Nap wars are going to kill me

I’d like to be writing a beautiful post right now about the joys and struggles of motherhood. How I look at C’s face and fall more in love every time I look at her.  Or even one about how I struggle with weekends because I want to turn off work, but my to-do list is still looming and I just know that if I put in a few hours over the weekend, my week will be much better.  Or, talk about how we went for a walk this weekend with C in her Baby Bjorn strapped tightly to Craig’s chest and the vision of my husband with my giggling baby girl was the best thing ever. 

But I can’t write about those things because I am dead.  The nap wars have killed me. 

I fall into the category of parents who think that kids do better on a schedule.  I also tend to think that it’s OK for them to cry a little and I believe the books that say it’s important for babies to learn to fall asleep on their own.  Or maybe, I’m just scared to death that they’re right and I will be breaking bad sleeping habits when she is old enough to talk and walk and thus it will be a hell of a lot harder, so really I’m just lazy and taking the easy way out. 

A few weeks ago, I thought I was working my way into the Mom of the Year competition by sort of getting C to sleep on her own and take naps that lasted longer than 30 minutes.  Then it turned out that she was sick.  Can you say observation fail?  So, instead of sleeping because I was such a rockstar sleep trainer, she was sleeping because she had a virus.  Still, I fought on.  Made a few changes to her daily environment including loading my mother in law up with sleep sacks and lullabies.  The weather broke so now they go on walks and she sleeps in the stroller.  And I thought it was getting better. 

Until this weekend.  When she took two 30 minute naps Saturday morning and then I missed the window for her afternoon nap.  By the time she realized she was sleepy she was also pissed and didn’t want to sleep.  So while I rocked and walked her, she screamed.  She didn’t want to be held.  Didn’t want to lay down.  Finally after 30 minutes of screaming, I gave up.  Another 45 minutes later, my mom got her to sleep.  Sunday, she fell asleep in my arms for her 9:00 nap and again after our walk around noon.  When she got fussy, Craig took her on a walk and she fell asleep. 

So at the end of another weekend, I feel like a failure.  Like maybe someone else knows my kid better than me.  Has a better “way” with her than I do.  Spends more waking hours with her and knows more about her schedule and patterns than me, who has to ask for a recap.  (Just a way to add a little more working mom guilt to my blog.) Leaving me to wonder what I can do to help my kid sleep better, longer, consistently. 

And, I’m stumped.  Because I’m worried that the stroller is becoming her crutch for sleep.  I know that we don’t want to be pushing the stroller around the house because that’s the only way she’ll fall asleep.  But I’m out of ideas, and at this point, I just want the child to sleep.  I’m trying not to get all worked up and react to a bad day.  Generally, she’s a pretty happy baby.  What I’m really looking for is someone, anyone, to say that she’ll be OK.  That, maybe, as she gets older, she’ll start sleeping longer.  That there’s nothing I can do differently. 

Anyone?  Anyone?

Flashing my “First Time Mom” badge

I don’t have Mommy instinct.  There I said it.  To everyone who said “you’ll just know what to do,” I say “you lied”.  I don’t know what to do.  When C was a wee one and went through a fussy spell every night in the early evening, I read “Happiest Baby on the Block” to learn how to soothe her.  I decided what to dress her in for bed because it was what a friend of mine dressed her daughter in.  When she got to the age that I thought she should be learning to put herself to sleep, I asked another friend for advice and bought “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child”.  We decided to start solid foods because the doctor said we could.  “Just knowing” has not been a part of my parenting experience.

So.  When I kissed the back of C’s head yesterday afternoon and it was hot enough to make me take her temperature (101.4) I immediately flashed back to our child birth class.  The one where a pediatrician came in and talked to us about when to go to the doctor.  My head was spinning as I texted friends, talked to my mother-in-law and called Craig.  My thoughts were jumbled, 90 miles an hour and went something like this: 

“My baby has a fever. OMG.  MY BABY HAS A FEVER.  It’s 101.4.  That’s high for babies, right?  The doctor said to bring her in if it was more than 101 and they were under 6 months.  Or was it 100 degrees and 3 months.  I can’t remember.  I think it was 101 degrees, under 3 months.  But she’s 5 months.  So, what do I do?  I should call.  No, I’m not calling.  She could be teething.  I’ll give her some Tylenol.  Ok, I should still call.  They’ll make me bring her in and it could be nothing.  Maybe I’ll give it an hour.  No, in an hour the office will be closed.  I think maybe I’ll call and ask if they can see her.  But Oh, hell, I haven’t showered yet today.  I’ll wash my face while I call.  OH MY GOD MY BABY HAS A FEVER.”

