Friday, 26 April 2013

Who has two thumbs and has slept in vomit? This girl...

I'm a complete and utter rockstar.  I've been pulling all nighters, my breasts have been groped, I'm waking up covered in vomit that is not my own -- Flash back 10 years ago and this sounds like an epic night out with the girls.  All the nastiness of a hangover is one-upped by the hilarious stories you have about dancing on speakers drinking 'double vodka crans' (which had no vodka in it at all) or watching your highschool teacher wear too tight spandex shirts with his nipples sticking out while playing guitar in CR Slam the epic cover band of the Inn Towner (a local slum of a bar that had a roof covered in asbestos that started leaking hepatitis on you when there were too many people in it, good times right?).  But in reality, sadly my baby is sick.   

My son has his first cold.  Awww, I know -- lets all hold hands and give each other knowing Mom looks of sympathy.  Alright, let go of my hand -- I hate shaking hands, it should be outlawed as a disgusting act of the 20th century.  Our children 20 years from now should laugh at us for being so foolish in handshaking like we laugh about days without the microwave.  Ugh, like at church... can I just give you the peace sign or a knowing nod or a toodle-loo wave of my fingers instead of sharing with you love and SARS when I shake your slightly moist hand?  I'm not a germ-a-phobe per se, but really no matter how much you have washed your hands... lets be honest, it's never quite enough.  But I digress.

So I must tell you about my first experience of having a sick baby.  It's awesome, everyone should try it.  So picture it, my child is coughing like he smokes three packs a day and has snot running down his face making a booger mustache and even has a slight fever but is being an absolute trooper and playing like a champ.  This goes on for three days, and I think I'm a flipping Mom God.  I have created a super-human who can not be slowed down.  Go me!  So I keep up with the acetimenophin, and I even take him in to the walk-in clinic to make sure that he doesn't need a lung transplant or has turburculosis.  I get the all clear -- beautiful.  Then after those 3 glorious days of a pseudo-sick child, there comes the night-that-shall-not-be-named for fear of naming it that it will come back and hunt me down and punch me in the face once again.  

It started out like any normal night, a little fussy before bedtime so I draw his bath and splish-splash around for a while, all it good.  Dry the little munchkin off, blow dry his epic mane, settle in for a nice bedtime story and some nom-noms and voila.  Recipe for a goodnights sleep, right?  Wrong.  Now one thing you need to know about my son is that while he is a ball of energy he is a happy dude.  Rarely cries, and if he does it's never for very long (...send your hate mail to mysonnevernaps@idon'  So imagine my dismay when it is 11 pm, and my son starts screaming.  And I do mean screaming.  I almost called for a priest and a baker and a candlestick maker to perform the exorcism.  I tried all my tricks, nothing helps.  Rock-a-bye baby, lets bounce on my enormous yoga ball.  Nope.  I'm swishing around the bedroom like a ballroom dancer.  Nada.  Here buddy, want Daddy?  Aw, shit-- the neighbours lights are going on... they can forsure hear him and are calling the police because now its sounds like we're murdering him.  His arms are reaching for me like I just handed him over to Freddy Krugar.  Ugh, I already know he's not hungry but still I pop the tit.  Serious this is my last line of defence, the boobie usually cures all, what else can I do?

My blood pressure is through the roof as I finally get him latched.  It is now midnight and we're both trying to shush the demon out of our son, who is still flipping his lid.  Latch, suck suck suck.  Unlatch, scrrrreaaaaaammmm!  Kick!  As he tries to thrust his body out of my grips I feel like I'm wrestling a 20lb bag of snakes.  Back on he goes.  Finally after 25 minutes of us stroking his hair and speaking parseltounge, he calms himself into some milky dozyness.  Beautiful.  My husband drags his tired ass to bed, because he has the joy's of working in the morning.  Me?  One exhausted tear is running down my face because I know that I have the joy of never sleeping again.

