PART II: What I Did Today…
The day is halfway over, so I thought I’d break up this never-ending blog.
12:02 p.m.: Maddy is all ready, but I’m still naked except for a towel turban adorning my head.
12:06 p.m.: I have on shorts, underwear and a bra. Still no shirt, but we’re making progress. I have to pee again.
12:08 p.m.: I’m dressed!
12:09 p.m.: Fold the laundry that was in the dryer. Put second load in dryer. Start third load in washer. Madeline is a big helper – pulling laundry out of the dryer and assisting me with pouring the detergent into the washer. Still, I find myself wondering: Do I really want a big family? Imagine the loads of laundry and how little sleep I’ll get with several little insomniacs. God, give me the strength and the grace to handle what you give me…
12:14 p.m.: Something is wrong with me. I have to pee again. I know I’m almost 31 weeks pregnant, but still… Poor Madeline is going to spend most of her second year in to bathroom with me.
12:16 p.m.: We play with Maddy’s toy kitchen and cook up some serious fun. She’s quite the chef. She makes me cinnamon toast, soup, corn, cheese and a muffin to dip into a hot cup of tea. “What kind of tea did you make?” I ask.
“Chamomile,” she replies.
12:30 p.m.: Time to make our real lunch. Madeline wants to help, so I pull her safety stool up to the kitchen counter.
12:35 p.m.: Ouch! I stub my stupid toe on the stupid dumbbells I left on the stupid kitchen floor. Madeline hears me yelp. “Ma-Ma kiss Mommy’s toe and make it feel better,” she says as she leans down and kisses my toe. “Feel better now?” she asks.
“Yes,” I say and I’m being completely honest.
12:40 p.m.: Lunch is served.
Her lunch: Turkey, cottage cheese, pretzels, skim milk with a squirt of Wal-Mart-brand chocolate syrup and kiwi for Madeline. I give her a toothpick to spear the kiwi chunks with and she tells me, “Dis makes me happy.”
My lunch: All-Bran cereal sprinkled with flax meal (good omega-3s for the baby) and skim milk, a few bites of kiwi and cottage cheese. Nothing fancy, but it hits the spot.
12:41 p.m.: “Mommy, peas eat with Ma-Ma.”
“I’ll be right there.” I’m about to join Maddy at the table for lunch when my cell phone rings. It’s Mari, one of my best friends. She has four tickets to the Clifford show at the Fox Theatre for Saturday and wants to see if Madeline and I want to go with her and her daughter Ava, who’s Maddy’s same age. My heart sinks. I’d love to go and I’d enjoy some mommy camaraderie right now, but we have plans with Dave’s family (his grandparents are coming into town).
“I can’t.” She, of course, understands. Still, I feel really guilty for some reason for not being able to go see the Big Red Dog with her after I hang up.
12:43 p.m.: Now I sit down with Maddy.
12:44 p.m.: Home phone rings now. It’s my mom. I tell her to hold on for just a moment because we just sat down for lunch and need to say a blessing. We say it quickly. Then I start to vent. I confess my sin of losing it with Madeline. I lament over our new sleep struggles. I berate myself. She tells me to cut myself some slack. She tells me I’m a great mom and that no one is perfect and all moms lose their temper sometimes. I want to believe her, but I wonder if it’s really true. I know of so many moms who seem to never lose their cool – and many of them have five or more kids.
1:25 p.m.: Maddy wants to talk to Gaba now. She’s been very patient. She sings one verse of “Ten Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” and tells Gaba she’s wearing her baseball t-shirt. Then she does her standard good-bye routine. “Wuv you. Bye-bye. See you soon” and hangs up.
1:30 p.m.: This is one long lunch. Madeline is still eating. I have to pee and I decide to call Mari because I’m still feeling guilty for some reason. (Yes, I’m okay with peeing while talking on the phone with one of my best friends.) She doesn’t answer, so I leave a rambling message and say sorry several times for not being able to watch an oversized, red canine dance around on a stage. I am a freak. I hang up.
