Saturday, January 2, 2010

Just When You Thought You Had It Made

I know babies cry.  Big C cried.  All. The. Time.  Call it what you will...colic, gas, reflux, hunger (For the first 8 days I tried to EBF and wound up starving my kid rather than nourishing him since I just couldn't make more than a drop of BM.  I even took drugs to boost production and came up empty), or constipation.  All I know is one day my husband looked at me the night before Big C's 2 month appointment and said, "Ask he why he does nothing but cry...constantly."

To Big C's credit, he didn't cry "constantly".  Just when he wasn't sleeping (which were 15-30 minute intervals) and when he wasn't eating.  K and I were both seriously sleep deprived and snapping at one another like crocodiles over a chicken leg.  He was getting up at 4:30am to head to work, only to come home at 6:30-7:30pm to a screaming child and a wife begging for him to take said screaming child for a few hours so she could sleep.  I was getting up with him around the clock, and even though I let K sleep, I'd say it wasn't exactly as *sound* as he'd have liked it to be. 

Then, something miraculous happened.  I discovered rice cereal, put him to sleep in his swing and he was also getting older.  The rice cereal helped him keep food down.  He started spitting up a lot so this helped make it a bit heavier.  The swing kept him upright and the motion lulled him to sleep.  I also give chops to the sound machine I purchased from Homedics.  The projector and ocean and rain sounds helped too...and still are!  Time went on and he began to sleep longer...although only taking 15 minute power naps during the day.

I won't get into the transition from bassinet to crib...that was a task in and of itself that was a source of great frustration for hubs and I but we got through it.  But I digress.  Big C began to grow out of his colic, reflux whatever you wish to label it, and I had a very happy content baby.  Who has remained that way, for the most part...up until last night.  What happened last night was a cold slap into reality and just a reminder that sleepless nights are approaching with the birth of the new baby in a few months.  But it wasn't just the sleepless night.  It was a culmination of what motherhood parenthood really is about.

Big C just turned a year old on Friday, New Year's Eve.  So he's way past the newborn stuff.  He has been cutting a bicuspid throughout the last week or so, which I know is a stress to him since he is chewing on his thumb more often, drooling again and cranky.  Some Motrin usually helps and he is his jolly self once again.  Occasionally, I have been a bonehead and put him to bed without a dose of Tylenol or Motrin to help with the pain of his teething and he'll wake up between 3 and 4am.  I give him a sippy cup of formula, a dose of meds, we play and snuggle for 30 minutes or so and he happily goes back to sleep until he wakes in the morning his usual time.

Last night was a Mommy bonehead night.  Put him to bed at 8:30pm and he did nothing but cry in the crib.  OK, this is odd.  I realized he hadn't eaten as much as he normally does at dinner because he was being cranky and slapping the spoon out of my hands and flat out refusing to eat.  OK well everyone tells you when kiddies do that, they don't want any more!  He was fine otherwise.  Happily playing on the floor with toys after being taken out of the highchair until it was bedtime.  So K went in and got him at 9:15pm and brought him into the bedroom where I gave him a cup of formula and a animal cracker.  He seemed content and happy at that point.  I changed his diaper so he wasn't wet in the least and K took him back to the crib at 9:50pm.  Soon as he walked away the crying resumed.  He and I just looked at each other decided to give him a few minutes and maybe he'd settle himself.

The crying crescendoed into flat out hysterical screaming so K went in again and got him, it was now 10:29pm.  This time Big C had gotten himself so wound up that he was coughing until he threw up.  Three times.  Not a lot mind you.  Nothing projectile...we had that back when Big C had gotten his first cold.  Just the kind when you cough too hard and too deep and up a little bit of ick will come.  However, it did get on his PJs so I stripped him down, changed his diaper again, just in case (I'm a diaper nazi...I can't put a child to bed even with a drop of wetness in there) and after he was settled offered him a drink, which he took.  At this point this child was exhausted.  I could see the bluish purple circles under his eyes and he was rubbing his eyes fiercely and blinking repeatedly fighting to keep them open.

I proceeded to give him some Motrin, figuring it might be pain from the tooth coming in.  He clutched his Pooh bear and rolled to his side on the bed, along the side of my leg and I just shushed him like I did when he was a newborn and rubbed his back.  Still staring at the ceiling and blinking to keep from going to sleep I decided to pull out the secret weapon and began stroking his forehead and pushing his hair back.  He couldn't resist and finally closed his eyes.  K, in zombie-like form got up after a few minutes and picked him up and took him back to his crib.  It was 12:05am.  I heard Big C stir a bit and K comfort him in a hushed tone over the monitor.  Then I heard something that sounded like...*Scrrraaape, thummp, creeeak, scrrrape*

Next thing I know is Big C starts screaming, I see fur fly past the bedroom door and K comes racing in the room, across the bed and nearly dives off the side, reaching down under his side of the bed, knocking a few things off the night stand.  Up comes he and his arm from the floor and he's holding the cat, Mo and shoves her down the hallway and yells, "Stay out of his room!"  Yeah.  Nice one, Mo.  He had Big C almost fully asleep when she insisted to paw, then literally slam herself against the door in order to get it open to get to K.  Seriously the cat is up his arse and it annoys me.  But then again I never have been a cat person per say.  To continue, K goes in and settles our son once again and has a staring contest with him over the next 20 minutes.  He finally comes into the bedroom exhausted proclaiming that the screaming will begin because the kid just refuses to close his eyes.  To our surprise, several minutes went by and no screaming. 