So you know that moment, where you think you've waited long enough that you're going to attempt the 'put-down'?  You've stared at their little face so intently, studying it for signs of life.  Nothing.  No twitching.  I blow in his face a little.  (Yah, I'm an asshole like that...) No reaction.  Alright, the final dead arm test.  If I can pick up his arm and drop it, without him moving, we're in the clear.  I scoop his little body closer to mine as I start the dance of the 'put-down'.  It's really like being Catherine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment when she's trying to manuever her body through the lasers or more like trying to walk through a land-mine ridden field.  One wrong move, *WHAMMY*, you're sent to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200, do not get to go to sleep for at least another hour.  I'm standing over my crib (which is at the lowest setting, just to keep it interesting), and I lift my child up -- lean over, the gentle placement on the matress.  Be careful, bum down first -- now slowly remove your hand.   You take your hand from the bottom and you place the baby down, you take your hand from the shoulder and and pray your baby doesn't make a sound.  You wiggle, slowly jiggle, under his shoulders til your hands set free... you hold your breath and hope to not wake the baby.   Phew.  You've done it.

Mentally, you're congratualating yourself for being a champ.  Back into bed you go.  Ahh, warm covers.  Assume the fetal position.  Exhale.  Sweet warm, bed bliss.  *WAAAAAAAHHHH*  Stumble to the nursery to find your child making the mattress his bitch.  You know, on all fours, rocking back and forth doing the humpty-hump?  And screaming, like he's embarrassed but just can't stop.  Time to start the tango of the tantrum again.  This repeats, for hours.  12:40, 1:30, 2:14, finally at 3:02...I give up.  White flag is a waving.  There's going to be no sleep for me tonight.  Apparently the only way to sleep is to be held.  All.  Bloody.  Night.  But don't forget to rock.  Into the spare bedroom I go, exhausted, tears streaming down my face.  All he wants his Mommy, but she's gone and in her place is a monster that growls at crying babies.  'Go.  To.  Sleeeeeeep.' I plead.

I cozy into bed.  With one free hand, make my self a little nest of pillows and blankets to prop me up.  I settle in for the long haul.  Picture me sitting crossed legged in bed rocking my baby like I'm locked in a padded room, but don't forget that there are silent tears streaming down my face -- mourning the loss of my old life where I would be able to sleep whenever, however, and for as long as I wanted.  Mourning the feeling of freedom I once felt, being able to think only of myself.  Mourning the sleep that could never be tonight as we creeped into early morning.

The baby settles, I calm down, and I do what I swore I would never do.  Co-sleep.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  When sleep deprived, all sanity goes out the window.  What you thought would never do, becomes fair game.  So I settle down beside my son, who is finally calm, and exhale.  Okay, you get to close your eyes and get a little bit of... And that's when it happened.  The unmistakeable sound of projectile, I'm in the exorcist, vomiting.  Like old faithful, the child vomited straight up and it splated straight down all over both of us before I could react.

The bed, the baby, me, everything was covered in vomit.  So I did what any self respecting sleep deprived mother would do.  I changed into the first t-shirt of my husbands I could find.  Changed my sons diaper and put him in a fresh sleeper.  Used baby wipes to smear the puke out of his hair and, wait for it, threw a towel over the vomit covered bed.  Thats right.  My own personal low, judge if you must but all that was between us and the upchuck for the rest of the night was a nice fresh towel.  There was no energy for the changing of sheets or the bathing of my child or myself for that matter.  

We slept for the next two hours together, cuddled with the wonderful sour smell of regurgitated breast milk and I was just too damn tired to care.  Ah, well... it beats sleeping with your head on a toilet which don't lie, Judgy Mc Judgers... we've all done at least once.  Be jealous haters, I'm living the dream over here.    

Kinda like what I wrote?  Pop over to naptimerambling's Facebook page to stay up to date on my new posts, and other funny stuff.  

Hey... See that Top Mommy Blog icon at the top left of your screen?  Take two seconds to click it if you like my blog.  Two seconds... that's it, that's all.  Click.  Done.  Criss Cross Applesauce Baby.  You awesome peeps have gotten me up to #15 out 80 for of funny mom blogs.... think we can get me into the top 10??? 

One more thing, looking for a great website all about Moms?  Great recipes, awesome bloggers (shameless self-plug here), lots of amazing support by cool Mamas.  Jenny has created an amazing space for Mama's to connect, a total judge-free zone.  I love it over there.  Make sure you take a peek.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

A little insight into naptimerambling ...

So my last post had quite a bit of anger in it and it seems to have struck a chord.  Whether it be people assuming the post was certainly about them, or being worried that something is definitely wrong with me and I'm in a horrible place in my life right now, or even other people messaging those who shared the post to make sure that everything is ok with them.  So I feel like it's time to give you all ...people who know me personally, as a friend, acquaintance, or only from what you read on my blog... a bit of an insight into naptimerambling.  

