Thursday, August 23, 2007

Struggling Through

**Let it be known that I started this post many, many hours ago. It is now nearly dinnertime and has taken me several attempts to complete the following - if a rambling blurt can ever be complete.**

I am so exhausted that I can barely think.

But somehow I have managed to get a shower and make breakfast for myself and the girls and play with them for a while. I even fed the cats first, but that was more to keep from stepping on them than because I remembered. Believe me, they wouldn't let me forget.

So The Bug's first molar is coming out, as I said the other day. I was relieved for one day when there was a better-than-she's-had-for-a-long-time night's sleep, but since then her sleep has sunk back into the pit of crap that it's been in for the past month or two, and I am once again drowning in the no-sleep pit of despair. Almost every night, The Bug sleeps until I drag my sorry ass to bed after washing dishes, sweeping the floor, trying to accomplish other things, and very occasionally these days, spending a little time on the couch just chilling with Slipshod. Some time after I get to bed, anywhere from three minutes after I enter the room to two hours later, The Bug wakes up, and from then on she wakes up every 1-2 hours most nights. Until Sweet Pea awakes in the morning, the only refreshed sleeper in our family. Thank goodness somebody gets some sleep around here.

I cried over the phone at my neighbor this morning because it kills me how much time with Sweet Pea I have lost. Very close to all of it. I miss her so much. Yes, she's right here, but I can hardly ever make the time to sit with just her and do something, and when I try to do anything with just her when both of them are around - just reading a short book together or something - The Bug has to sit on my lap too, and then they end up pushing each other, yelling, and whining. For so long The Bug's needs have been more immediate than Sweet Pea's, and they still are. She is still a danger to herself in many ways and needs to be watched vigilantly. Since her speech is not as clear as Sweet Pea's, and she uses sign language to communicate some things I need to actually watch her, rather than just listen when she's talking, to find out if she's telling me she's hungry or thirsty, etc.

In the mean time, Sweet Pea waits patiently, or sometimes not so patiently, for my attention. Yet when I'm trying to get her to move to get ready to go somewhere, etc., I rush Sweet Pea. I get grumpy with her when she doesn't listen to me. But I know that she's learning it from the way I often treat her. Ugh.

I am so excited about her starting school next week but bummed, even a bit jealous, that she will probably have more fun at school than at home. I want to be the one to do fun things with her. On the weekend I am often encouraged to leave the kids with Slipshod or the grandparents and get out to maintain my sanity, and I do need that, and I take it sometimes as well - but what I really, really want is time alone with Sweet Pea.

Day in and night out I am all about The Bug. She needs me more during the day AND all night. I currently feel as if I never get away from her. I love her to bits, of course, but today I did not want to go get her out of her crib after her nap. I wanted somebody else to do it. I wanted more of a break from her.

If the grandparents (both sets) will ever decide and tell us what they're doing this weekend, I am going to try to plan a little outing for just me and Sweet Pea on Saturday or Sunday. She suggested that we walk to the nearby shopping center and get a smoothie together, because the only other time the two of us have taken some time out for just us, that's what we did. If I can fanagle more time, though, I would love to take her downtown to the paint-your-own-pottery place. We would have a ton of fun there together.

Which reminds me - today she added "artist" to her list of things she wants to be when she grows up. Here's the rest of the list: Cat Sitter, Mom, Basketball Player. Her dad gives her crap and asks why she wants to sit on cats when she grows up. "That's just mean," he jokes with her. ha ha!

As you can probably tell this missing time with Sweet Pea thing has been with me since The Bug was born. Actually, it has gotten worse and worse as she's gotten older. I thought it would get better, but I forgot that when babies are new they sleep a LOT during the day. Now we're lucky during the worst of the teething if she takes one nap per day (when the teeth aren't bothering her so much she'll sleep for 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours). Suddenly during the past week, with the beginning of afternoon preschool rapidly arriving, The Bug has decided to switch her nap to later - pretty much when we'll be needing to take Sweet Pea to school. Which means that she'll probably nap while Sweet Pea's at school. That means fabulous alone time for me, which I hardly ever get, but it also means no time with just me and Sweet Pea.

