Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Little Perspective ** Updated

Thank you, thank you for all of your encouragement. I knew that if I surrounded myself with positive comments, then pretty soon I would be thinking positively myself.

This past week just seemed to hold a lot of non-supportive or unhelpful comments from the universe. Granted, many of these comments came from people I don't know very well (or from people I don't know at all), but when you are tired and vulnerable, those things seem to stick with you a little longer. I started to doubt myself, and worse, I started to doubt the kids.

Aimee's takeaway lesson from this week?: If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. (Thumper's Dad had it right, my friends.)

Also, thanks for all of the great suggestions, from swaddling to white noise. We do swaddle Bun quite a bit because he seems to enjoy that "close" feeling, but what he enjoys even more is when I hold him. All day long. And all night long.

Rob and I believe it's because Bun was not snuggled at all in the beginning. Maybe we sound like kooks, but you always read how important physical closeness is for babies, and Bun just didn't get it. I held him for five minutes after he was born and Rob didn't get his hands on him for a week. Granted, a week is not very long in the grand scheme of life, but who knows? (or maybe he's just figured out how to play us already)

I think white noise might help us out as well. Bun has always quieted down at the sound of the vacuum or the hairdryer, and when he sleeps, he sleeps better with the TV or radio on at a very low volume in the background.

We were pretty happy to discover that our alarm clock makes some nature sounds/white noise, so I tried that with him today. My friends, he slept for an hour and a half! I swear the heavens parted and I heard angels singing, because I managed to get a shower, get dressed, clean the downstairs bathroom, empty the dishwasher, load the dishwasher, throw in some laundry, and drink a cup of coffee. And I did all of that with two hands!

I set the alarm clock to play the Mountain Stream sounds, since I started out with the Ocean Surf sounds and it scared me and made me jump. Sounds weird, I know, but there's some kind of distortion problem with the Ocean Surf because it sounds more like a killer rogue wave. Since I don't want to give the poor kid any kind of Poseidon complex, I'll just stick with the Mountain Stream.

And now that I've bored you to tears, I'll leave you to start your weekend -- have a lovely one!

Someone out there needs to tell me that a cranky, sleep resistant baby will eventually turn into a child of superior intellect with a winning personality. Who also finds the cure for cancer.

Seriously, someone needs to tell me that right. now.

Regale me with your stories of sleepless nights that have passed; of fussy babies who have become fun children; of settling down at night without having a baby draped on your chest.

Of course, I have my own stories like this - especially about Francie, the Girl Who Sleeps With Her Eyes Open - but I am in the thick of all the sleeplessness and I am feeling foggy. I am a little too "forest for the trees" right now.

It's been a long day, and Bun, for some reason that I cannot discover, has been fussy for about 20 of the last 24 hours. The Pennsylvania Dutch have a word for this: "grex" or "grexy." This is a great word because it sounds just like Bun's grunty complaints. Not screaming, not inconsolable, just cranky. The truth is, he is very consolable as long as he is on me. The sling has been great, but even that is starting to wear on me (ha! I can still make a pun.)

But here's the tricky thing about the mother's mind: it doesn't take very long for these very days to become the fuzzy memories once the baby grows and gets in sync with the normal household rhythms. He will become a kid who puts himself to bed, and the physical burden will ease, and still I will be caught red-handed missing the baby he was.

So I know that all I need right now is a little change of perspective, a mental pick-me-up, and I'm asking you to throw me a bone, my friends. Just remind me that this too shall pass.

(And if it hasn't passed for you yet -- don't remind me!)


  1. i remember the days when my own SmartyPants would scream herself to sleep....there is no other way to put it. She never went down easily....ever. Now, well, she still doesn't go to sleep so easily, but she definitely makes MY life easier and happier and funnier and better.
    This too shall pass, my dear friend, this too shall pass!

  2. Hang in there! All 3 of mine were bad sleepers, especially the younger 2. Little Brother was the WORST. And he has turned out to be one charming, smart little guy.
    Wishing you plenty of zzzz's.

  3. Marguerite7:50 AM

    The baby is six months and today I took a shower and did my hair before 9:00am-and my socks match....if that doesn't give you hope for the future I don't know what will:)-Hang in there-we love you!

  4. Ugh. Primo was the WORST sleeper!!! From the very beginning that Boy was awake constantly. And he still (at the age of 7) won't go to sleep unless you stand by the top bunk where he lay (lays? lies? lie? didn't I major in English? I used to know that!) and answer his millions of questions so his active mind can rest.

    But you know what, he's smart, funny, loving and just delightful.

    Bun came out of the oven a little early and he's just trying to get used to everything. And he had to stay away from you for a few days while his lungs grew up a little more. He's just soaking up as much Mommy as he can.

    It passes. You know that. Keep your chin up.

