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.