The funny thing about writing a blog is that it takes me days, sometimes weeks to start, write, review and subsequently publish any post, so nothing is ever posted in a spontaneous manner.  (My type-A personality wouldn't have it any other way.)  And while much of what I write is inspired actual events in my life, there are portions that are not about me at all.  I have a pretty extensive network of wonderful new Mothers that I do the majority of my socializing with, and like most women, we talk about our lives.  It's usually while listening to these women talk that a light bulb will turn on in my head saying, "Hey, I didn't know someone else felt like that too... I thought it was just me... I should write about that..." and off I go to start my next post.  Anonymity is key.  I will never sell anyone out as the inspiration to my writing.  I have integrity when I write, and I have no intent to break any of the trust I've earned with my friends.   And interestingly enough, the anonymous muse for my last post hasn't read it and probably never will.  

I am not in a horrible place in my life, in fact, I'm pretty damn happy.  My stresses from pregnancy have disappeared, my son is happy and healthy with a mane of hair that most babies are jealous of... and somehow I did figure out how to be a Mom.  My marriage didn't take a figurative 'hit' when we had our son, in fact I only feel closer to my husband who never complains, always comes home with a smile on his face, is the first to ask me if I need anything, and is hands down an amazing baby-guy and Daddy.  My son and my husband are the keepers of my heart, and I love them fiercely.  I'm blessed with the life that I have.  But who wants to read about that crap, right?  Pass the barf bag. 

So instead, I choose to write about the common place trials and tribulations that many new Mothers experience.  It isn't meant to hurt feelings, but is purposed to give validation to other Mothers who didn't realize that other people are in the same boat, navigating the often rugged ocean of motherhood.  Because no matter what circumstance you find your life in, motherhood can be isolating and it is nice to know that you're not alone feeling like you're losing all sense of yourself while you sit covered in baby vomit in your good wear yoga pants, with your unclipped nursing bra, and disheveled 'used-to-be-a-pony-tail-this-morning' hair staring comatose at The Wiggles wondering if any women actually would have sex with any of those men... especially the pirate, because he is by far the worst one on the show.  

Yes, I meant everything I said in my last post.  No, I'm not going to be featured on an episode of Criminal Minds.  Yes, I feel better having said what I had to say and quite frankly I think it's ok to validate your negative feelings from time to time, holding on to them can only make you feel worse.  Yes, it's ok to expect more from the people you are close with in your life.  No, it's not ok to think this was all about you.  And yes, it's ok for people to check in with their friends to make sure they're ok.  

Truth is, many Mom's get angry, but the anger seems to stems from disappointment.  It's not disappointment from a group of friends you hang out with from time to time, it's not from people you touched base with monthly, and it's not from people who have young children of their own (in fact, I'm sure new Moms understand even more why these friends are busy).  It's disappointment from someone in your life that you expected more from.  That you've told a hundred times, that 8 o'clock is a horrible time to call, or that going out at dinner just doesn't work for you, or to put their phone away so that they can actually get to know your son.  It's not people who are awkward because they don't know what to do.  It's people who are awkward, oblivious, or just inconsiderate and should know what to do.

I started this blog as a hobby because I enjoy creative writing and I needed an outlet to regain my sense of self.  I needed to do something that made my brain 'flip-the-switch' so to speak back to the academically driven woman I used to be.  I needed a piece of her back to feel like I didn't totally lose myself when I became I Mother.  I needed to do something for me, so I could be an even better mother to my sweet, hilarious, wonderful boy who has such a large piece of my heart I don't know if he'll ever understand my love for him.  I never quite expected to have so many people reading what I had to say, but it seems like a lot of you feel the same way as I do from time to time and that's pretty damn cool.  With over 7000's page views, I am most certainly humbled that you take the time to read my work.  

Hark, the sound of a waking babe beckons... Nap time is over...until next time :) 

Kinda like what I wrote?  Pop over to naptimerambling's Facebook page to stay up to date on my new posts, and other funny stuff.  

Hey... See that Top Mommy Blog icon at the top left of your screen?  Take two seconds to click it if you like my blog.  Two seconds... that's it, that's all.  Click.  Done.  Criss Cross Applesauce Baby.  You awesome peeps have gotten me up to #15 out 80 for of funny mom blogs.... think we can get me into the top 10??? 

