Wednesday, 6 July 2011

I'm back

Good morning world! I'm back from the Land of the Sick Baby, where there's a lot of crying and clinginess and horrid nappies and sleep deprivation...

Sunday was the hardest day of the past year. I'm not exaggerating. I'm not going to write down the lot, unless you're my mum you'd probably find it a very tedious account...
So, in brief, my day consisted of holding Lucas and walking him/rocking him to sleep for 7 hours because he was so tired/sick he couldn't stay asleep for more than 15 minutes; then 3 hours driving to get him to stay asleep, because my arms and back were just so sore from carrying an 11 kg lump of baby around; then another 4 hours of carrying around. All this wasn't silent of course, he cried lots and lots and lots and complained and whined lots and lots and lots. And when he briefly fell asleep and I tried to sit down somewhere, he would stir or wake up and again request to be walked around.
I cried a lot too.

And with that there was of course the sense of guilt for the neglected child of the day... Lucas was just so upset I couldn't devote any attention to Sofia. The wretched tv was on for a looong time. I felt so awful for her. Even when we had to go for a drive because my body was screaming in pain (remember I have only 1 1/2 arms, so constantly carrying weight is very vexing on my body), and I told her "I'm sorry Sose, we have to go for a drive to get Lucas to sleep", she quietly turned the tv off and said "ok". As upset as she was, she didn't fight the drive, she realised how bad things were...

Thankfully, because of the couple of hours asleep in the car, he had a really good night's sleep on Sunday so I didn't have to get up once.
But Monday afternoon he only had 1/2 hour snooze, Monday night he cried for 3 hours before he fell asleep. 3 HOURS crying in my arms. He fell asleep, woke up after 15 mins, had to be walked around, couldn't sleep , started crying, got fixated that I shouldn't be wearing the t-shirt I was wearing, tugged at my t-shirt crying and yelling "take" (as in, take it off) for half an hour. That is not a joke. Half an hour yelling at my t-shirt. He just couldn't settle.

I had to put him down a couple of times. Just to regain my composure, just to calm down. I'm sure most mothers have been there, when you feel like you're just about to lose it and need to walk away from your baby for a few seconds. Dan was there but couldn't do a thing. When Lucas is upset he only wants me. It is draining.

I could bore you with more details of the week from hell (migraine, botched home deliveries...) but life is back to normal this week (apart from the fact that Sofia has had a delayed reaction to the lack of attention and she's been pushing ALL my buttons for a couple of days) and I want to pretend those horrible days never happened....

But the experience has made me ponder a few things:

  • a few months ago I had a migraine and couldn't look after both kids, Dan could only leave work at midday, so my father in law managed to take a few hours off work to come play with Sosi until Dan got home. Last Sunday nobody could come help me and Dan was at work and I REALLY needed help. Had it been my mum, she would've dropped whatever she was doing to come over. But my parents still live in Italy so, unless someone is in hospital, they can't really come over to help out for the day and go back.... This is not a criticism of the in-laws, they are super helpful and will come over whenever they can. It's just a consideration. As wonderful as it is to be living your own life in whichever part of the world you feel like calling home, it's always tough not having your own parental support when things get tough.
  • Monday night was tough. Mentally tough. I could see how some parents would lose the plot and do unthinkable things when their baby won't stop crying. I had only 2 days of extreme tiredness, so I can't even imagine how some new parents would cope with hour after hour of constant crying and constant sleep deprivation. It can really do your head in.
  • at 19 months, Lucas still breastfeeds on demand. This is great when you have a sick baby, best way to get him better and soothe him. It's not so great if the said baby will not accept expressed breast milk, but that's a story for another post...
So my last consideration is about my style of parenting. I don't often doubt myself, there are reasons why I chose to do the things I do. Sometimes I do get a little smidgeon of envy when I hear of those mothers who manage to go out lots and have Me time and not have to rush back home because the baby is inconsolable... 
But on Thursday, when the sun was shining and we had our first outing in 10 days, I looked back at my behaviour: I carried non-stop my boy to get him to sleep, I rocked him whenever he asked for it, I was always there for him. As exhausting as it can be, this whole full-time 24/7 - fulfil all of your kid's needs job, it works for me and that's what I chose. 
And I realised I was very proud of myself: I am not a perfect parent, I muck up a lot, but throughout this storm, I still managed to uphold my parenting principles (even if I yelled in exasperation once), even through a few very testing moments. That's something to be happy about :)

1 comment:

  1. I read this yesterday and thought I made a comment, but obviously it didn't take... Anyway, Sara - I totally feel for you! :( So hard when a baby won't stop crying and you can't put them down. It CAN really do your head in!!! You poor thing! And poor Lucas too of course....

    And I hear you about having family support (or lack of) - nothing replaces family and what they are willing to do for you.

    Attachment parenting sure can be hard work at times (no short cuts!) but so worth it in the end. Besides, you'd not be true to yourself and values if you didn't. Good on you for coming through a really tough week. I hope you can get some rest this week. xxx