Apparently CJ did wake and squawk briefly several times last night; Kevin said these episodes lasted mere moments, but because he was in another room, and we’re running two humidifiers now (so much for cutting down on energy consumption), I didn’t hear the babe and instantly leap to grab him up and feed him back to sleep. He is now 20 pounds, 6 ounces. Weighed today. I’m noting that here because I seem incapable of noting it anywhere else.
I’m only a tiny bit torn about moving him out of our room. Mostly I’m looking forward to reading before bed (while lying in bed), and to resting more consistently, ie. more than an hour or so consecutively. And I’ll still get to bring him into bed for snuggly night feedings, just fewer and further between. It always seems to come to “it’s time.” This may be the case for every transition. Something just tells me when it’s time.
To speak of a more fundamental transition, I’m finding myself in this New Year thinking often about life beyond primarily childcare. Researching possibilities. Feeling excitement, even impatience.
Kevin stayed home Monday morning so I could write, and he reflected afterward how these moments will never come again. You either decide to spend this time with your growing children, or you don’t, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t spend this same time with them later. They will be grown. You can’t sit on the kitchen floor while CJ practices standing and taking a step, and Fooey gobbles handfuls of peanuts perched on a stool, talking utterly non-stop. Sometimes it feels too slow, too boring, too quiet. Sometimes it feels like you need some positive feedback, some notice, some worldly recognition. That feels vain to admit, but there must be something in human nature that craves recognition, recompense, for work done. But this isn’t regular work. You might even argue that it’s not work. It’s living, life. It’s experience. It’s definitive.
And I’m trusting that I’ll know when it’s time to shift my focus, that I’ll know when my time has come to get up off the floor. Maybe it will be when CJ can run away from me, or when Fooey has her nose buried in a book, or when Apple-Apple can cook supper, or Albus can walk to school by himself. I’m just guessing. I never know it’s time … till I know.
He did it! He slept through the night! Well, mostly, and enough. I sense that he’s actually more comfortable sleeping by himself. Less restless. I fed him at around 5 this morning, in our bed, and within an hour he was wriggling and sweaty; so I carried him back to his own crib.
He’s still sleeping now and it’s time to put the porridge on. These mornings are so very dark. Snow this morning, too.
There’s something about lack of sleep that puts me in the blog-mood. My baby will not sleep at night, and apparently is also refusing to sleep during the day. He’s in the sling right now, lazily chewing my hair and stuffing banana-scented fingers up my nose with a look of supreme exhaustion upon his gorgeous features, hanging on by the sheerest of threads to consciousness. Of course, if he does decide to fall asleep, I will have to wake him up anyway to get to Fooey’s afternoon “recital” at her music class.
But it’s my own sleep deprivation, not his, that makes me want to type. I’m too tired to analyze the whys and wherefores, though I’m sure something applies. I was up approximately once an hour last night with this child. He refuses to nurse during the day unless he’s beyond starving and nothing like a banana is in sight, yet at night he seeks milky comfort to lull him back to dreamland … last night I saw midnight, 2am, 4am, 5am, 6am; those were the ams I recall seeing, anyway. By 7am the whole house was up, woken by Apple-Apple’s surprise nosebleed. Did I mention we also had a child, who shall remain nameless, pee on top of the toilet lid last night? That was my second unexpected opportunity of the evening to really clean the bathroom. The first followed a series of reckless baths. I’d no idea what had rolled under our tub since the last flood. Apple-Apple asked whether I’d found a dead mouse. Nope, just a giant fuzzy hairball.
You can thank me for that image later.
I’ve just laid CJ down, awake, protesting but weak. If he falls into sleep now, I’ll be dragging him out of dreamland in, oh, twenty-seven minutes or so. I run on precision timing.
Was just packing the diaper bag for aforementioned outing, and discovered an old cloth diaper lingering, shall we say, in one of those handy stuff sacs. Maybe we’ll go disposable just for this event. At the rate this day is going, I anticipate solids arriving somewhere mid-performance. And no, he’s still awake. His howls just took on real drama. Twenty minutes till departure.
I’m going to go pick him up now.
This is the second day in a row that I’ve made the choice to hop out of bed, brush teeth, and start the day earlier than required. I’ve never been a morning person. Bed has always called louder than anything else, so the thought in my head this morning as I stood looking at bed, still in pajamas, debating, was, “Why aren’t you calling me?” Habit made me hesitate, confused; is this what morning people feel like? Like extra sleep wastes time that could be spent awake? The sensation was unfamiliar, baffling. My instinct was not to trust it. But then I thought, maybe this is some new and entirely unanticipated early bird phenomenon working its way into my system. And I went cheerily off to floss.