I realize I have to do more than pee. “What Mommy doing?” Maddy calls from the kitchen table.
“I have to poop.” No shame (or modesty) in this household.
“Because I have to.”
“No!” she demands.
Uh, what? I don’t know how to respond to that, so I don’t.
1:36 p.m.: Clean-up time from lunch.
1:40 p.m.: Madeline makes some more butt music, grins and says, “Ma-Ma beanied. Scuse me.” I wonder how many euphemisms for fart she knows. Then she finds her tiger stickers and starts counting them. “One. Two. Twree. Four. Five…”
I tell her we’re going to play for just a few more minutes and then go upstairs for story time and a nap.
She pulls out the rug from underneath the kitchen sink and tells me her doggies (some imaginary friends she has) are walking on it so they won’t slip. I love her imagination.
The baby is kicking. My belly jumps.
“Mommy, play with choo-choo.”
“Okay,” I say, but she changes her mind and wants to play with her caterpillar, which is really a bead traveler toy. To her, the wooden beads make a perfect and colorful caterpillar. She fingers one bead and then changes her mind. “Play with ponies now. Play with caterpillar after nap.” I set a timer and warn her that when it goes off, we’ll have to stop playing with her toy ponies.
1:50 p.m.: Timer goes off. “Oh no,” Madeline laments. “Have to ‘inish’ tea party for ponies.”
“We will after your nap.” I have to go pee again. I ask Maddy if she has to go. She does. She sits on the potty and asks me to read two books to her. I read “Caillou Potty Time” and “My Big Girl Potty.” We both hear her tinkle and she smiles proudly. “You must be so proud of yourself, Madeline.”
“Mommy, proud, too?”
After I help her wipe, she tells me to “ook in the potty.” I look at the pale yellow toilet water and smile at her and her pee.
2:03 p.m.: Madeline picks out a sheep sticker as her reward for using the potty. Then the stalling begins. “Play with kitchen?” “Wash up table more?” Then she wants a doggie sticker for her hand. I tell her we can’t play until after her nap and that the table is all clean now, but I do let her pick out a dog sticker. She decides to put it on her belly instead of her hand. She then gets her baby doll.
We make it to the foot of stairs. “Hold baby,” she says. “Want my jammies on now.”
She’s a professional staller.
2:05 p.m.: She leaves baby at the foot of the stairs. “You leaving her there?” I ask.
“Ma-Ma will come check on her.”
“No, Maddy. You can’t come and check on her. It’s time for a nap.”
“Bring her in Ma-Ma’s big-girl room,” she says.
“That’s a good idea.”
“Mommy, come hold baby. Too heavy.”
I go back downstairs and pick up the baby.
2:07 p.m.: Check on laundry. Still wet.
2:09 p.m.: We’ve finally make it to Madeline’s bedroom for story time. I let her pick out three books: “I Love You As Much,” “Curious George Wins a Medal,” and “Raindrop Plop.” She has running commentary during each reading. I have to sing “I Love You As Much” (I made up a tune to the lullaby book when Maddy was a baby). She asks what the beehive is in one of the illustrations. She also asks what’s on the goose. “Feathers,” I tell her. When she sees a mouse mom and baby, she says, “Mouse kisses mommy,” and then makes a smooch noise.
During the Curious George book, she asks, “Where space at?” since George is headed there in the story.
“Way, way, way up in the sky,” I tell her.
When we read “Raindrop Plop,” she points to the heroine’s galoshes and says, “Ma-Ma has boots, too! Gaba bought them for Ma-Ma.”
2:28 p.m. Aloud story time is over. I let her pick out “Ten Little Fish” to read to herself. I escape to pee. I close and lock the door. I’m craving privacy. Madeline follows and keeps knocking on the door until I’m finished.
