1.31.2013

How I survived my first night alone (and other nightmares)

I'm starting to understand why some families decide to have 19 children.

It's for the extra back-up. When one parent has to travel for business there are still 19 sets of eyes there to watch over tattle on each other.

My better half is attending a work conference in Kentucky, which has left me with our one-month-old screamy-pants son and our mischievous (that's the nice way to put it) two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. I have been home alone for the last 24 hours and still have 12 more to go before he returns.

I don't know how single moms do it. I don't know how military wives do it. I don't know how women married to men who travel all the time do it. I don't know how women married to men who do absolutely nothing at home do it.

It wasn't an extraordinary day. Pearyn went to school for the morning, Braeburn had a chiropractor appointment and I made granola. The kids were really good for the most part. Braeburn even enjoyed the heck out of the new rain forest bouncy chair we got him (I've read that it can help soothe babies with gas/colic issues). We already have a swing which he will sleep in, but he doesn't really care for it when he's awake. Although, it's funny to watch him try to wake up in the swing, his eyes open and he wants so much to wake up, but the swinging motion just lulls him back to sleep (for a few minutes anyway).

Pearyn continued to test her boundaries some more, she really enjoys arguing with us about every little thing these days. I could tell her it would be absolutely awesome if the sky rained jellybeans (her favorite candy ever) and she would tell me "no" and that I'm a "bad mommy" for even suggesting such an asinine thought.

Luckily the day wasn't a total bust, as my best friend's fiance was attending the same conference as my husband. So we made a night out of it and made vegan "chicken" broccoli alfredo pizza and tried not to lose our minds between my two hellions and her seven-month-old daughter.

It was fabulous to be around another adult human being that isn't related to me, mainly because I've been so hesitant to have friends over with our bouncing bundle of colic screaming up the entire house. I know it's not his fault, deep down I know it's probably not my fault (although I come up with about 18 different scenarios a day detailing how I must have done SOMETHING to make my baby be this way), but it doesn't stop me from feeling guilty, frustrated and nervous when it comes to our less-than-bubbly baby boy.

The truth is I've been avoiding most of my friends (only three have seen our son and that wasn't until this past week, when he was a month old) because some days, I don't know how to deal with his colic, so how on Earth could they? The truth is I become instantly stressed when someone other than my husband is around Braeburn because I feel the need to explain why he's crying so much, why he's inconsolable. I feel like I have to convince others that he is a happy, healthy, loved child because his screaming could lead people to think otherwise.

Sometimes I go out-of-my-way to talk about what an easy day he had the day before, even if it wasn't all that easy. I say these things because partially, they make me feel better and partly, because I don't want everyone to think I have a bad baby.

I know there's no such thing as a "bad" baby, but I'm surrounded by all these women and mothers who have seemingly perfect babies. Babies who breastfeed easily, who take a bottle of anything and digest it, who fall asleep simply from the soft touch and coo of their parents. My son, albeit having more better days than he was, still shrieks in pain after some feedings, still screams at night during the "bewitching" hour (the same chunk of three hours where he cries every night for no apparent reason) and has to be practically jostled around to fall asleep.

It's nothing anyone has done. My friends are wonderful people, offering nothing but support and a shoulder to lean on. But in my head, as a mother and as a woman who can sometimes be her toughest critic, I start to wonder if my stress level in pregnancy made my baby stressed now. If my diet was too hard to digest so now he has digestive issues.

I know it's not that simple, if it were, doctors and parents everywhere would have the answer to colic, to "difficult" babies, but without my support system here, without my husband to remind me that this too is just a phase and will pass, it's hard not to get wrapped up in the overwhelming-ness of it now.

I have no idea how women without strong support systems, without a generous partner, without a selfless family, make it through the first three months of motherhood.

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4 comments:

  1. As I'm sure you already know it gets easy as they get older. We had a screamy baby too and I know exactly how your feeling about the 'bad' baby thing. Just keep on loving him as much as you can and know that your doing everything you can. And even if people seem to have perfect babies, it doesn't mean they do, they might just not be as open about their issues.

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  2. Alimentum...seriously, try it for a week and see if he's better. It sounds so much like our newest addition went through. It was a soy protein intollerence. U could also remove soy from your diet but you'd have to give it two weeks to know its out of your system and then out of his. I kept my supply up by pumping while we tried it out. Best of luck -

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  3. Truth be told, it was immensely difficult for me as well. I had a king sized bed, uninterrupted Sports Center on ESPN and a reintroduction to long forgotten tranquility. None of that mattered. I could not sleep due to feelings of guilt and restlessness. In the back (actually the front) of my mind I felt like I was letting down my beautiful and amazing wife. All that changed when I returned home and walked in the door to a cacophony of chaos and insanity. Instantaneously my mind screamed, "Hey jack ass ... good luck sleeping tonight!" I have succumb to the craziness, and that is fine by me. Maybe I will sleep next year.

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    Replies
    1. It's nice to know I didn't just marry another pretty face, but a smarty pants too! :)

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