Monday, February 26, 2007

Have you ever seen The Shining?

My weekend bore striking similarities to the good old Jack Nicholson movie, except for the fact that unfortunately my house is much smaller than the Overlook Hotel and Danny Torrance is a lot quieter than my kid (and not half as scary).

Most of my predictions came true. I was sick. Bubba was kind of sick. LilCherie’s boy really was sick. Girls’ Night was cancelled. The worst winter storm of about 30 years descended upon us and we lost power for a total of about 8 hours. Luckily, four of those hours happened after Bubba was asleep. Of the other four hours, approximately two of them were spent trying to explain to Bubba that the TV was “broken,” that there would be no “Thomas mooo-ie” or “Cars dee-dee-dee (DVD),” that there were, in fact, other fun things to do in the house besides stare at the idiot box, and in the end, just listening to him sob, yes, sob, about the lack of television. At risk of boring you, dear readers, I feel the need to describe my weekend in a little more detail, to purge it from my memory in the hopes that this weekend will be repressed in my memory and that there won’t be too much in the way of PTSD fallout.

For your skimming convenience, I’ve labeled each section so you can skip.

Bitching About the Weekend In General

Friday Night
Typical night; storm starts slowly with just a little rain/sleet mix.

5 a.m.: Bubba’s up, therefore we’re all up. My left ear and the left side of my throat are killing me.

7:30 a.m.: We set out early to keep our commitment to be research subjects for a friend of J.’s, who is involved in a study of TENS. J.’s appointment is at 8 a.m. and mine is at 9. We get set up in a physical therapy student lounge that is complete with comfy chairs, a massage table, and a life-size model of a skeleton. Bubba and I had a great time with the skeleton. He wanted to shake hands with it, which was really cute.

10 a.m.: When we leave the building, there is a thin coating of ice over everything with more coming down. We get home without too much trouble and hunker down.

11:30 a.m.: My cold-turned-ear-infection-and-sore-throat gets the best of me, and Tingle pisses me off by making fun of my saggy tits, so I give up and take a long nap.

3 p.m.: I awake to what sounds like someone scraping a very heavy snow shovel across the roof above our bedroom. I stumble out to the living room to find the house quiet and J. and Bubba napping together on the chair. Still looking for the source of the sound, I venture out to our back porch and see that the branches of our tree are so laden with ice that many of them are hanging about 8 feet lower than they should be, and the hellatious wind is whipping them across our roof—thus the otherworldly noises that woke me up. More ominous are the branches that are sagging across the electrical and phone lines running into our house. Soon, the noises wake J. up—Bubba, thankfully, remained asleep for another hour and a half—and after whacking the branches with a machete to no avail, heads out into the storm to buy a set of tree nippers to take down the branches.

Approximately five minutes before he returns, the power goes out—not due to our tree branches but instead a neighborhood-wide issue. J. trims the tree to avoid any further issues and we set up house with candles, flashlights, and some tunes on the radio (before the radio stations went out, that is). For supper, we enjoy a can of Chef Boyardee ravioli, slow roasted in a cake pan atop a contraption designed to heat a pot of coffee with a small candle. I was really kinda proud of that idea.

4:30 to 6:30 p.m.: “I wanna watch Car moo-ie! I wanna watch Thomas dee-dee-dee! Mease! Meeeease! MEEEEASE!” Sob, scream, cry.

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: We decide to build a fire in the fireplace downstairs, and Bubba finds this fascinating which thank god distracted him from the TV issue. We’re actually having fun by the time the power comes back on. As soon as the lights come back on, Bubba runs for the stairs yelling “I wanna watch Bob mooo-ie!”

8:30 to 10:30 p.m.: We put on the damn SpongeBob DVD and hope against hope that Bubba will fall asleep without a fight. Nope. Finally goes down after the usual crying and numerous escape attempts.

11:20 p.m.: Bubba has coughing fit; pukes all over himself. Change jammies, change bedding, squirt cough medicine down crying mouth; peace is restored.

11:30 p.m.: Power goes out again. J. and I, desperate to salvage some sort of enjoyment from the day, stay awake for awhile; I draw by flashlight while J. watches a DVD on the computer (yes, I know…we didn’t break it out for Bubba because we didn’t know how long the power would be out and we knew if it pooped out on us in the middle of the dee-dee-dee it would be worse than not having it at all.)

12:30 a.m.: I cuddle up with Bubba and go to sleep.

1:30 a.m.: Bubba wakes up crying for Daddy and physically pushes me from the bed. I rouse J. off the couch to come sleep with Bubba and I curl up in my own bed.

2:30 a.m.: Bubba wakes up, jumps out of bed and runs around the house sobbing, having “one of his fits” as J. calls them (I’ve since diagnosed them on Google as confusional arousal episodes. Which you can’t do anything about. Just another fun thing he will supposedly grow out of.) After about 10 minutes he is subdued and the house is quiet once again.