2:32 p.m.: I open the door. “Ma-Ma was knocking.” As if I couldn’t hear her persistent tapping on the door… I hear the phone ringing. I ignore it. Madeline starts to sing “Ten Little Fishies Jumping on the Bed.” “Make up fishy song,” she says, giggling.
2:33 p.m.: “Time to rest, Love. Get into your bed.”
“Where Ma-Ma’s bed at?” A ridiculous question considering the bed takes up more than half her room.
She goes to hide behind a chair.
“No, Love.” I go get her and bring her to bed. I tuck her in. “I love you, Baby.” I kiss her gently on the lips.
“No, Mommy, go.”
2:37 p.m.: “I’ll be right back. Please stay in bed,” I say.
“Go check on Mommy.”
“No. Stay in bed. I’ll be right back.”
I go to check my voicemail. It’s from my mom. She forgot to thank me for an invitation to a Mother’s Day brunch at our house. I thank God for such a wonderful, thoughtful mom.
2:42 p.m.: Amazingly, Madeline hasn’t followed me to my bedroom. I sit down on the bed. I’m feeling nauseous for some reason. I haven’t thrown up since about 22 weeks, but I’m still occasionally hit by waves of nausea. I take three deep breaths. I pray to God for patience. I am so sleepy. My whole body aches. I may go rest with Madeline.
3:13 p.m.: She’s finally asleep. Alleluia! I’m not so lucky. I can’t sleep, so I slowly, carefully slip my arm away from beneath her belly. She’s draped across it like a puppy snuggling up with a littermate. She’s softly snoring. I wish I was, too. My mind is racing. I can’t stop thinking of all the things I need to do – fold more laundry, write thank you notes, write out two graduation cards for my cousins, call my mom-in-law about our plans to go strawberry picking tomorrow morning… Maybe the culprit is that slight caffeine kick (I haven’t had much caffeine at all during this pregnancy). Or maybe I can’t sleep because my little yogi is constantly doing headstands on my bladder or tap-dancing on my ribcage. Or maybe I’m just so overtired, I am wired. Whatever the case, I now feel like I’m going to have diarrhea.
3:19 p.m.: I give up trying to sleep and sneak out of Maddy’s room.
3:38 p.m.: I’m sitting on the toilet when I hear crying. “Please no,” I think to myself. It turns out that it’s my neighbor’s toddler wailing. Better hear than me. I am evil.
3:50 p.m.: I call my mother-in-law (Madeline’s Nana) and end up venting again. She listens and offers support. I feel infinitely blessed to have so many great people to lean on in my life.
4:15 p.m.: I go to check on Madeline. She’s rolled over, but she’s still sound asleep.
4:17 p.m.: My bladder feels like it might explode. What’s going on? This baby is one low-rider. I have to pee…again.
4:20 p.m.: I’m suddenly famished. I sit down to eat a snack – one part-skim mozzarella cheese stick, the remains of Madeline’s apples from breakfast (yes, the same ones that were on my floor) and some Propel Fitness Water because you know, I’ve been a cardio queen today (yeah right!). While I nosh, I write out some of my notes.
4:29 p.m.: I can feel a foot or an elbow on the right side of my stomach and I am reminded of the miracle taking place inside of me. “Stay healthy and strong, little one,” I pray.
4:42 p.m.: I’m downstairs. “Mommy! Mommy!” I hear over the monitor. It’s not too sad of a cry, so I wait. Then all I hear is white noise.
5:15 p.m.: I hear another “Mommy!” Then silence. I know I should wake her up soon, so she’ll sleep well tonight. I’ll give her a little longer. I’ve gotten a lot done – paid some bills, tidied up downstairs, folded laundry, checked my email, typed some of this lengthy blog entry…
5:29 p.m.: “No, Mommy, go!” I think she may really be up this time. I take one last sip of water and head upstairs. I can hear her babbling.
