Saturday, June 30, 2012

Failing at Everything

Do you ever get that feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough? Nothing is right, and you are a complete failure at everything? Like the opposite of King Midas...everything I touch turns to shit.

Ever since we've been home from vacation, my dear sweet little one has been a raging brat at bedtime. Now, he's never been a good sleeper, something I've never tried to hide. But we were getting into a routine, and he slept great all vacation.

When we got back, I started a new routine where I would nurse him until he was really sleepy, then lay him down in his crib and hold his hand until he fell asleep. For a week or two, it worked beautifully. The plan was to lay him down a little more awake each night, and then gradually withdraw my presence so that he would start to fall asleep on his own.

It is so far from working, it's not even funny.

Now he won't nurse to sleep. He pops off after a minute, asks to be laid in his crib, then about three minutes later asks to nurse again. At that point, my options are to say yes and nurse and then repeat the process for the next hour. Or say no, have him have a hysterical fit, and eventually either cave and nurse him to sleep or have my husband come in and be the tough guy.

Both options suck in my opinion. After having some hope that we were making progress, I now feel worse about this kid's sleep than I ever have before.

So much so that after he finally got to sleep tonight, I had my own crying fit.

I know I haven't been super consistent with his sleep routine, but that's because every time I start to get into a pattern, he changes the way he reacts to it and it becomes pointless.

Frankly at the moment, I'm too tired to give one little rat's ass what anyone thinks about me or my parenting. Attachment, cry-it-out, somewhere in the middle, I don't care...someone just tell me how to get this kid to sleep.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Continuing Saga of Poorly Timed Poop

Today was a great day. We visited with neighbors in the early afternoon, then went to a birthday party for a pair of sisters. My little guy had such a good time jumping in the bouncy house, playing with their toys, running around with the kids that I could barely get him to slow down to eat some cake.

On top of all that, the weather was beautiful. And, like most New Englanders, I'm constantly obsessed with the weather.

We had so much fun that we didn't realize how close it was to bedtime. Since the little guy didn't have a bath last night, I really wanted him to have one tonight (do you see where this is going?). So I did the heavy lifting in the bath--scrubbing the day's dirt and sweat off, washing his hair--then left my husband in charge so I could fluff the diapers up in the dryer since they were stiff from hanging out in the sun.

Well, I barely got two steps out of the bathroom when hubby calls out to me with panic in his voice. Yes, that's right, this marks our third poop in the tub. We scooped him out and tried to get him to sit on the potty, but he wasn't having it. So hubby wrapped him in in a towel and took him out into the living room while I got rid of the now-ruined toys and sanitized the tub.

As the tub was refilling, hubby sat the little one on the potty, and we smiled and talked to him about pooping on the potty....and sure enough, he did it!

So it seemed like it was going to be a literally crappy end to an otherwise fantastic day, but then we ended with a pretty awesome milestone.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Perils of the Digital Age

Yesterday I took my son to the park for a play-date with a friend and her son. It was a gorgeous day, low seventies and ample sunshine. The boys played on the playground, we took a walk around the aviary, then had a picnic lunch.

In between all of that, the coffee-slugging mamas had to use the restroom. But my child was getting hungry and crabby, so as a distraction while I used the bathroom, I gave him my cell phone to play with. As I rounded the corner walking away from him, I saw him toss it on the ground. I thought to myself, let me just pee real quick, and then I'll grab it.

Do you think I remembered to do that?

The next time I even thought about my phone was when we were packing to go home. Of course, my friend had already left so I couldn't enlist her help to either help me look for it or stay with the boys while I frantically retraced all our steps.

So I drove down to the entrance booth (it's a big park) and asked if anyone had turned it in...nope. So I drove back up to the playground area and looked where he dropped it...nope. Long story short, I looked everywhere we'd been even though I knew where it had gotten lost. I asked the parents on the playground if they'd found a cell phone laying around...nope.

I'm still hoping it got turned in before the park closed yesterday. But since I don't have a home phone, I have to wait until my mom comes over so I can call from her phone.