One more thing, looking for a great website all about Moms?  Great recipes, awesome bloggers (shameless self-plug here), lots of amazing support by cool Mamas.  Jenny has created an amazing space for Mama's to connect, a total judge-free zone.  I love it over there.  Make sure you take a peek.


Monday, 8 April 2013

I did something I swore I would never do... sleep train.

I did something I swore I would never do.  I've started to sleep train my son.  Now I need you to know that this really goes against every fiber in my body but I was pushed up against the figurative rock and a hard place and honestly had no where else to turn.  Since the beginning of January, I haven't had a full nights sleep.  Up until then, my son had been a wonderful sleeper -- down at 8pm up at 6am.  Beautiful.  I was rested, I was happy, I was able to be an amazing mom.  I could go out and socialize, I could shower, drink coffee, hell I could even go for groceries.  But then it started.

I thought it was teething.  First one tooth, then two.  Then three, and four.  Then maybe it was a cold.  Stuffy nose.  He can't sleep because he's congested.  And then it started to downward spiral.  No predicable naps.  Bouncing him on a yoga ball for up to forty-five minutes only to have him wake up twenty three minutes later.  Put him in the boba, wear him around the house until my back wants to break from juggling a nearly twenty-five pound 9 month old around.  Nurse to sleep?  More like nurse to bite.  He was up so much during the night, that some nights it wasn't even worth trying to go back to sleep.  All of my tricks and crutches and props that used to work like magic.... poof, done bar.  He wanted nothing to do with any of them.

The straw the broke the tired Mama camel's back
My breaking point was a Monday night.  He hadn't ate well all day, thanks to tooth number five.  So genius me thought I should dream feed him at 9:30pm to top him off, and then I'll hit the sack.  Really Stephanie?  Really?  Dumbest.  Idea.  Ever.  I rocked him.  Nothing.  Nursed him.  Pursed lips, head turned, no thanks Mom I'm full.  Wore him.  Ah fun!  I can see the world!  Covered his head with a blanket while wearing him to block out the world.  No problem Mom, I can rip that blanket off and play peek-a-boo.  Take blanket away.  *insert melt-down here* I WANTED TO PLAY PEEK-A-BOO.  Clutch him as he nearly back flips out of my boba.  Roll my eyes and remind myself that I wanted children.  Alright, next trick.  Bounced and bounced and bounced on the yoga ball until my lower back felt like it was going to break.  

I've got Katy Perry on my hands.  It's 12:30 in the morning and he's wide awake.  I put him down on our bed out of sheer frustration and my husband and I stare at our giggling son who is ready to rock and roll and we have no idea what to do now.  My child wants to play, and there is NO damn way I'm putting him down on the floor to play for only God knows how long with his toys in the middle of the bloody night.  So I pick up my mini Kim Jong-un.  Full of resentment and anger that was fueled by the last three months that I had been deprived of sleep, I stomped downstairs, turned on my PVR to watch the Apprentice while I wore and bounced that little dictator into la-la land.  It was past one o'clock and they were already in the board room before he finally passed out.

I tip-toe my zombie ass to his crib to enter phase two of this hellish ordeal to play the game of j-j-j-janga of trying to put him down.  You take a hand from his bottom and you try to pull it out.  You take your hand from his head and hope he doesn't shout.  You stand there for a minute and pray he doesn't pout.  Shhhhhh.   Shhhhhhh.  Shhhhhhh.  (I'm now fluent in parsel-tongue with the amount I shush my son.)  I tip toe backwards out of the room with my hands up like I'm ready to jump double dutch rope as I meander carefully through the landmind that is the hardwood floor, praying the floor doesn't squeak because if he wakes up I might just die from exhaustion.  Shhhhhhh.  Shhhhhhhh.  Shhhhhhhh.  As gentle as I can, close the door--- careful to keep the knob fully turned as I cushion the sound of the door closing.  Slooooowly release the handle.  Shhhhhhhh.  Shhhhh--what?  Why am I still shushing in the hallway?  Ok, it's 1:30.  Time to drag my ass to bed.    

A New Day
Six in the morning comes quick when you're completely exhausted.  Time to start the day again.  Except I'm done.  I can't do it anymore.  I'm so freaking tired that tears are streaming down my face as I stare at my smiling little boy that I barely have the energy to pick up let alone play with.  So here I am. Finally defeated.  Pushed into the corner like a rabid raccoon desperately trying to find a way out.  I have no other choice.  I shall train this little dictator to sleep.