Part of the reason this is bothering me so much is because of days like yesterday, and comments like the one Sweet Pea made this morning. Yesterday she was just a ball of nerves and cried so hard when I cut some food for The Bug at lunch. The food I cut for The Bug was never intended to be for Sweet Pea, but she thought it was, for some reason, and thought I was making her share against her will, and she threw a freakin' tantrum and it took a LOT of cooing and coaxing from me to calm her down. Normally I probably would have griped at her and ignored her to get her to quiet down, but when she started I was on the phone with my sister, who can be hyper critical, so my protective mom gear kicked in and I was able to see what she needed from me more clearly than if I had been alone in the situation and annoyed by it.

The comment she made this morning was, "you know, Mom, sometimes I forget and I think that The Bug is just visiting." She wasn't bitter or angry, just amused. But things like that, and my sister's interpretation of it, make me think that maybe instead of actually being fine with having a baby sister, Sweet Pea is actually just repressing how she really feels about having a sibling, and is being a sweet little girl to please us. Thank goodness I have a normalizing influence from Slipshod's family. His sister assures me that I will live through the rest of the teething. "Now, I'm not sure about the baby," she jokes. And his mother tells me that the sibling stuff is all normal and that siblings are never 100% content with each other and at peace with having to share their parents with each other.

Another reason that not having the time I used to with Sweet Pea really bothers me - and you're probably going to laugh at me about this - is because when she was born, Slipshod's mom had a friend of hers do an astrological reading and chart for Sweet Pea. Her friend even printed everything up for us and came down to the house to present it to us, which was great and lots of fun. But the one thing that stuck with me the most, because he repeated it over and OVER and OVER - was that we REALLY need to be there for Sweet Pea during the year between the ages of 4 and 5. I don't remember if there was any indication of why, certainly not specifics, but now that she's in that year, and I've already been feeling guilt about emotionally neglecting her for the past year, I'm sort of freaking out about what he said. I hope that over the next year I can find a way to be more present for her.

Because of all the stuff I just blurted about above, I am actually happy that Sweet Pea has given up her kid bed and decided to move back into our bed with us. We had gotten used to having more room so it's pretty squishy again, but I love being able to snuggle her, even though Slipshod's the one who is with her when she falls asleep most of the time so she's usually asleep by the time I get to snuggle with her. It makes me feel somehow like if I wasn't able to be there when she needed me during the day, at least I can snuggle her at night and I hope that somehow she'll feel that motherly love in her dreams and know that I still love her just as much as I ever did.

Okay, now that you all think I'm completely looney, let me remind you that I have not slept well in 5 years, and the past month or two have been consistently difficult in that regard. When I get like this I have a tendency to get depressed, maudlin, and sometimes even downright off my rocker. So there you go. Feel free to leave comments about how I'm not crazy and I'm not alone and this, too, shall pass. Because that might keep me going.

In sweet child news - today Sweet Pea was in a drawing mood and turned out a book full of kitty pictures while The Bug was napping. She even diverged from her usual theme of kitty cats to draw me a stack of pictures of myself - wearing kitty cat ears in my curly hair, and with a huge belly button like all her kitty cats have - and then she drew me a picture of herself, "so you'll remember me while I'm at school, Mommy." Awwww.


daniela said...

Not looney, not one bit. So much of what you write (not just in this entry), I relate to - and find moving. And you write it out so well. So here goes - this too shall pass :-). Hang in there. Please wish Sweet Pea fun times with the start of school coming up, very exciting time. We start up in a bit over a week. Wishing you all well..and soon some nights full of sleep. Miss you, hope to visit again soon!

Christina said...

That's tough. Just remember, you still have more time for Sweet Pea than many parents who work full time have to spend with their kids. So while it feels like you're not spending enough time with her, it's still more than many kids get. (not that it helps much, I know)

Also, Sweet Pea still clearly loves you. We tend to judge ourselves far more harshly than our children judge us. My mom is very hard on herself about how she never had time for me, but I remember her as a great mom.

If the Bug is waking only after you go to bed, is it possible that she might sleep better on her own? When Cordy was a baby, we co-slept for awhile, but then we couldn't take her constant waking. We put her in her crib one night just to try it, and she slept through most of the night!

Hang in there, I'm sure it will get better! And I know how you feel with the sleep deprivation!