3:30 a.m.: According to my bedside clock, this is when power was restored. I didn’t wake up for it.

8 a.m. to 1 p.m.: The ice is gone and now we just have rain interspersed with sleet now and then. Ear and throat still killing me, and I have a headache. We lounge around and have a decent morning, even though I have to force myself to work through my pain to do dishes, multiple loads of laundry and make lunch because J. is apparently going through a lazy mode lately and is basically doing jack shit around the house. We all watch Wizard of Oz, which Bubba quite enjoys, then switch over to Gone With the Wind, which he tolerates. He is practically falling asleep at his little table so we decide it’s nap time….

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Bubba will not go down for his nap. He cries, he screams, he demands a “krabby patty with cheese” and insists he’s hungry (not surprising, since he ate no lunch) so we make him a peanut butter sandwich only to have him refuse it. After half an hour of this nonsense I decide enough is enough, Bubba WILL take a nap. I spend about 10 minutes in the bedroom, physically restraining him to prevent him from crawling out of the bed. He yells, screams, cries and thrashes about. Finally I lose it (I believe the words “Fuck it!” escaped from my mouth….possibly followed by a crazed “Can you say that, Bubba? Can you say fuck it?” as I stomp to the kitchen). I blame J. for Bubba’s awful sleep habits; he blames me for not stopping him from doing them. He finally gets Bubba down and I go to my happy place—i.e., sleep—for the next three hours.

5 p.m.—present: Not too horrible. We ate, watched the Oscars, I did laundry, we didn’t even attempt to put Bubba down, opting instead for letting him play until he drops and then letting him fall asleep in J.’s arms, which happened at about 10 p.m. At 11 p.m., Bubba wakes up and comes out for comfort. At 12 a.m., he demands that J. come to bed with him, and that was the end of my day with the family. Now it’s 2:30 a.m. and I’m not tired at all. And tomorrow’s Monday.

Bitching About Bubba's Sleep Issues
Bubba’s sleeping is completely out of control, and I don’t really know what to do about it. I don’t understand how to do the “crying it out” method if he just keeps getting out of bed as soon as we put him in it. I mean, there’s not even enough time to get to the door before he’s up. When we’ve become desperate enough to hold the door shut so he can’t get out, he screams and cries so violently that he starts gagging and coughing like he’s going to throw up. Eliminating his nap does nothing to prevent the bedtime struggles and nighttime awakenings. We’ve adhered pretty strictly to our “soothing bedtime routine” of jammies, quiet play, brushing teeth and stories for months until recently, when out of desperation we’ve pretty much been doing anything to prevent the nightly struggle.

Bitching About Motherhood Overall

You know what? I’m sick of being a mother to a toddler. I’m sick of catering to the needs of a tiny tyrant all goddamn day. I’m sick of preparing meals he won’t eat, I’m sick of cleaning petrified corn kernels off the floor, I’m sick of sitting down only for Bubba to ask for more juice, more milk, for me to fix his train, get him the orange car, put on the Bob movie. I’m sick of listening to another human being cry multiple times every single day. I’m sick of being sick, of him being sick, of trying to figure out whether or not he’s sick and if so, whether or not he needs medicine, or whether or not he needs a nebulizer treatment, or whether or not he needs to go to the doctor. I’m sick of reminding J. to lotion Bubba’s skin and to take the yellow blankie back to daycare and to limit Bubba’s juice so he doesn’t get the shits. I’m sick of refilling humidifiers and cleaning nebulizer parts. I’m sick of watching SpongeBob and playing with Thomas the Tank Engine. I’m sick of trying to figure out how to get him to sleep.

I feel overwhelmed by the whole thing. I feel like a child myself, wishing that someone would swoop in like a fairy godmother-nanny and say, “Depressionista, it’s going to be all right now. I’m here to take over everything. I will raise your child to be an intelligent, well-adjusted, productive member of society and all you have to do is pop in now and then—and only, of course, when Bubba’s in a good mood.”

I’m sick of feeling inadequate and not up for the challenge. I’m sick of feeling guilty about not enjoying this and bewildered at people who seem to truly get some kind of pleasure out of raising their children. I’m sick of feeling like every time I complain about Bubba I am tempting the fates to take him away from me, or that I am betraying the sisterhood of women who are infertile and/or have lost a child.

When does this get fun? Ever? Or is that just a carrot people dangle in front of us so we won't kill ourselves? Because a lot of the time, it's just pretty unbearable, and I find it difficult to believe I did this to myself.


Nicole said...

Sounds like you need a real break. Time to send the family off to wherever, so you can hunker down on the couch to get some rest. Sending restful, peaceful thoughts your way.

Aurelia said...

Ouch, um, yes, it gets better, and my kids almost never wake up now and haven't for a few years...but back in the 2 to 3 year old range...gahhh.

Just wanted to lose it.

