Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rough Waters

We have entered a new phase here at Willow Bend Drive. Waking up early and lotsa tantrums. This has been challenging for me as a mother. I readily admit I never had dreams of being a mom. My dreams as a young girl were always of a corner office and a personal assistant. I never babysat, never wanted to, and was never interested or amused by children.

Claire came along and I fell in love wholeheartedly with my child. However, this still has not endeared me to other children (unless they're friends' kids), and I often feel ill-equipped for some the the challenges with which I'm faced.

Claire has always been a good sleeper. She's slept through the night since she's been about six months old, and she has been able to get herself to sleep in her crib without my aid that whole time. Luckily, she still does that for herself. But she wakes up more frequently during the night, sometimes from what I assume are night terrors, and she has woken up for the day at much earlier times in the last two weeks...anywhere from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. where once it was pretty consistently between 7 and 7:30. I have been increasing her bedtime cautiously as she's grown older, and she had been up to 8 pm, which I had not planned on going past for the foreseeable future.

I have since decided to pull her bedtime back to 7:30. I read a really great sleep book twice cover to cover before she was born, Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers, and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep, and it had said that if your baby/toddler is waking up too early, they may actually be overtired and need an earlier bedtime. So last night I aimed for a bedtime of 7:30. I got an actual lights out at 7:39. I could hear Claire up until about 8 p.m. She was really wired at the time I tried to put her down. She didn't want to sit for books and was preoccupied with her baby dolls. It was somewhat frustrating, but I did my best.

The tantrum thing...from what I hear, her style is common. She throws herself on the ground and screams and thrashes and kicks. If she is on the floor at home and there is nothing around her that's harmful, I walk away and let her go to town. But out in public it becomes difficult. Yesterday when leaving daycare, she did not want to hold my hand. Of course there's no way I'd let her in the parking lot without at least having a good hold of her hand, so she throws herself on the ground and refused to walk. I then pick her up and carry her to the car, and during this process she is kicking, thrashing, and screaming, and she is grabbing big chunks of my hair and pulling as hard as she can. All the while I'm trying not to drop her in the parking lot and get her buckled into the carseat. And next comes what has been happening more and more lately, my tears.

Her behavior might be typical, but I'm not used to anything like this, and it's so hard doing this day after day by myself. I do get a lot of help on the weekends from her dad, and I get a reprieve during the day while she's at daycare.

I am officially employed as of July 15 but am typing a book from home. So my schedule is still pretty flexible. In less than two weeks, I will be in the office and Claire will be at daycare earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon. I hate for her to have to make that adjustment. She doesn't like when the other moms get there and I'm not there, and now she'll be waiting probably a good half hour longer. So I've been worried a lot about that.

I do enjoy being Claire's mom, but I know I don't in the way my friends (many of whom read this) enjoy being moms. It's definitely something I struggle with, and I always feel I'm searching for peace and resolution. I'll just keep doing the best I can for her, and I hope she will realize that although her mom isn't perfect, she truly does her best each day.


Anonymous said...

I feel so "ill-equipped for many challenges" too. And I always admire you that you do your best for your girl and love her no matter what. Claire will grow up to be a girl who appreciates how much her mommy loved and cared about her. Things will be hectic again once you get back to full time job schedule, but it will work out. Little ones have amazing power to adjust to changes!

Laura said...

Don't know if this is any help....Victoria's sleep schedule drastically changed a couple months before turning 2, it was awful. She stopped napping and even though we put her down at 7:30p, we would still hear her up toward 9-10p. So don't worry, hopefully it's just a phase she has to get through! Good luck! By the way, I love that sleep book, it helps me keep my sanity when things are tough! I don't enjoy being a mom everyday either-completely normal!

LoveLladro said...

I so wish I could hug you right now. I can't imagine how hard it is to navigate all this and by yourself a lot of the time. Please know that I don't always feel like a good mother. I have tossed Chase in a crib, took the paci's out and let him cry on more than one occasion... just because I couldn't deal anymore. I often feel sorry for Chase since he is the guinea pig. The other day, all he wanted was for me to pick him up but I just couldn't bring myself to do it... even with the pathetic whining/tears. Some days it's tougher than others.

I often wonder what percentage is nature and what is nurture... I usually come up with different percentages for each child and each circumstance. That being said, I will tell you how I handle Chase and his will. I talk to him. I seriously explain, in detail, everything that is going on. ie... the parking lot. I tell him he can either 1. hold my hand and walk or 2. I can carry him kicking and screaming to the car. which would you like to do? I will say it over and over again... giving him the choice. A lot of times he will do what I want him to... and he is happier doing it. I think he is getting to the point where when I exert my will over him he bucks it... but if I give him options... he is more interested. I don't know if that will work for Claire... all kids are so different.

Also, please keep in mind that she loves you. She loves you to the ends of the earth... and with good reason. You are a wonderful mom who is stumbling through uncharted territory (like the rest of us) but who at the end of the day, feeds her child nutritious good food, reads her books, lovingly tucks her into bed and most of all, truly loves her child. She is a lucky little girl and believe me, she loves you with all her heart.

Sorry this was so long and probably disjointed.