5:33 p.m.: When she sees me in the doorway, she says, “Ma-Ma called Mommy. Mommy came!” She’s so happy to see me. It’s nice to feel so loved. I tell her I have to go potty and ask her if she has to go. She doesn’t.
5:34 p.m.: I’m having some Braxton-Hicks contractions. I rub my belly. “Baby sister hurt?” Maddy asks.
“No, Honey. I’m fine.”
“Get Mommy water,” she says and fills a bunny cup in her bathroom for me.
5:38 p.m.: As we head downstairs, Madeline says out of the blue, “Ma-Ma not big, but Mommy big.” I don’t take it as an insult. I think she means I’m all grown up. Then she says, “Ma-Ma getting tall.” Okay, so maybe she was referring to my preggo bod.
5:39 p.m.: We decide to take her baby doll for a walk in the stroller (one designed for the doll) and to get the mail. “Bing baby’s juice in stroller in case she gets thirsty,” Madeline says as she puts a plastic toy bottle with orange liquid bubbling inside of it into the stroller’s basket. She adds, “Me close this up, so she doesn’t get sun in her eyes.” She pulls the stroller visor down.
She then puts her sunglasses on and hands me her Cubs sunhat. “Bing with in case Ma-Ma gets cold.” I guess she associates wearing hats with keeping her head warm.
Before we make it to the door, she wants to straighten the rug beneath the kitchen sink. As we straighten it together, I tell her I need to wash it. “Ivy hair on it. Oh well. Wash morrow,” she says. (There are a few stubborn Ivy hairs sticking out of the fiber from when we watched her last week for my parents. I’ve vacuumed it several times. Oh well is right.)
5:43 p.m.: We’re off!
During our walk Madeline picked me a blood-red berry from a bush. She wanted to pick me some “flaffles” (translation: flowers), but I told her they belonged to a neighbor. She also wanted to go over bumps (cracks/indentions in the sidewalk around our townhouse community). She saw a spider at one point and told me, “Going home to see Mommy because spider scared.”
Hoping to get some insight on why she’s been having so much trouble sleeping without me, I asked, “Why is it scared?”
“Ummmm….” Pause. “Oh well.”
Well, wasn’t that enlightening?
I tell her we need to turn around because I have to go potty again. She tells me to pee “Right here in the bushes.” (Yes, I once relieved myself during a walk through the woods by some bushes.) I don’t oblige her this time.
Madeline starts talking about the mean ducks and how we can’t feed the fishies because Ivy isn’t here to “prodect” us. There’s a nearby retaining pond with aggressive Canadian geese. They get too close for comfort unless Ivy is with us. I nod and agree.
We’re about to cross the street to head home when a car speeds around a corner. I shoot the driver a “I’m-a-mother-bear-protecting-her-cub” look.
6:06 p.m.: We’re back from our walk and guess what? I still have to pee. There’s a message from Dave saying he won’t be home until after 7 p.m.
6:13 p.m.: I start preparing a hodgepodge meal for Madeline and me. We usually try to eat as a family, but Madeline is hungry. More guilt ensues. I did make a fancy dinner earlier this week – breaded chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese and fresh rosemary and a Dijon asparagus salad compliments of Rachael Ray, but tonight’s fare is going to be simple and easy.
Madeline wants to help, so I lug out the stool again. “Be careful with your fingers, Mommy,” she says as I’m chopping chicken and celery. “Knife sharp.”
6:33 p.m.: We sit down for dinner and say a blessing. The menu includes homemade chicken salad with celery, green peppers, pistachios and red grapes tossed in light mayo with a side of mashed sweet potato topped with a dollop of Benecol and a dash of cinnamon. Maddy is also having some leftover pizza from an outing yesterday.
6:36 p.m.: Maddy patiently makes a second request for a fork for her pizza because I forgot to get her one after the first time she asked.