Maybe that tincture from my naturopath is working miracles. Maybe the new haircut has me feeling bouyant. Or maybe it’s CJ turning eight months. (He’s eight months today! Insert a paragraph of exclamation points here signifying immense disbelief). Maybe it’s moving that much further from the exhaustion and blur of those early baby days. Maybe it’s getting out to a reading, and then, later, for a drink. On a Friday night. Maybe it’s all this walking we’re doing. Or the great enjoyment I take from my kids. Or something hormonal. Who knows.
But I’m going to make a pot of coffee right now and savour the grey morning. As soon as I’ve moderated the smallish battle (ah, siblings!) going on behind me.
[Have to add a PS. I just re-read and edited this post about four hours later, and must note that though I may feel fabulous at 7am, I really really should not be writing for any form of publication at that hour. The post was full of errors and repetitions and clumsy rhetorical attempts. Brain not quite up with body, at that hour, apparently.]
I am eating cheese and crackers right before bed. This is probably ill-advised, but I am SO HUNGRY. The past two nights have been off-the-map bad for sleep, basically in ruinous desert territory where sleep is a form of creative drifting, of falling into shallow pits in the earth and being clawed back out and flung onto the sand. How’s that for metaphor. Don’t answer, please. CJ has a nasty snotty cold and has been unable to sleep in his playpen (at least at night) at all, for two nights. He crawls around screaming and crying as soon as we lay him down; ergo, we don’t. Ergo, we hold him and walk him around (Kevin) and hold him and nurse him (me). Constantly. I had these early morning dreams of eating vast trays of sweets, candies, cupcakes, sugar-topped rolls, gorging on them till I woke feeling guilty and … hungry, apparently.
It felt like I slept no more than twenty minutes at a stretch last night. Kevin said every time he woke, he’d hear or see CJ sucking away at me–that, or whimpering, choking on snot, and trying to crawl blindly off the bed.
It’s late, and we can’t get CJ down again tonight. And he’s still sick, so we can’t let him cry anything out, assuming anything could be cried out. People do this, right? People let their babies cry? I have very little resolution and strength on that subject. I am weak weak weak with compassion and desperation to sleep NOW in the middle of the night, which may explain why our baby is still mostly in bed with us, seven and a half months on.
I’ll tell you what last night reminded me, though. It reminded me that you don’t really know tired till you’ve been wakened all through the night feeding a baby, on consecutive nights. I had to nap today, seriously no choice, and I was crashed out cold (Fooey watching TV; CJ taking a proper nap in his playpen–why, oh why does he like it during daylight hours??). That was what life was like every single day for months after CJ was born; and now it already seems rare–I’d already forgotten that must-crash-out sensation.
Okay, I’ve eaten enough cheese. This should hold me through the night.
Want to note that CJ has been sleeping much better (at night) in the past couple of weeks. This is the sort of news I hardly want to mention, for entirely superstitious reasons, of course. So touch wood. And rejoice. What happened was that after we returned from our Halloween weekend at Kevin’s mom’s, CJ had gotten pretty comfortable spending all night in our bed, and was waking soon after being put to bed at night, just so he could come and cuddle with his mama. I have only a vague sleep-deprived memory of the magic moment, but what I recall is going to bed early (because he’d woken and wouldn’t go back to sleep otherwise), nursing him off and on till sometime after midnight, CJ remaining fussy and restless and miserable, and finally turning to Kevin and saying: “My tank is on empty. I’m going to let him cry.” So I laid him back into his playpen, tucked him in, and let him cry. I patted him a couple of times, and he cried for a full fifteen minutes, but that was it. Fifteen minutes of suffering and he fell asleep. All by himself. And it’s been much easier getting him into his playpen since then, and he sleeps longer when he’s initially put to bed, too.
But he is right now downright miserable in his giant bouncy device, probably hungry, and the living-room is filled with children playing Playmobil (playdate). So I should really, er, get off this electronic device and attend to some non-virtual needs.
Oh, and I had the kids wear the Mennonite Central Committee Remembrance Day button to school today, a red button with the words “To remember is to work for peace.” We had a fairly long talk about it before school this morning, and at the end, Albus said, “I think it would be easier to just wear the poppy.” I told them they could also wear a poppy. I hope I wasn’t overstepping parental bounds by asking them to wear this pin, too, especially because I wasn’t entirely convinced they “got’ it. But I have deeply ambivalent emotions around Remembrance Day, having been raised a pacifist. To me, wearing the button isn’t about standing against people who offer their lives to serve our country, but about being aware of the effects of war, and imagining more peaceful solutions … but I’m typing one-handed … and my children are behaving most unpacifistically all of sudden.
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