As for the crying it out, you really have to mean it if you are going to do it. Big breath, cause this sounds horrible, but when you put him down and he's out, (and it should be earlier than 10 pm) slide a bolt on his door and don't let him out till morning. (And no I would never give this advice about a baby under two, but Bubba is old enough to have a conversation, so it's different.)

He doesn't have to be in bed, and he doesn't have to be asleep, but he has to be quiet and in his room and not wrecking stuff. You can lock your self in there with him while he has tantrums, especially if they are really bad. (It's what we had to do at one point, with both evil toddlers.)

Don't yell at him, or react in anyway. It's what he wants. Wear earplugs if he gets too loud, but the image you are trying to project is "The Silent Immovable Mother". You are in charge, not him, and he will cross that threshold before morning over your dead body.

If you leave the room, lock the door. If that freaks you out, babygate the door, or sleep outside the door.

I was a total attachment parent until my kids turned three, when I decided I needed some limits and some sleep, and this was my solution.

I'm not saying it's the right thing to do, it's just an idea I'm putting out there, whatever you do, I'm here for you.

And hoping you get some sleep, honey!

Cate said...

My son will turn two in May. I could've written your post myself, especially the part about feeling like a failure as a mom. What lead me to your blog was a comment you made on another blog I read where you said something like you wondered why you chose to do this in the first place and maybe you only became a parent because someone told you that you might not be able to. When I read that I felt like I had found a kindred spirit.
I don't have any solution or suggestions for you because most of what people tell me is crap anyway. And it obviously has mostly something to do with the age our kids are at because no matter how much positive discipline I give my son his still slapped me in the face and pulled out some of my hair today when I told him we had to leave Chuck E Cheese.
Aurelia has the right idea with her suggestions. As long as you give him plenty of love and cuddles during the day there is probably nothing you are going to do in his bed time routine that will traumatize him so badly that it will effect his development. He won't even remember this when he gets older.
Hope you all feel better soon. And know that you have a toddler mother out there who knows what you are going through.

Melissa said...

I felt the way you did a lot of the time during A's first year. Everyone says it's so magical and there were nice moments here and there, but in general it just felt like a lot of thankless hard work. A huge part of the reason I'm enjoying the toddler part more is because she sleeps. I love her dearly but having predictable time to myself feels like the only thing saving my sanity some days. Bubba's sleeping situation sounds SO hard and frustrating. I don't have any advice but just wanted to offer some sympathy.

Roxanne said...

I'm sorry. :( We don't have sleep issues, thank god! However, this also means that I have no advice for you. Especially since my kid is still in his crib and does not know how to get out of it.

We had a good day today, but obviously you know from some of my posts they are not all great days. I hope you have some good ones coming up soon.

Also 3 words for blackouts...portable dvd player!

Cass said...

I know your pain. I think the age when you are transitioning from a crib to a "big boy" bed can be extremely trying. And I think you really are doing pretty well with it. Its just not fun....I think it is important to take turns putting the kid to bed. It gives you a anticipated break...which I think, knowing you will be getting a break is as important as the break itself!

Tingle said...

It would certainly be understandable if you developed PTSD after this weekend! What a nightmare!

After reflecting on your miserable week and weekend, I feel even worse about the saggy tits incident, which I want to publicly announce was me joking, but it was very poorly timed and resulted in much apologizing and groveling later.

Oh my goshness, your weekend was even more hellacious than I thought! I have to laugh at Bubba asking for a "Krabby Patty with cheese," that's good stuff.

I still can't believe J. blames you for Bubba's sleep issues because "you let" J. get into those bad habits. Unbelievable!

I'm sorry you are feeling so overwhelmed - and it's perfectly understandable. Kids are tough, and Bubba is really tough. And toddlers are often impossible - that's why it's the "terrible twos." But I KNOW it will get better as Bubba gets older, I promise you it will get easier.

Aurelia has good advice, but, like she said, you have to not give any reaction or anything. Any reactions, negative or positive, are just going to feed the demon of his toddlerness. Have you seen the Hulk movie? In that movie, no matter what they use to try and destroy the Hulk, it just makes him more angry, which just makes him stronger.

I like what Melissa said, too - it's really important to have predictable time for yourself. I think it is something that has helped you cope in the past - knowing you are going to girls night or are going to get a break helps you cope in the moment. Does that make sense? But not having that because you never know when Bubba is going to lose it or wake up is just a very unsettling feeling. Taking turns is a good idea, but you and J. need to be on the same page before that will really work.

Heloise said...

I finally found what I was looking for! Congratulations, quality content! And also the blog itself is very good!

Jefferson said...

I found the content very relevant and extremely important! Congratulations, I recommend!

como fazer porcelanato liquido said...

very good, Simple I loved the comteudo site!!!

roupas importadas para revenda said...

This site was worth sharing

frases para conquistar um homem pelo whatsapp said...

thanks very good

brownies para vender said...

I loved the content!