We read about Jesus again per her appeal. I ask her where Jesus is in the room and she immediately points to the crucifix hanging above the door to the garage. Then she says, “Jesus died on cross. Then rose again and Mary happy!” I’m happy, too, knowing she’s already starting to get to know our Savior.
7:01 p.m.: Where does the time go? It’s cleanup time. Madeline hops up on her stool again and helps me wash the dishes.
7:10 p.m.: Maddy washes the table. I have to pee. I drank A LOT of water with dinner, okay?
In the bathroom, I glance at the mirror. I look tired and gross. I usually try to look nice for when Dave returns home from work, but today’s definitely an exception. I look like a total “mombie.” When I think about it, this whole day has been an exception in a lot of ways. Maddy usually doesn’t throw tantrums and I certainly don’t throw tantrums like I did earlier during the apple incident. We usually are adventurous and get out of the house. Today we have been slugs. I usually really sit down and play with her more. Today I’ve only offered cursory playtime. As Maddy is fond of saying, “Oh well.”
7:13 p.m.: I ask Madeline if she wants to go outside and play with her big, blue ball. She says yes and that she wants to bring her baby to watch.
7:17 p.m.: Madeline has another meltdown because I won’t let her bring a kitchen chair outside. Now she says she doesn’t want to go outside.
I tell her that’s okay and go outside anyway. I start playing with the ball, thinking she won’t want to miss out. I’m wrong, so I try to go get her. She screams when I get close to her and runs away from me.
The phone rings. It’s Dave. He’s just leaving. He’s had a long day, but I start to vent to him anyway. What’s wrong with me?
As I’m about to hang up, Madeline says, “Ma-Ma settle down, Mommy. Play with ball now.”
7:46 p.m.: We chase the ball up and down a hill. It’s a lovely spring night. Maddy is an attentive mommy – she frequently goes to check on her baby who is sitting in her stroller on our tiny concrete patio. Then she runs back to me, arms rapidly pumping and mouth opened wide. I love how she runs – she puts so much effort into it. She points to a sliver of the moon faintly visible in the dusk sky and to two airplanes. “Two airplanes,” she says. She chases a few birds. Then we hear the honking of two Canadian geese. We watch them fly over us.
“Mean ducks,” she says.
We start chasing the ball again. I’m having more Braxton-Hicks. I try to just walk up the hill, but my drill sergeant barks orders at me, “No! Run up hill.” For some odd reason, I listen to her commands.
She’s giggling a lot and I thank God for such a happy child.
I notice Dave’s black Geo slowing down to turn into our neighborhood. “Daddy’s home!” I announce.
Madeline is usually thrilled to see her daddy, but today has been a strange day. She doesn’t want to come greet him. He sees us and walks back to the long stretch of grass that runs parallel to all the townhouses. We kiss. Then he approaches Madeline. I tell him I’m having some contractions, so he tells me to rest. “I’ll play ball with you, Maddy.”
“No! Wanna play with Mommy. No like Daddy.” She’s never said anything like this.
“Timer didn’t go off,” she tells me.
I realize she just doesn’t want to go in yet. I get the trusty timer and set it for three minutes. When it chimes, she’s fine with going in. Dave is inside reading the newspaper.
7:52 p.m.: Madeline thunders toward Dave and exclaims, “Ma-Ma happy now! Daddy home! Wuv you, Daddy.” Now that’s more like our sweet Madeline. Then she says she wants to wrestle with Daddy. They play for a bit. She decides to go hide in the pantry, but when she hears that Dave is going to start the grill (he’s going to make himself a steak for dinner), she wants to go help him.
7: 55 p.m. They go outside. I look out the sliding glass doors and see Madeline lying flat on her back next to her baby, gazing at the sky.
7:58 p.m.: Potty time. I read her two potty books. She pees. “Daddy, Ma-Ma went pee-pee!”
“Great job,” he calls from the kitchen.
I try to stand up (I’d been sitting on the bathroom floor while reading to her) and I get a terrible cramp in my Achilles Tendon. “Ouch!”
