Sunday, December 13, 2015

Adventures in Parenting: Things that Suck.

Some days are good.  Some days are bad.  Sometimes, just moments are bad, but they can taint an otherwise good day.  This is just one of those venty posts--that hopefully some day I can come back to & laugh about once he's older.

1.  Nursing:  I won't lie--nursing is rough.  Not the actual process, but the reliance it creates.  Mama has bedtime duty because she can nurse him to sleep.  Mama has the magic boobs that can comfort a fussy baby.  Mama gets to wake up in the middle of the night for feedings.  Mama is the food source, so baby is instinctively anxious when that food source is not around, making Daddy's life hell if Mama leaves the house for a couple hours.

I know we need to start pushing the bottle, which will fix this problem--right now he's taken a bottle maybe 5-6 times, either from grandparents while babysitting, or a couple times from Dad while I was out.  We go to day care soon, so we've got to get him eating from a bottle regularly.

I also know nursing is just temporary--homeskillet is not going to be chompin' on the boob at age 13, or even age 1.  If we're lucky, between feedings at home & pumped milk we'll make it to 6 months.  I also know what I'm doing is an amazing miracle of the human body:  I'm producing food for a human being (that I also made with my own body).  The only other time you can do that is if a) you have a dinner date with the Donner party, or b) you're Bear Grylls drinking your own urine from a snakeskin.
But right kinda sucks.

2.  Mama's Boy:  As I mentioned above, I'm pretty sure that there's an instinctive draw between baby & mom because mom is the food source.  It's like homo sapiens desire to be near water, because we need it to survive (which is why we tend to feel relaxed at the beach or near a river--it's coded in our DNA).  Also--Mama got 12 weeks of maternity leave, whereas Daddy took 2.  Granted, I'm incredibly fortunate that my husband works out of our home/his car, so he is home with us a lot more than most dads get, but it's still me that's here all day.  He's used to hanging out with me all day.  Which means he's used to being soothed by me too.
This accompanied a text stating "Your turn." 

While this is frustrating for me, I think it's more frustrating for The Hubs, who would really like to have some good bonding time with our little man.  It's tough to have a crying baby in your arms that you've been trying to soothe for 15 minutes, and then Mom picks him up and he's totes cool.  Or, like I said, if I leave the house for a couple hours, and little man is supposed to take a nap during that time, he fights it with Dad, so that by the time I get home he's even more riled up--then Mom walks in the door and life is A-OK again.  (It's temporary--even I can't soothe an overtired baby forever.)

Again--I know from talking with other moms that this will change--my little man will grow closer to his dad as he gets older and eventually not want to have anything to do with his dear old mom.  But everything that sucks in the moment still sucks.

3.  Napping:  For the love of Pete, we cannot master the late afternoon/evening nap.  I know I shouldn't stress about this since he'll be going to day care in a few weeks and she'll get him on a good routine from 8a-5:30p, but he is just SO fussy in the evenings.  His naptime routine goes like this:  Wake up, feed, laugh and giggle and "talk" for about an hour and a half, then he conks out in his swing for about 2 hours til it's time for lunch.  Then we feed again, play for another hour, and then we try a nap again--usually in the swing again, which lasts MAYBE an hour if we're lucky.  Sometimes he doesn't want to go down, so if the weather is nice we go for a walk, which will get him to conk out for 30-45 minutes.  Then wake, feed, play again...and then it's about 4-5pm, and Lil' Man is obviously tired, but has no desire to nap.  If he's crankypants & I'm the only one home, I usually resort to putting him in the baby carrier & taking a walk around the back yard or around the house, just to get him to sleep for at least 30 minutes.  
Time for a 4 o'clock nap on Mom...really, it's for your own good--get some exercise, lady.

If he's less fussy & Dad is home, I let him work his magic (a variation of the 5 S's) and Dad can usually get him to take a 10-20 minute nap or so.  We've already bumped up his bedtime to help prevent him from getting too overtired in the evenings.

I know all of this will shift in a few weeks when I go back to work--he'll be waking up at 7:30 instead of 8:30, his day care will get him in a good nap routine, and he'll probably get something of an evening nap in the carseat on the way home, and we'll probably start putting him to bed a little earlier to account for the earlier wake maybe it will all just work itself out.  But since we're talking about kinda sucks.

4. Stay at Home Moms:  I have the utmost & utter respect from you.  Not that I didn't before, but now after being home with our little guy for 10 weeks, I have a more personal, first hand respect.  There is so much that goes into raising a functional tiny human, and to choose to dedicate your life to raising that human (or multiple humans) exclusively is a monumental that I'm honestly not sure I could do.  While I'm grateful for this time with my son, I'm honestly looking forward to going back to work.  Spending my days alone with our little man raises so much anxiety in me, and I spend so much of that time stressing over getting him to nap, or timing out trips from the house so that we're home in time to feed, or trying to find time to pump, or fretting if he'll behave if we make plans to meet up with people, or even just whether he's getting good quality developmental time at home.  I know part of that anxiety comes from being new at this "job", but I can't help that think some women are just MADE to be full time moms, and love doing it, and I admire and honor those women for having that be their Calling in life. 