I can't tell you how proud of ourselves we were.  I mean aside form being worried that our son was seriously sick or starting with an ear infection or something, we were working it out together and managed to get the little guy to settle down and go to sleep after all!  He looked at me and I at him and gave each other a little smile and laid our weary heads on our pillows.  We can totally do this!  We are good parents!

At 1:50am blood curdling screaming ripped our eye lids open and we both fly out of bed.  I panic.  My mind begins racing.
OK...if this was teething, the Motrin would have taken enough of the edge off that a completely spent and exhausted child would sleep...and for more than an hour.  Maybe it's an earache?  I haven't seen him tug at his ears at all.  But maybe he wouldn't.  Not all babies are the same.  He might just cry.  But it wasn't constant crying.  Don't they cry ALL the time with an earache?  And they have a fever don't they?  He had no fever. Wait?  Did I hear him fart?  Maybe it's gas?  I am such a horrible mother!  My baby is sick and I don't know what's wrong with him and all I can do is try to hush him and put him to bed!
We bring him back to our bed and I'm fighting back tears.  I feel helpless.  Just like I did when he was an infant and I couldn't breastfeed him.  And just like when I couldn't take his pain from reflux, gas, colic away.  I thought this was supposed to get easier?

It turns out, he was a bit gassy as he dropped a few more barking spiders than what I know as "normal" for him.  But I was having a hard time figuring out why?  He did have hiccups when K first put him to bed earlier that night....he could have swallowed air from them.  Although, he never did grab at his belly or kick his legs in a way that would make me suspicious of belly trouble.  After a few minutes I decided that if it was indeed gas, then the culprit was the scrambled egg he ate in the morning for breakfast.  I've offered it to him before but he usually gagged and spit it out.  Something about the texture.  But this morning, he happily chomped it down.  It was the only thing different that he had eaten.  Everything else he's had upteen times before.

So...I laid my baby down on my bed, hubs laying parallel to him and I rubbed his back, belly, legs and arms all the while shushing him quietly.  He clutched his Pooh bear to his chest and stared up at me and the ceiling.  I began stroking his forehead and gently pushing his hair back and with each lazy stroke his beautiful but very tired blue eyes fluttered and finally closed, and he fell asleep.  My husband looked at me and head motioned to the crib and I shook my head.  K just lay his head down and went to sleep with Big C.  I, opened a book, Raising Boys, by Dr. Dobson and continued reading where I left off the night before.  It's excellent so far and I recommend it for both mothers and fathers of boys.

I'm nearly 7 months pregnant and so it's no surprise that my back, ribs and pelvis start to ache when sitting up for a long time.  I needed to lay down, on my side for a while.  But I just sat and continued to read for about 2 hours, making sure my little boy got some sleep.  K stirred at 4am and looked at me as I closed my book and nodded to him.  I watched as he picked our limp darling boy up off the bed, snoozing blissfully and carried him to his crib.  He walked into the bedroom a moment later and we waited.  Quiet.  Only the sound of the rain falling on his noise machine.

I am happy to say he did sleep until about 8:30am.  K and I felt like zombies, but the boy was in better spirits this morning.  I've been dosing him with some Milicon to help rid him of any residual gas, even though I'm not 100% sure that was the issue.  I know I won't be feeding him eggs again...for a very, very long time.  Even managed to get him to take 2 decent naps today with little protesting on his part.  We shall see what tonight brings.  This experience made me realize that it does not get easier.  My cousin A, who I've mentioned often in my blog has 4 children ages 8, 5, soon to be 4 and soon to be 1.  One day I called her with a question and she was refereeing the kids while in the car and she said to me,  
"It doesn't get gets...different."
That has to be the best advice on parenting I've heard so far.  A has just started her own blog, just a little something to jot down things she never wants to forget.  We'll see how it evolves.  If you'd like to read it sometime, you can find it here.  So to all those new and expectant moms out there who happen across my blog, I am passing that advice on to you.  It will not get easier...but it will get different.  Parenting is the most difficult thing I've ever done.  It is also something I wouldn't change for anything else in the world.  I fear at times that I'm not a good mom, but you know what?  I'm a damn good mother.  I make sure my child is never in need of anything.  I play with him, I teach him and most important, I listen to him.  I don't always know what he is trying to tell me, but I do listen.  This journey into parenthood is like nothing I've ever attempted before and there is no going back.  I feel privileged to be given the opportunity to take the ride.



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