“Mommy sick? Ma-Ma get Mommy water,” Madeline says. She takes such good care of me.
“I’m okay, Honey. Just a little cramp.”
Dave calls out. “Listen to this. There are now only 927 girls born for every 1,000 boys in India and 832 girls born born for every 1,000 boys in India.”
“Because they get abortions if they’re having a girl?”
“Yeah. They’re bringing in ultrasound to India and so now a lot of people are aborting their girls.”
This makes me so sad. I consciously put a hand on my belly and whisper a prayer to the baby girl growing inside of me. How could anyone kill their baby – especially just because she wasn’t the “right” sex?
“Mommy, ook in toilet,” Madeline says.
I look and see the water has turned pale yellow from her pee.
8:18 p.m. The stalling begins. I’m trying to lure her upstairs to get ready for bed, but suddenly she’s hungry again and wants some of Dave’s steak even though she had a big dinner. I’m trying to get a new diaper on her, but she’s thrashing around like a fish out of water. Dave comes to the rescue and helps distract her with some silly kind of kissing. Then I tell her it’s time to clean up her toys. She resists briefly and then starts belting out our cleanup song.
8:20 p.m.: I let her pick out a potty sticker. She chooses a goofy bear dressed up like a clown.
Baby is kicking. I place Maddy’s hand on my belly. Usually, she’s really into her baby sister, but she’s distracted by Daddy’s dinner and will do anything to postpone bedtime. “Ma-Ma want some of Daddy’s ‘take,’” (take = steak).
8:23 p.m. She already starts crying about bedtime. I’m so confused. Last week she was doing so well. We’re upstairs now. It’s time to brush her teeth. She’s fighting me. I almost lose it again. She’s screaming and crying. I tell her to spit out all the monkeys that were in her mouth. This usually incites giggles. Nothing.
I tell her I have to go potty one last time. She says she has to pee one more time. Maybe she does, but I suspect she’s just stalling. “Peas, peas, peas!” she screams.
Then, as abruptly as she started her crying, she stops. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
8:27 p.m. Story time. She picks out “Snuggle Puppy,” “Elmo’s World: Love” and “What Makes a Rainbow?” In the Elmo book, it starts out by saying, “Elmo wants to learn about love,” and for some reason that sentence causes me to have a pang of guilt. I need to learn about love, too. Love, and most certainly the sacrificial love moms are called to give over and over, the kind that doesn’t involve losing your temper with your children.
“Okay, Madeline. Pick out two books for your crib.”
“It’s not my crib,” she says laughing. “It’s my big-girl bed.” I forgot she’s sleeping in a big-girl bed now.
Maddy picks out “God’s Little Instruction Book for Children,” which she insists is about a rainbow, and “The Runaway Bunny” to bring to bed. She’d rather sleep with books than stuffed animals.
8:46 p.m.: Prayer time. We say a “Hail Mary.” Then I ask Madeline if she has any prayer requests. “Pray for Ivy,” she says. Then she lifts my shirt and says, “Goodnight, Baby Sister.” She points to her ear. “Hear Ma-Ma?”
“Yes, I think she can hear you,” I tell her.
8:50 p.m.: Dave joins us. Madeline is flipping through her books, “reading” them.
8:53 p.m.: Out of the blue, Madeline turns to me and asks if I like her. She has the sweetest smile on her face. “My heart melts. “Oh, Maddy. I LOVE you. I like you very, very much.”
“Ma-Ma kiss Mommy’s face.” And she plants a soft kiss on my left cheek. Then she kisses my lips. “Wuv you so much.”
Dave and my eyes meet and I know we’re both thinking that it’s moments like these that make the tantrums, sleepless nights and other struggles well worth it.
She resumes reading “Runaway Bunny” and gets all excited when she sees the picture of the circus, remembering when we all went with Gaba and Papa and her Uncle Josh.