  5. Anonymous8:37 AM

    We thought Emmalee would never sleep through the night esp. since we were spoiled by Annaka who managed it so early- but now she asks to go to bed and by 9pm, Tom and I can sit down to watch LOST without either one of us having to retuck anyone or run to the rescue with a sippy cup. It will pass and when it does, it will seem like it happened all of a sudden. Hang in there and feel free to scream at the next person who tells you to get some rest whenever he does (like that is even remotely possible with one other child let alone three).
    Thinking of you and marveling at you amazing mothering skills!
    Mirabella MOM

  6. Heather8:52 AM

    My little guy (#4) is 5 1/2 month old now, and was quite the high maintenance/fussy baby for about the first 3 months. What I found helped quite a bit with sleeping was swaddling him up tightly, and we used the baby swing incessantly. We also bought a white noise machine and it was well worth the $20! There were nights that he slept in the swing all or most of the night in our room. His personality started coming through at about 3 months, and it was like he changed into a smiley, much calmer baby overnight. The book "The Happiest Baby on the Block" was very helpful (forget the author's name). Good luck!


  7. Anonymous10:00 AM

    Aimee- this will pass. When you are in the midst of it, the exhaustion seems to last for an eternity, but it does pass.

    Couple of ideas- Have you turned on white noise super loud for Bun? 2 of 3 babies were lulled to sleep by the vacuum until I killed the motor and bought a sound machine. What about swaddling really, really tight? What about letting him be fussy in his crib for a few minutes and seeing if he can soothe himself? What about handing him to hubby and soaking in a bath- with earplugs in? Or leaving the house for a half hour (I actually was known to sit in the car and cry in our driveway with Little Professor).

    This will pass, this will pass.

  8. ok, so, it's the end of my school term... soooo, after I survive my final project we're going for a day trip. John can watch the kids and hold Bun all day (and he'll love it!) We'll go somewhere and have fun for the day...


    option 2... you stay at home and sleep... we'll take care of the kids while mommy is on vacation

    your pick... or both if we can work out schedules :)

  9. Aimee,
    I know that you've been told, "This shall pass," and you're probably sick of hearing it, but it will. In like two days (well, you know what I mean).

    I had one who really lived in the snuggly, for about a year -- and he was a big 'un. But quiet in the snuggly was better than screaming in the baby seat, so I put him in the snuggly. I know you use the sling -- have you tried the snuggly so both hands are free and he's centered on your body?

    My number four did not sleep at night either and I finally decided I'd rather sleep (and I slept on the couch so she could lay on one shoulder -- the one by the back of the couch-- and I didn't have to worry about her falling off) with her on me, than not sleep. It didn't take long (a little more than a month) and she finally slept in her bed and didn't learn and "bad habits."

    My number four taught me to slow down. I just had to stop and deal with her needs and let stuff go. Just let stuff go. Clean clothes and hot meals are highly overrated!

  10. H'mmm: "Grexy" I think we've always said "gretsy." gosh, I haven't heard that in quite a while...though my parents used it all the time when I was small.

    The other one was "would you stop rutchen around?" You probably know that one too!

    As in "stop rutchen[sp?!] around, can't you see I'm trying to get dinner on the table." Roughly the same as "antsy" "under foot" "knock it off, kid, yer botherin' me!"

    [thanks for the long post about bun -- I'm just catching up with every one else's blog!


  11. Aimee,
    I forgot to say what I really wanted to say when I commented yesterday -- he's gorgeous!

  12. He is so beautiful! I'm so glad to hear the clock trick worked. I've got a bassinet that does that kind of stuff. Better haul it out soon.

  13. Anonymous11:33 AM

    I agree with the difference being linked to time in the NICU. We didn't get to hold Ayden until he was three days old and then for only a few minutes. Everytime we were in there we would hold his little hand through the incubator though, but it is not the same- he still is very snuggly as if he is trying to catch up or something.
    I am glad you are finding some things to work to help restore some normalcy for you guys. We keep you all in our prayers and hey, when people are being negative and you need some resassurance just give a yell- I will be happy to supply all of the positive reinforcement you can stand.
    Happy Easter!
    Mirabella MOM

  14. Mirabella Mom needs a blog too!! :D

  15. Hang in there, Aimee! Now that my baby is 5 there are times that I'm just crazy enough to wish for the newborn fussiness just to have a newborn to hold. The dear little tiny things, so soft and sweet smelling. Enjoy him while he's so little because he WILL grow up to be a genius someday.

  16. Anonymous8:20 AM

    Thanks Beca Hawkette- it's nice to know you might find my life at the "Children's Zoo" interesting. Actually, I have been thinking about it.
    Mirabella MOM
    PS to Aimee- he is getting so big and absolutely adorable!


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