i get up every night in the middle of the night; i can’t go back to sleep sometimes, like last night, because of all the stress and implication. i have to work extra hard and pay new childcare, insurance – we can’t afford to save for college and i can’t afford to buy comforts for myself —
yet what i get is that ‘there’s something in the mother’s milk’, ‘lucy looks like you because she’s so serious’ (looking serious was never a compliment as i was growing up), ‘you should go on antidepressants not just for yourself, but because your mood is affecting her’ — in other words, i’m damaging lucy??? sheesh – some people don’t know when to Be Quiet.
Do Over! i wish *i* could adopt lucy just like leanne, so i could get all my friends around me and a court to say and prove it that i am a good mother.
she's a strong one...
leanne is about an hour from landing back in SF; over two hours from returning home after nearly two days away – to see the gates in NYC. i told her on the phone today that last night was one of the ‘worst nights of my life’. she, too, had a hard time being away. problem is, lucy took this week as the week to flip over in her swaddle, so we immediately put her in a sleep-sack, arms free, and she immediately forgot how to sleep, freaking out with her arms waving all over the place presumably whenever she wakes up.
i had already had only 3-4 hrs sleep the previous night, big rains, lucy&i dropping lw @ sfo in wee hours, and then lucy didn’t really nap in the new sleep sacks. then she went to sleep fairly easily, out by 8p, but woke at 9p. pacifier; sleep again; awake by 9:30, had to pick up and rock and hold to return to sleep by 10p or so. less than two hours later, the whole thing again – this time i had to nurse her; done and asleep (me) by 1a or so. then @ 4:30a.m. – nursed over an hour; lucy then wide awake, alert, talking. me crying, tired, thinking things are miserable. the stress is so great that when i finally climb back into bed exhausted at 6a, cold and too awake from stress, and the chills in bed again similar to postpartum, and alone with lucy, and lucy acting up getting used to her new arrangements, i could not fall back to sleep. eventually the sun rose and at 7:30 she was chatting and awake. the day began, without glee, for me.
when she’s asleep – such as now – i feel like this is OK. i feel calmer with myself and my impressions of myself as a mother (i say, pouring myself a glass of whiskey for maybe the third time in over a year) are of a capable person, able to handle difficulty with compassion and remain calm. and then it happens, i’m exhausted, i’ve gotten less sleep in the past three nights combined than i used to insist on needing in a single night, i’m awake with lucy, totally stressed, crying.
what can we say about our fabulous daughter, when pictures express themselves much better than i do these days?
the perfect family holiday dinner
just after six a.m. and no sign of the sun yet. it doesn’t come these days till seven thirty or so but it’s getting earlier. it used to be pitch-dark by five as well but that’s getting later too. i’m so sensitive to the dark and the light now; i used to like the winter early dark but now i am cheered when it is five in the evening and still the light can be traced.
i don’t think lucy slipped back to sleep yet after waking at five and feeding/diaper, but she sighs and doesn’t protest in her bassinet. i used to feel comforted when i was in my bed and could hear noises of people up in the house. i felt unalone when my parents had friends over in the evenings in millbrae and i would be in bed and would hear them playing cards and socializing. i still feel cozy when others are up first in the morning, preparing the breakfast and the day. but now it is my job to be up in the morning or throughout the night. it feels a bit lonely. not even the sun is up when i am up.
our family’s irish heritage is a source of, i believe, unspoken pride in our family. it makes us worldly somehow or does it just make us able to leave at any given moment? i hope to raise lucy with an awareness of her irish heritage but at the same time, it is sad it is slipping away, removed. mom was directly from there so i was _almost_ from there; lucy will i hope get to know being as close to _from there_ as she can; then there are the scandinavians from leanne; furthermore the unknown italians from biology.
because, as much as i love the precious bundle of joy that i am holding, this is exactly what i am. don’t be fooled by smile and confidence — or worse, don’t feel bad if you don’t feel it yourself. “they may have it and you not know.”
really, all i want is the bow
she’s on a roller coaster or maybe just me.
it seems her sleep is so fragile when she goes to it at night sometimes yet time and again she is a champ till later morning hours; this morning she woke just after five-thirty or so. so i’ve been up since then. a far cry from the 10p, 1a, 4a, 6a, etc etc. yet she was super fussy last night and today; just putting her down to sleep she cried and fell asleep then woke and wept a couple of times. before then she was fussy but leanne was holding her and she laughed a good sustained gut laugh — so i feel bad like i’m the one she cries with; leanne makes her laugh. and confused; i get intense handson time with her. leanne talks about going away. but she says she got my birthday wish come true – overnight new year’s eve in point reyes: a quiet new years, sleeping all day? she wanted to fulfill my unobtainable wishes. can i do these things? i’m a little wobbly and uncertain today. i can’t get work done and be a ‘wage earner’ and take care of her too, can i, can we?
today feels like a truly positive update. if i had asked myself this morning how i felt, i would have still been down, and particularly yesterday afternoon, when coming home from work i wasn’t even able to pull off at the rest area to nap nor decide to make it to the bank on the way back — yet today, by this evening, i do feel one thousand percent better. perhaps this shows just how up and down it goes; perhaps it is a general trend.
today, lucy, you were smiles and happy and energetic and perhaps even laughing. yesterday, you were stressed out and it was rough. i had been up since four – the four a.m. feedings are pretty regular and i don’t mind them so much and sometimes look tenderly upon them – but sometimes can’t get back to sleep afterwards! i lie there and worry that i won’t be able to get back to sleep, which in turn keeps me awake, which is silly, and at the time feels downright crushing.
i have been back to work since last wednesday. that has felt crushing too and confusing and i’m cloudy – and if i can’t get back to sleep after four and the alarm is set to go off at six when it’s still dark and cold cold cold, it is very cold. marc w babysat you yesterday and the two of you were having a frustrated time – when i got in to otivo at close to 2pm you were strung out and upset. but i only needed to hold you for a few minutes and you fell right to sleep for a nap, albeit fitful. poor things both of you.
but today, you had a visit from grandma! she stayed with you all morning while leanne and i both went to work, and when i came in at 2p you were _all_ smiles and she said you were laughing with her and playing all morning, when not napping and eating.
at first, after she left, i thought you’d ignore me and only be fussy from then on, but you perked up again for leanne and me. coincidentally, it was the first time i didn’t put you to sleep on my own just by feeding, singing, and reading goodnight moon. you were still awake, and leanne mentioned that she’d never put you to sleep before and really wanted to, so we handed you off. you fussed for a bit, but then fell into deep sleep.
leanne and i both feel like we miss you when we are not with you now, but we have a work thing scheduled where you go to otivo with her in the morning, i go to palo alto, then come back to nurse you for the afternoon and evening while working at otivo. you can now nap well, now that we know to help you and that you need and want this, and when you have napped well you seem happier throughout the day; you are a good sleeper and when you sleep we have respite in our lives and when you wake we joy to be with you — getting there.
today, it seems like we really love this. i know there will be more downs and i am a bit afraid of them.
yet – when julie was here from santa fe over the weekend, and i mentioned fears and depression, and said i didn’t want to model that for my child, she looked at me and said, ‘i think what you’re modeling is knowing and being honest about who you are’ – that was a nice strong sentiment. i miss having julie close but it is good to remember strong friends even if they are far. i need my strong friends.