9:07 p.m. I have to pee. She wants to come “check on Mommy,” but Dave keeps her in bed.
9:15 p.m. Dave kisses her goodnight and leaves. I hold her hand. She tries to bury my entire arm under the covers in attempt to keep me there. I say a decade of the Rosary in my mind. I definitely “say,” not “pray” it. I’m so distracted. I start thinking about my prenatal appointment next week, my weight, an essay I submitted to CommonTies.com…The baby is doing the jitterbug inside of me. I do a few Kegels in her honor.
After my unfocused Rosary, I think of five things I’m thankful for (this is an evening ritual for me). The first things that pop into mind are:
1. My mom
2. My Nana coming out of surgery well today. She got a pacemaker put in and my dad is in Florida with her and my Papa.
3. Dave, Madeline and our growing baby.
4. The Eucharist
5. My brothers
A sixth random item darts into my mind: I am thankful for rainbows.
9:34 p.m.: I tuck Madeline in and tell her I love her. I kiss her goodnight and tell her to have good dreams. “Sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s room.” Before I’m even standing up, she’s on her feet and running down the hallway toward our room. Dave intercepts her.
I am exhausted. I feel defeated. Dave relieves me for a bit.
9:39 p.m. I check my email. I read an “Ask the Expert” blurb in a parenting e-newsletter about moving your child to a big-girl bed. We have done everything right. Plus, her sleep problems started before we made the transition this week. She was trying to climb out of her bed and asked to sleep in a big bed. The first night went fairly smoothly. I don’t know what’s happened. She’s always been an enigma when it comes to sleep, but she used to not be unhappy. She didn’t always get much sleep or even take a nap, but she was easy-going. This week she has clearly been exhausted and easily upset. The same goes for me.
I delete a forward. I feel guilty for not reading it. I leave an email for writing contest marked as unread. I should delete this one, too. I don’t have the time or energy to write something before the April 30th deadline, but my inner muse can’t let it go.
9:44 p.m. I reflect on what I feel guilty about today:
1. Losing my temper with Madeline during the infamous apple incident
2. Venting too much to loved ones
3. Not exercising (I try to do a little something every day for the baby and my health, but I suppose running up the hill after dinner counts for something)
4. Not making a better dinner (or anything for poor Dave) for my family
5. Not praying enough
6. Looking tired and unkempt when Dave returned from work
7. Not giving Dave enough of my love and attention
8. Not being able to go to Clifford with Mari but also feeling guilty for wanting to go in the first place when I haven’t seen Dave much this week and because we already had family commitments
9. Not cherishing Madeline’s giggles enough
10. Wasting all this time thinking about why I feel guilty
11. Staying up too late
9:47 p.m.: I have to pee. Will it ever stop?
9:49 p.m.: I fold my last load of laundry for the day. The sock fairy strikes again. I am missing one of Dave’s white athletic socks. I’m too tired to care.
9:56 p.m.: Dave tries to leave Madeline. She immediately comes to our room and tries to climb on our bed. I feel like a horrible mom – if I had a terminal illness, wouldn’t I just let her sleep in our room? But I can’t give in now. I don’t mind her sleeping in our room occasionally, but she also needs to learn to sleep on her own. Plus, this is something new. She used to love her own bed and snuggling in a nest of blankets.
I bring her back to her bed and tuck her in. I tell her I’ll stay with her for just another minute or so. She keeps trying to stuff my hand beneath the covers. My arm is at an awkward angle. “Leave Mommy’s arm alone.”
I sit with her for another minute. I leave. She cries. I stop in the doorway. “I’ll always love you,” I say.
9:59 p.m.: She’s back. Dave returns her to her room. She cries. He stays with her. I can’t hear what he’s saying to comfort her, but I faintly hear the low rumble of his voice and I know she’s in good hands. I decide to clean our bathroom counters, but before I can even wipe off the smudges from Dave’s contact solution, she’s back. I snap, “Go back to bed!” Dave takes care of her again.