At first, my only thought was about the inconvenience of being without a phone for a bit. But then I realized I have hundreds of pictures of my son, my nephews, my niece and plenty of friends on there. So not only am I missing all my pictures, but who know who has my phone. What if some sicko is looking at pictures of my little guy...worse, pictures of me nursing my little guy? Not to mention all the names, addresses and phone number of friends and family that are in there.

I'm still hopeful that I'll call today and they'll have it, but if not, I guess it's a new phone for me. Next time, I'll save all my pictures somehow.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cloth Diapers and the Law of Poorly Timed Poop

If there is one universal truth that all cloth diapering mamas know, it's that your child will always poop on the maiden voyage of any new diaper. In the past year and a half, this has happened literally every time I've put my boy in a new diaper.

Tonight, I learned the rule of the poorly timed poop extends to all new (or newish) diapering situations.

I've never been one to use fitted diapers. I had a couple hand-me-down fitteds from my sister and I bought one (a popular brand that I can't quite recall at the moment). But they never seemed to fit my little guy right and I just couldn't get the hang of them. But there was a really good deal on a few weeks ago, so I bought a couple. They fit okay, and tonight I decided I was going to try one out for nighttime use.

Now I've only been back to using cloth at night for a month or two. We had horrible leak issues for the longest time, then I just got lazy and got in the routine of using sposies at night. So tonight I took one of these marvelously soft bamboo fitted diapers, laid an extra bamboo/cotton insert in it, added the extra insert that came with the diaper, lined the whole thing with fleece for that stay dry feeling and wrapped the whole thing in a Bummi's Super Brite cover.

This was a lovingly and carefully constructed diaper. And it was a bit of an experiment as I really wanted to know how long it would hold up before getting soaked.

What does that mean? Why, of course, my darling son pooped about five minutes after I put it on.

It could have been worse, right? He could have pooped before I put it on.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Magic of Motherhood

You know the saying, "I was a perfect parent, and then I had kids"? It's so true. When I was just an Auntie and not a Mama, I had my game down. My nephews and niece were like my own little fan club; I could do no wrong in their eyes. At the same time, I wasn't one of those aunts who feeds the kids nothing but cake and ice cream and lets them rule the roost. I did my best to uphold my sister's values and rules when I babysat...maybe with just a little extra leeway.

When I had my son, it's not that I thought it would be easy, but I thought I'd be better at it.

It was such a slap in the face when, at about two weeks into motherhood, I realized that I was fumbling through everything. As a person who was always good with kids, the fact that I was struggling so much with my own child was hurtful. The worst part was that I had no one that I could look at and say, "Stop hurting me!" I mean, it wasn't the baby's fault; it wasn't my husband's fault (though he took the brunt of my frustration).

Was it my own fault?

Wasn't I supposed to be the one person who could calm my baby better than anyone? Wasn't I supposed to be the one person who knew instinctively what my baby needed? Wasn't I nursing and using cloth diapers? Wasn't I putting everything of myself into this kid?

And somehow, my mere presence wasn't enough. He cried, I nursed. He cried, I changed a diaper. He cried, I swaddled.

He cried, he cried, he cried.

The fact is, some kids cry more than others. Whether you call it colic, a high needs baby, or spirited, the fact is, sometimes babies cry. But it is painful when you feel like you don't know how to sooth your own child. The other fact is we're not magical. We really want to believe that the bond between mother and child will be there instantly, but sometimes it's not. And that's so hard to admit. You feel deficient saying that...I feel deficient saying it, and this all happened a year and a half ago!

So I want all the soon-to-be moms out there to know, motherhood is wonderful, special, surreal, but magical? No. It's hard work, it's labor intensive, it's long nights, sore nipples, poopy diapers, showerless days. And that's where the bond happens. In the midst of constantly putting yourself second to a tiny dictator, somehow, you start to feel it and your baby responds to you feeling it. And it gets easier...slowly, but surely, it gets a little easier.

And then your baby smiles a goofy, gummy grin right at you...and that's magical!