Craig made the decision easy and told me to call.  So I did and got an appointment for 6:10.  Where she played and giggled in the waiting room.  Another mother even said to me, “She sure doesn’t look sick”.  Then they took her temperature and found it was 99.4.  Could be a difference in thermometers, could be that the Tylenol kicked in.  Doctor gave her a clean bill of health and said to watch her an if it got to be 104 to bring her back. 

OHHHHH….104 is the magic number.  OK then.  Here is my first time mom badge and my $20 co pay.   Have a lovely day.

Valentine’s Day in Review

Disclaimer:  My husband is extremely hard to buy for.  Like, high school calculus hard.  But he gives really good, thoughtful gifts and is a good man who deserves a day where I take a breath to show him that I appreciate the husband that he is to me and the father that he is to our daughter. 

January 12:  Thinks to self:  Oh, I should get Craig something really good for Valentines Day.  He’s gone out of his way to get me thoughtful, nice gifts, I should do the same.  Oh, and I should get him something cute from the little one, since it’s her first Valentines Day and all.  I have a month and I used to be really good at this, I can come up with something.

January 26:  Thinks to self:  Only a couple weeks until Valentine’s Day.  I wonder if I should see if Craig wants to go out or stay in.  Oh, and I still need to get him something.  Maybe I’ll do something sentimental like a calendar with photos of our family or a nice frame for his desk at work.  Nothing expensive and elaborate just something sweet. 

February 1:  Sends text to the go to friend for advice: what should I give Craig for Vday?  She answers:  “From you, sex.  From the baby, the I Love You pictures are always a hit.”  She is so helpful.  Make mental note to charge the camera.

February 3:  Little brother calls me to find out where he should take his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day.  I make suggestions and think that it’s sweet that little brother is thinking ahead.  I make a mental note to ask husband if he wants to go out. 

February 5:  Finds out that Craig has games both Friday and Saturday night on Valentines Day weekend.  No big deal that we’re not going out.  Restaurants are always overcrowded anyway. 

February 6:  Look outside and see 12″ of snow.  Will not be leaving the house to drive 25 minutes to the nearest mall.  That’s OK.  I still have time to order something online. 

February 8:  Go to work and Google “Valentines Day gifts for him.”  Spend 4.2 seconds browsing before someone comes into my office with a fire for me to put out. 

February 10:  Ask Twitter for gift recommendations for a hard to buy for husband.   Think about running out a lunch to get a card but decide against it because I still have time. Besides, I want to get him a gift too. 

February 11:  Craig surprises me with diamond earrings (to replaces ones that I lost before our wedding) for me and a card for the baby.  I tear up reading C the card her daddy bought for her.  Fuck.  Now I really have to come up with something good for him.  I wish I had an idea.  Any idea will do at this point. 

February 13:  Wake up, make plans with friend to meet for lunch and shopping with our kids.  Decide I will find Craig’s gift at the mall.  Probably a cool picture frame and something electronic.  At 1:00PM, it starts to snow and as the snow falls so do my hopes of leaving the house.  I cry and think about how I used to be so much better at all of this stuff.  Before there was a job that consumed every second of my time between 8am and 5pm and a baby that consumed every second after that. 

February 14:  Beg Craig to let me make the grocery store run.  Buy him a card, two bags of Swedish Fish and a book. 

Wife Fail!

Please tell me you did better than me!  And give me some hints or tips for next year.

She Rolls! She Rolls!

(Is that title causing anyone else to have flashbacks to Ricky Martin circa 1998 with the ever catchy “She Bangs”?  Oh, maybe it’s just me.) 

After weeks of being so close she could taste it, my child has learned to roll from her back to her belly.  As much as this kid HATES tummy time, I was beginning to think it would never happen.  But alas, she flipped her little self over last night.  And in honor of the accomplishment, we broke out the “This is how I roll” t-shirt that her aunt bought her 2 months ago and I’ve been saving for the occasion. 

See how proud she is of herself?  (and don’t you just want to KISS those CHEEKS?  SQUEE!)

PS.  Sadly, her moment was not actually witnessed by anyone because Daddy was at work and Mommy was in the kitchen eating an Oreo.  ::Sigh!::  And, it should be noted that she hasn’t done it again, so I suppose some child development fairy could have waltzed into my house and flipped her over to make me think that she did it herself.

4 Month Shots Today. Hold Me.

Thank you, Dear Lord for making it so that children can’t remember their first few years on this earth.  Because I am sure that if C could remember that two months ago, we took her to this same place, held her down and let a stranger stick a needle in her thigh.  THREE TIMES.  That she would surely begin to scream the moment we pulled into the parking lot. 

I hate the thought of her getting shots.  I’m far more nervous about these shots than I was the 2-month immunizations.  Probably because at the 2-month appointment, she screamed and I sobbed.  Her little scream was clearly a “You hurt me” scream and it shattered my heart into a million pieces. 

I will pay a four hundred gazillion dollars to the person who invents immunization shots that will not hurt my baby. 