I head downstairs. I can’t find my diaper wipe case. It’s been annoying me. My OCD tendencies kick in and I start digging around trying to find it. No luck.
I eat one Dove dark chocolate mini egg and head back upstairs. Madeline is standing in the hallway. “Go to bed!” I bark. Then, I get down to her eye level and gently ask, “What is it, Madeline? Do you want your crib again?”
“Sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s room,” is all she says.
“Honey, you’re so tired. You need sleep.”
“No! Not sleepy,” she cries. She abruptly stops and sniffs. “Smell chocolate.”
“Yes. Mommy had one chocolate egg.”
Dave laughs from behind me. My mouth twitches. I’m trying hard not to smile. “Baby, you’ve got to go to sleep.
“No, no, no,” she whimpers. More crying. Then a little tantrum dance.
I sigh. “I’m sorry. I can’t take it anymore.’
“I’ll take over,” Dave says.
10:13 p.m.: I begin to pray a unity of faith prayer for Dave and me and a prayer for graces in motherhood. In the latter prayer, a few lines stick out for me:
“In every trial of motherhood, I beg your aid.”
“That the sweetness of motherhood may not through my neglect be embittered in later years by pains of regret.”
“Give me strength to bear cheerfully all the pains and hardships of motherhood.”
Of course, it’s difficult to really meditate when I hear Madeline’s nonsensical babbles out in the hallway. She makes no sense. “Seep in my crib. Nam. Bumblebee chase Ma-Ma. Seep in Mommy and Daddy’s room. Nam. See spider outside. Ma-Ma settle down.”
Dave brings her back to her bed.
10:21 p.m.: She’s back in the hallway and I still can’t make sense of her rambling. “Don’t worry, Mommy. Boo-boo hurt. No pick Ma-Ma up….”
Dave takes her back to her bed. “No, Daddy!” she cries. “No, Daddy. Want to sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s room!”
10:46 p.m.: Silence. She is finally asleep. I am at a loss of what to do. I know to never judge other parents because we haven’t done anything that could have possibly spawned this erratic behavior.
Dave and I discuss the situation, but we don’t come up with any real solutions. Dave gets on the computer to unwind.
11:37 p.m.: I have to pee. I also get ready for bed. I do a few squats while I’m brushing my teeth. I start working on this tome of a blog entry.
1:00 a.m.: I know. It’s officially Saturday, but it still feels like today. Dave tells me I should go to sleep. He’s right, but oddly enough, I don’t feel tired. He tells me he’s going to take care of her tonight. “You don’t usually hear her,” I say.
“I’m going to go in there with her,” he says.
“Should we really get into the habit of doing that?”
“I want to give you one night not having to worry about her.”
I am so lucky. He kisses me. He’s an amazing dad and husband and an example of selflessness.
We talk about Madeline’s sleep struggles a little more. “It’s going to get better,” Dave says. “I think it’s just a phase.”
I start to cry and tell him how I’m so tired and how sometimes I think I try so hard to be perfect – to never lose my temper, to meet her every need – that all my frustrations finally reach a boiling point and I explode. I tell him about the damn apple incident. He doesn’t judge me. He simply encourages me. I am so in love with him. I feel better. He’s right: It’s just a phase. It’s nothing we did (or didn’t do) that have caused this.
I silently say the mantra: This too shall pass.
I tell him about this blog and how it’s been such an atypical day. He just nods. “You really should go to bed.” He’s right. What’s wrong with me? He kisses me goodnight and goes to sleep with Madeline.
I decide to check the weather for tomorrow’s strawberry picking outing. Sunny and 75! Yippee!
2:01 a.m.: I’m still not sleeping. One last prayer and then I must at least try to go to sleep. “Please, God, help me to be the best mom I can be. Give me the patience to handle all of the challenges of motherhood. Help me to be loving but firm.”
Oh, and I have to pee…