Feeble Knees

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


I must be a total wimp. Motherhood is kicking my butt.

I don't know how they did it, back in the day, when there was no electricity, which means there were no dishwashers or clothes dryers or over-the-stove fans that make lots of loud white noise that puts babies like mine to sleep when they're screaming.

I don't know how they did it when there were no little wind-up musical mobiles to distract clingy babies like mine long enough so mom could go to the bathroom.

How did mothers survive before gas drops like Mylicon were invented?

What did they do in lieu of battery-powered bouncy seats?

Even with all these things and a host of soft, noisy and light-up baby toys, I'm coming to my wits end a lot these days. Bug is growing. I am particularly proud of the fact that he put on a pound and one ounce in two weeks - but that came at a price, specifically in the form of a profound lack of sleep and personal space for me. A few weeks ago he was sleeping these great five to six hour stretches at night. Now he's back to being awake and hungry every two to three hours. This has been going on for about a week and a half, maybe two? I can't remember.

Attempting to toughen up, I remind myself there'll be plenty time for sleeping later on. Like baseball players say when they get into the playoffs and then the World Series and keep pushing their physical limits far into October: "I'll sleep in November."

Yesterday I tried adopting that as a sort of mantra to get me through the day. It started off well enough, but when I attempted to actually leave the house with Bug packed snug in his carrier, he went into a complete meltdown. Had to take him out, bring him back in the house, walk around, turn on all the electrical appliances that make that loud continuous droning noise he likes, take extra clothing off him and finally just give up and let him nurse again - about forty five minutes after his last feeding. Then I just gave up on going out. I finally retrieved my purse, diaper bag and other items from the car around five thirty.

It's the inconsistency that kills you. If he did the same thing all the time, be it scream for an hour from four to five, or keep me awake all night, or what have you, I could deal with it. I can deal with what I can expect. It's the total randomness and never really knowing what to expect each day that's really starting to wear on me.

Sometimes we can go out and he's a jewel. Sometimes we go out and he starts bawling five minutes down the street and I end up turning around and going home. Sometimes he naps during the day (like now). Sometimes he abjectly refuses to nap. Sometimes he responds well to my attempts to enforce a schedule. Sometimes he's just a bit of a mess all day and we have to throw any attempt at scheduling out the window. I just can't figure this kid out, and it has me feeling kind of beat.

My Mom is convinced it's because he's not taking formula. Yesterday she finally admitted she's been pressuring (ok, my word, not hers) suggesting I switch to formula because she wants to be able to mind him for me. She feels powerless to help, and she's frustrated. That's nice, but it's still not a good enough reason to switch. This hurts her feelings, and then I have two upset people to deal with - Bug and my mom. Not helpful!

Last night was bad, as in back to week four kind of bad. He wouldn't latch on right, wouldn't stay latched on right, yet was still hungry and wouldn't go back to sleep. It was becoming painful again, trying to feed him. I sat there and just cried. And cried. And cried. I couldn't even get up and give him a bottle of breast milk because he's been demanding so much, there's not been much left to pump - not that he's allowed me much time to have my hands free to do that.

My mother says he's not a typical baby - that I shouldn't think this is the norm for babies. I don't know what to think. I don't quite trust her, since she's been waging a guerrilla campaign to get me to give up breastfeeding. This could just be another one of her gimmicks. "He's not like a normal baby, he's so clingy and demanding. Ergo, you shouldn't feel bad about giving up breastfeeding. See, it's not you, it's him..."

I think I have trust issues.

Don't know why it took me so long to finally do this but last night as I sat there puddled in my tears I finally prayed for help. That sounds ridiculous even as I type it. "What took you so long?" I don't know. But I did pray and asked God to help me some how, in whatever way was most helpful, though I'm not even sure what that is anymore.

Interestingly enough, for the first time in recorded history, Bug fell asleep this morning after nursing on just one side. He went down in the crib without waking up and just slept for an hour and a half. An HOUR AND A HALF. I'm stunned.


Dunno. I don't have time to ponder it. He's waking up now....
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