Saturday, September 18, 2010

Outwitted by the Toddler Once Again

I promised myself that my daughter would take a good nap in her crib this afternoon. Famous last words. Everything started well. She dined of broccoli, a sweet potato and half of an apple at a proper 11:50 a.m. After lunch she washed her hands, I changed her diaper and gave her her pacis (Yes, plural pacis. She sucks on one and holds the other in her hand. I know, I know. Don't judge.) I asked if she was ready to rest, and she replied quickly and enthusiastically, "Yes!" My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief, but hey, we always have hope. She had her pillow, special blanket, both lovies and the sound of the ocean playing in the background. All was right with the world. She went down without one word of protest. Amazing!

That lasted about 15 minutes.

My husband had gone outside to wash our cars, and I'd intended to update my blog. (So sorry I've been such a slacker lately.) I did get the table cleaned off and the dishes stacked in the sick, but I'd just sat down to begin typing when I first heard her call for me. Perfect. I'd not had the opportunity to write at all, and we all know the quality of sleep at night depends on how well a child sleeps during the day. So I went into her room, covered her back up, told her I loved her and that it was nap time and left. Cries rang out before I even made it out of the room, but I stayed strong and kept on going without looking back. I waited the first five minutes (probably more like four and a half, but who's counting) through constant cries and went back in to repeat the covering, patting, assuring my love, etc. and left again determined that she would eventually sleep. I. Never. Learn.

My husband and I have gone back and forth with multiple cry it out methods, but truth be told, we're weak. We don't have excellent follow through when it comes our daughter being upset. And I'll admit that most of the time it's my fault. I know she needs to be able to console herself, she should be able to nap independently and she should not be able to manipulate this well so soon; however, I really have a tough time when she's crying for me. I want her to know that no matter what I'll always be there for her. Always. I don't want to think she needs something or someone and I've just left her there trapped in her crib to deal. She's not even two years old yet. But I also know she gets her way entirely too often, and it worries me because again, she's not even two yet.

To save you the details of the drama today, just imagine the scenario going on for nearly an hour with me playing my role every eight to 10 minutes. Determined to prove that I was the boss I finally went back in to lay her down again and firmly explained that she would nap today. She stopped crying and looked at me as if she understood I finally meant business. I told her I loved her again and left. Silence. I smiled and walked back to the computer in the family room. Still nothing. This went on for about seven minutes. I sat in front of my computer and waited. I assumed she was asleep at last. Ahhhh. Peace. But then, I thought, I hope she's okay. I had to make sure she was still breathing. (I know. I have issues.) It'd been enough time. I could tiptoe in to put my hand on her chest just to make sure she was fine. I walked with a mission, purposefully missing each creaky spot on our living room floor. I tiptoed forward, and just before I turned the hallway to get to her room I heard a soft, sweet voice, "Mommy, I love you. I love you, Mommy." I froze. What? I had not made one peep! And then again, "Mommy.....Mommy, I love you." I melted and knew it was over. My white flag might as well have been tossed into the air. She was already standing up and smiling, holding her blanket, extra paci, pillow and both lovies. (The girl can use those small hands like a champion!) She got her way. Again. I picked her up, gave her a hug and kisses, and we went to the rocker to snuggle.

I feel like such a loser, but I still have hope that tonight will be a good night.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Momma on the Edge

Things have been quite hectic at work over the last couple of weeks. I’ve planned two days of research events, managed a fund-raiser, moved offices and interviewed for new jobs at work after a restructure within my department. My Type A perfectionism and control issues have created one large and long rollercoaster ride and have made me a momma on the edge. I’ve obviously put in more hours at work. I’m okay with a late night or early morning here and there; it’s all part of the job. These two weeks, however, have required me to miss my baby girl. A lot. It’s tough when she’s asleep before I get home and when I have to leave before she wakes up. It's especially difficult for someone like me who already struggles with the guilt. I’m such a passionate person that what I’m feeling (the good, the bad and the ugly) almost always finds a way to make it to the surface. To top it off, my daughter’s been a complete daddy’s girl lately. Normally, it’s pretty 50/50 for us, but recently she’s been her daddy’s all the way. That’s been extremely tough. I love and respect my husband so very much for the man he is and for the father he’s become. We are truly a great team, but I'd be dishonest if I told you I wasn't jealous. I know how fortunate I am to have him in my life, and I’m obviously thrilled she adores her father. But when she says no to me and reaches for him, it’s a killer.

A friend once told me that one of the most difficult things to do as a mother is to not allow your mood to be determined by your child’s mood or by his or her behavior. I shrugged it off like most pieces of advice so many people have been so eager to share. I should have asked more questions about how one manages to do that. From early on that’s something I’ve struggled with. When she’s sick, I feel terrible as well. When she’s happy, I’m overjoyed. When she’s fussy, I’m just a little grumpy too. It’s hard (almost impossible really) for me to not be affected by what’s going on with her. She is my entire world.

It can also work the other way. While I’ve really tried not to show how consumed I’ve been about work, she’s a smart girl and has sensed my stress. Who wants to be around someone so uptight? Me either. Don’t get me wrong we’ve had our fair share of fun, but it’s not been the same. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to stay completely in the moment at home. Until tonight I haven’t been able to let it go. Granted, my research events and the fund-raiser have all been completed and were successful. I’m sure that’s part of it, but tomorrow I will find out my future with my organization. What will it be? No idea. What I do know is that as long as my family is happy and healthy that’s what’s most important. Tonight was the best night my sweet baby girl, my super supportive husband and I have had lately. We all played and sang and danced and read stories. That’s what it’s all about. My favorite moment tonight was when she laughed and described me as, “Silly Mommy!” Lesson learned. I’ll try to not beat myself up too badly over what I’ve missed by feeling so overwhelmed and focus on doing better. I just hope I can regroup a little sooner next time. As for tomorrow, feel free to say a prayer, light a candle or send a good vibe or two my way. But do know this: whatever happens, my little family and I, we’ll be just fine.