for anyone else in the house. So whose happiness do you sacrifice?


It's just so hard to balance it all. You're pregnant though - don't be so hard on yourself. You're an excellent mother. You're right - being pregnant with a little one is hard stuff. Luckily the little ones are resilient and bounce back from our phases pretty easily!

Liz'sGirls said...

Oh wow. Your day sounds like mine. I'm in my third tri raising my tot at home. Right now I'm actually waiting until 12:30 while she makes this screeching noise that's ringing my ears. I can't say anything as long as she's happy doing it (felt the need to add that a corndog was just thrown onto the keyboard). Rubik's cube? Haha, I like that one. One flaw; A Rubik's Cube can actually be solved. I think this kid mystery will be in the unsolved case forever.

Glad to see you went out on V day. Some of us werent so fortunate. We had a black out so I sat with my girl and played peek a boo for hours until I started feeling a little nuts. Jeez I don't even remember the last time I went out with my husband. I'll take anything now. "Chevron! Let's Go!". Maybe after we have the kids, we won't be so.....ugh. lol