And then of course, I get to feel guilty for feeling that way, even though multiple discussions with other moms tell me that 99% of new moms feel that way.  The desire to run away is strong.  The sense of "was this a good decision?" looms in the background of my mind--especially every time I see a commercial for a Caribbean all inclusive resort or cruise liner.  There's a level of selflessness required that you've just never had to experience before.  There's an urge to pass him off to someone more experienced because "they know what to do" and I don't.  There's a reason they say it takes a village...but where is my village?  Our families are 2 hours away, and we've all become such an internet society that there's very little face-to-face social interaction.  We're past the "we're coming over to see the baby and bring a casserole" phase, so unless we get out of the house & make things happen, Momma doesn't get to see other adults.  And unfortunately our local La Leche League meets during his morning nap time.

I could go back to work early.  I could opt to NOT do "part time from office, part time from home" when I go back in January (planning to do that for a month before I go back to the office full time).  But I want to "tough it out", partially because Christmas is coming up and this gives me the time to get everything ready for that, and partially because everyone says it's worth it, and that you'll miss the constant baby time once you're back at work.  And since veteran mom's know best, we're making the best of this time.

5.  Being Trapped with a Crying Baby:  Usually we're talking about 15-20 minutes of fussing in the back seat because he woke up & is hungry, overtired, or just tired of being in a carseat.  However, yesterday we went to Silver Dollar City with our church group.  The day started pretty okay--temps were perfect, it was overcast so it wasn't too bright out & we didn't have to put the sunshade over Lil' Man's stroller so he could actually see everything around him, he took a nap on the way there.  He was in a pretty neutral mood about the whole thing.  I fed him at one of the nursing stations they have on park (BTW--thank you, SDC, for that consideration)...and then our group decided to ride the train.  I haven't ridden the train around the park in ages, and so had completely forgotten what to expect. No strollers allowed, so I put Baby J in the Boba wrap so we wouldn't have to hold him the whole time.I knew it would blow its horn at all crossings, so we sat near the back. Lil' Man started to fall asleep as we boarded, and I briefly thought "allright!  He'll take his nap as we leisurely ride around the park." 

NEGATIVE. We forgot that at Christmastime, the SDC train becomes the Holiday Singalong Train, with Christmas music blaring through the speakers in every car, in addition to periodic commentary from the conductor.  As the train pulled away from the station, our conductor's voice came soaring through the speaker...directly above our heads.  Baby J jerked his head away from my chest, eyes wide in horror, hands balled into fists, and then came the wails and tears.  I looked at my husband, terrified:  I now have a screaming baby strapped to my chest for at least the next 20 minutes, with no escape.  I did my best to press his head to my chest and cover the exposed ear with my hand.  Eventually, he would stop sobbing during the Christmas music, and his eyelids would get heavy...and then the cheery conductor would blare through the speaker again and he would flail and the tears would start all over again.  Other passengers looked at us--the ladies with sympathy, the young kids with total disgust. The beautiful Christmas lights we passed along the train route barely registered for me as I tried to protect my little one's eardrums (and our sanity).

Upon our escape from the Train Ride From Hell, Lil' Man fell asleep within a couple minutes, and we decided it was probably a good time to head home, skipping the nightly parade and loud music around the giant Christmas tree.  We walked the mile back to our car, rather than taking the tram (which also comes with an announcer over a loudspeaker) so that he could continue to sleep.  We hoped he'd continue to sleep once we got back to the car, but no such luck--he did happily coo to himself for about 15 minutes, and then decided he was we pulled over at a gas station to cater to his whims (See #1--since he's still nursing, can't just give him a bottle & continue driving).  Then, again, with a full belly, we hoped he'd fall asleep for the remaining 15 minutes in the no avail.  He was content for about 10 of it, and then the last 5 minutes let us know he was DONE with the day. We put him to bed a little early and he thankfully zonked out.  Mom & Dad split a beer over dinner (and Mom had an extra piece of fudge). 

All in all...this time still kinda sucks.  Sometimes it's awesome, like when he's laying in my lap & smiling and cooing at me, or when weather is beautiful and we get to take a stroll outside.  And other times suck, like when he won't nap late in the day & becomes a huge crankypants who hates us & screams at us (seriously--work on the social skills, kid).    
Trying to decide what mood to be in.

Sometimes I look at other moms with their older kids--kids who can sit up or walk or talk or take a bottle, and I get envious.  But then I remind myself--every single one of those moms went through this. They survived, and I will too. Here's a statistic: approximately 4 million babies are born annually in the U.S., while only about 450 parents actually kill their kids each year--that's less than 0.01%!!!  

This period is a rite of passage.  And for some reason, those moms look at my little man and say "cherish this time, it goes so fast" or "he makes me want another baby!"  Which leads me to believe that either a) there's some inherent amnesia that overcomes mothers after some point, or b) all of the crap that comes with kids after this point is actually WORSE than newborn crap.

...Praying it's the first option.

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