Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bowl Full of Mush

My brain, that is. Here's some of the jumble....

L is not sleeping anymore. It started 3 weeks ago, after explaining to a friend how well he's been sleeping for the past five months. Yes, I believe I jinxed it. He's a little night time monster. But damn that baby is irresistible during the day.  Such a fantastic age, 6-12 months. Pure joy at being alive. He wants to eat EVERYTHING and does so with gusto. He is so proud of all his new, daily growing skillz, like eating, cruising, clapping & blowing raspberries. He shrieks, jumps, claps in sheer delight of anything, nothing, everything. If only I could bottle that & save it forever.

B is two and a half. He is 50% sunshine, 50% black clouds. You never know what you're going to get. Its a difficult age. He is very sensitive & has such strong feelings. He has been crying & withdrawn sometimes at daycare lately. Yet he comes home jumping and singing. He was, is, and will likely always be a challenge to parent. He asks "Why?" constantly, repeatedly & sometimes it makes me laugh & sometimes it breaks my heart. "Why do you have to go to work mommy?" "Why????"

We've been trying to do a lot together as a family this summer, and its been good...but we both feel isolated a lot. One of the best days we had was when some friends came over for dinner & we wrangled our combined 5 under-three-year-old boys together. I think we were meant to do this in a community, not shut off in our little houses by ourselves. I wish we had more neighborhood friends. The drop-in, spur-of-the-moment, spend-an-afternoon-together kind, not the plan 3 months in advance to meet for a one-hour brunch kind.I remember my childhood being spent in the company of my parents' friends & their families...I think my children are going to remember a different kind of life.

I'm tired. And its not just the sleep. Or maybe it is...and the sleeplessness is permeating everything else, too? When we're tired, G & I talk less, its back to survival mode, where I go up to bed as soon as the chores are done, even though I know I won't be able to sleep for a couple of hours. I just don't want to do anything.

Sometimes I wonder if I am capable of being truly happy. The constant thinking, analyzing, worrying, planning going on in my brain are a bit of a buzz-kill. When things are good, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. When things are bad, well...sometimes I feel more comfortable in that scenario, as there is nowhere to go but up?


  1. I've been trying to think of something supportive and constructive to say. All I can think of is that I think things will get better when L starts sleeping better, which I hope will be soon (you did not jinx yourself!), and you and G will start talking again. It's hard to look at the world rationally on 4 hours (or even 6 hours) of sleep. This too shall pass. I don't think you're an unhappy person.... you've just got a lot going on! Don't we all. Some days it's easier to set these worries aside than others. Since when things are good, you think it's only a matter of time before they're bad again, maybe it would be helpful to think about things in the reverse way too. Because it's true!

    Friend time rules. I'm going to campus for the sole purpose of lunch with a friend this week (and to pick up VA paperwork). Because I deserve it. So do you.

  2. So many similarities here to my own life! W, at two and a half, is the same mix of sweetness and bitterness, often at the same time. So hard to deal with. And I really relate to feeling exhausted, especially mentally. No advice here, of course, but just know that I'm right there with you. Perhaps we can both remember the advice I heard a lot during those early newborn days (you must have heard it too): this stage will pass and things will look different before you know it.

    I agree that parenting would be so much nicer in a community setting. We don't have any friends with kids of the same age and I often wish we did. I even remember in my own childhood that there were always other families around, for dinner, to go to the park, or just to hang out. In my neck of the woods, it really feels like people are expected to go it alone. We spend a fair amount of time as a family going to playgrounds, hoping to hang with other families, and even there it seems like the parents spend time on their phones and aren't engaging with others. Maybe as the kids get older there will be more chances to build that kind of community? Let's hope.

    Oh, and you didn't jinx yourself, but I know that feeling. I try never to talk about sleep when it's going well, even though I know that babies' habits change for Absolutely. No. Reason. At. All.

  3. Hah, we also jinx ourselves by talking about how well sleep is going. I also think it's near impossible to feel happy when you are consistently not getting enough (or poor quality) sleep. Here's hoping you get some reprieve soon.

    Re: the community thing, I wish we lived in that kind of neighborhood too. There are no little kids in our neighborhood. We do have close friends in town with 2yo kids but planning with them is like a military maneuver with everyone's work schedule, preschool, etc. And when we do get together it's still hard work wrangling everyone. I'm hoping that gets better as they get older.

    And yeah, 2.5 suuucked for us too. I think I wrote a very whiny post about it on my blog around March. I do find it's a LOT better as we get closer to 3. And make sure she is fed and well-rested. :)

    1. You said "suuuucked" in the past tense. That encourages me to no end!

    2. Yes, it actually improved fairly quickly though it seemed like ages. Suckiness started in February, but I'm noticing a definite improvement starting early to mid July maybe? So yeah, it's temporary. I'm sure it comes and goes but close-to-3 seems ok so far :)

  4. My brother was just telling me about this NPR story. I know it may not be relevant, but I just loved the idea of loads of tantrum data.

    Anyway! Our lives tend to go in cycles, with lots of survival mode and then a brief rise into actually living and relating to each other mode. It's always nice to find out that we're still there under the surface. I also wonder about the "capable of being happy thing". I don't expect myself to be all cheery and upbeat, so that's good, but I do get tired of all the endless thinking. It helps me to just soak up a happy moment now and then, even if ten minutes later I'm so frustrated I could scream or falling asleep in my chair...

    There's no doubt that things will be better when L is sleeping better. It might not turn your world to sunshine and rainbows, but some of those clouds will for sure drift away. Hope that's soon!

    1. Yes, I'm trying to soak up the moments when I can catch them, too. They are there, certainly, buried in between all the worry & busy. I saw that NPR piece a while back....we don't really have "tantrums" in the classic sense....just moodiness/anger...more of a slow burn than the quick ignite & extinguish of a tantrum. Still really interesting though!

  5. The exhaustion ... the bone-tired ... I get that. Though I'm glad that you've gotten some genuine "together" time as a family this summer.

    Read your most recent, too, about formula. I hear the poignant farewell in your posts, and I don't think that you should question your ability to be happy and more than you should question your right to mourn what is (will be soon) lost, or changed.

    Sending you a hug ... and good thoughts.