PS. Other than her legs being a little sore if I held her a certain way, she was totally fine after like, 2 minutes.  How did your little ones react to shots?

When I grow up

I used to spend a lot of time imagining what my life would be like when I finally had a job that I liked and was good at.  Or when I could convince Craig to marry me.  Or when I did what I always thought I was put on this earth to do and had a baby.  In these early twenty-some fantasies I was ambitious and successful, I was a hot wife that made her husband weak in the knees, or I was the soccer mom in a gas guzzling SUV with 2.5 kids in the back seat laughing and getting their sticky hands on the windows.  I was easily breezing through life complete with great friends, happy hours, traveling and shopping.  Of course there would be shopping. 

It never occurred to me that to be really good at one might mean sacrificing at least one of the other two.  At work today we had our annual awards lunch and this year, I got an award for my dedication and commitment to developing our strategic plan and new brand identity.  Part of the nomination talked about how I spent time during maternity leave writing copy, participating in conference calls and working with our agency.  As I got up to accept the award, all I could think was “Well, this won’t be part of Munchkin’s baby book.” 

I like my job, I really do.  I finally feel like I have my shit together between 8 and 5.  I see a future.  I know my resume looks good.  I know that I’m good at what I do.  I worked hard for this and I feel damn proud to have gotten here.  But…. 

You see, there’s a but.  I never wanted to be that mom that checks email on her Blackberry while she feeds the baby.  Or the wife that can’t take a day off without taking the laptop home. I can’t blame the office or the boss.  It’s not a pressure that they’ve applied.  It’s a fear that if I stop working as hard as I have for the last 18 months or so, that I will lose the momentum that I’ve gained.  It’s a fear that behind closed doors or under his or her breath a person will mutter, “well, before she had the baby…” It’s not wanting to ever be bored and unnoticed at work again. 

It’s hard squeezing everything into a 24 hour day.  It’s hard finding a way to be the successful chick at work, the wonderful wife and the patient mother.  The only thing hot about me is the hot mess that I am when I come home, a half an hour later than I wanted to with no plans for dinner.  I drip with envy over those women that have it all figured out and I beg them to send me their secrets.  Please.

Oh the Pain!

If given the option of choosing between holding down my baby and listening to her scream as she gets her vaccination shots or having my heart cut out with a butter knife (and no anesthesia) I choose the latter.  Thank you very much.

I thought I was prepared.  I mean, I’ve heard stories of mothers who cry when their child gets shots or mothers who had to leave the room or mothers who don’t go to those appointments at all anymore.  So I was mentally prepared to fight back tears at Baby Girl’s 2-month doctor appointment yesterday because (as my mom has always told me) when your child hurts, you hurt. However, I think I surprised all the adults in the room with how nicely the actual sobbing that originated in my throat harmonized with her screams of shock and pain.
Seriously next time just hand me the butter knife and I’ll do the dirty work. Evidence of the trauma…

Swaddle Fail

After a couple of nights of Baby Girl being harder to put to sleep, being more restless while she was asleep and waking up earlier, I decided to take on the battle of Operation: Sleep 2009.  I gave her a little bit more to eat at her last feeding, kept the lights low, swaddled her with her arms wrapped up tight, placed her in my arms on her side, swayed and ssshhhed her until she fell asleep.  The author of Happiest Baby on the Block would have been proud.  When I laid her down all snug and proud of myself, I was mentally writing a post about how I got my kid to sleep through the night. 

Then she woke up at 1:45 (earliest time yet) with her arms pulled out of the blanket and flailing around like she was attempting lift off.  I repeated the sequence of events when I put her back down and when the husband went to check on her at 5:30 she was wide awake and completely out of her blanket.

Baby Girl: 2    Krista:  0

Movin’ On Up

Last night was our first attempt at trying to establish a “night time routine”.  Baby Girl got her bath at 8:00, was being fed at 8:30 and gently placed in her crib at 9:00 …  at 9:04 Craig looked at me with heartbreak in his eyes and said “Why do we have to move her to the crib again?”  

I explained that if we move her now she’ll never know any differently and it’ll be easier on her, but he didn’t seem to buy it. I also think that she’s getting too big for the bassinette.  When she stretches, she hits the side of it with her arm and wakes herself up.  And we make entirely too much noise and have too many lights on in the evenings for her to sleep soundly in the living room while we’re up or in our bedroom when we go to bed.  She was out until almost 5AM, so I have to think that she’s ready for the move, but is it too soon?

I Interrupt

…this one-month birthday celebration ( letter coming later today, I hope) to bring you this confession…

Sometimes, when I’m taking a bath with Baby Girl on the floor, securely belted into the bouncy seat and she starts to get fussy… I take a few extra moments rinsing the shampoo out of my hair, keeping my ears under water to muffle the sound.

I’m going to Mommy Hell.