Now I've read lots of books on making a baby sleep.  Ok I'm lying, I've read two.  Alright fine, I'm being generous with the word read -- I've perused two.  (What mother has the time to read anyways...) But neither of them worked for me.  My son would not be pigeoned holed into their methods, because there is nothing E.A.S.Y. about my head strong little son and while I'm sure he's healthy there's nothing happy about this child when he goes to sleep.  Then thanks to the heavens for a wonderful fellow Mama who posted the pdf of Sleep Sense on this life-saving group of local Moms I belong to on Facebook.  I bounced my little tirant to sleep for his morning nap for the last time, and quickly read up on torturing, I mean sleep training, my son.  I had just enough time to read the important points before he was up and ready to go again.  Then I figured with the first eye-rub in the afternoon, it's game on.  Nothing else works, what have we got to lose? 

The Horrible, Awful, Nauseating, First Attempt
He rubs his eye, gives me a little yawn, and I pounce on him to commence the afternoon nap of hell.  Seventy-five minutes of screaming.  Like, blood curdling I'm about to get murdered by Freddy Krugar screaming.  Seventy-five excruitiating minutes filled with self-doubt and horrible guilt.  As I hold my child's chest so he can't roll over and stand up to do his best impression of the Ultimate Warrior, I'm convinced that I'm emotionally scaring my son for life and that if anyone walks by my house they're certainly calling Child Protective Services on me for torturing my wee-child.  I stayed in the room, because I didn't want my child to feel abandoned but he still cried so hard that he vomited like the girl in the exorcist.  Calmly I cleaned the mess, changed my furious and very tired son, and put him back down in his crib.  Time has never moved slower than those seventy-five emotionally exhausting minutes.  During which I knew I had to persevere or all of this horribliness would be for nothing and that wasn't fair to my sweet boy.  Then it happened.  Like a light switch.  Eyes closed.  Done.  I walked out of the room feeling like the worst mother in the world and I cried.  There was nothing else to do but cry.

But I made a commitment, and my husband was on board so night time came and it was time to go at it again.  I warned my husband of the emotional strain it would cause but we both assured ourselves that we needed to do this.  We had to teach our son how to fall asleep.  Perhaps a better idea would have been to shut off the baby monitor upstairs because the bellowing just echoed in our house making me feel all the more guiltier for our choices.  When he reached for me, I had to place him back to lying down and a peice of me died each time with those sad eyes looking up at me.  Tears silently streamed down my face as my husband and I took turns standing over his crib just lying him back down each time he tried to roll over to stand up.  Forty-five minutes pass, and something magical happened.  His eyes closed, and he slept.  Our child for the first time since January slept through the entire night.

The Aftermath
It's only been a week of consistently placing him in bed after changing him, nursing him, and reading him a story whether it be for a nap or for bedtime and he able to sleep like a champ.  The next day he literally cried for only 15 minutes, but not full out crying just I'm tired and I can't quite figure out how to fall asleep crying.  And for the last two days, I put him in his crib and he just closed he eyes and magically fell asleep until morning.  Peaceful as can be.  To a mother who hasn't had a full nights sleep in over three months and has dreaded bedtime for the battle royal that it had become, let me tell you that there is really nothing more beautiful.  

I never thought I'd say this but sleep training was the smartest thing I ever did with him.  I judged it.  Convinced it was damaging the child.  Scoffed at the fictional people who could just place their children down in bed and they fell asleep.  Thought now's not the right time, a thousands times.  I'm not strong enough today.  I'm not rested enough today.  I just can't do it today.  But when pushed up against the wall I learned a few things.  I am a parent and my son only knows what I have shown him how to do.  If the only way he fell asleep his whole life was by being bounced, then how on earth would he know how to fall asleep otherwise?  And, it's okay if he cries.  It really is.  I know that he's fed and clean, and really is just protesting going to bed.  And if he cried like that when I take my car keys out of his mouth, do I give in and give him my keys because he's crying?  Nope.  He has to learn that keys don't go in the mouth.  So why is it any different when I'm teaching him about sleep?

It's only been a week since I started this, and I feel like a brand new woman.  He naps at regular times and just today actually fell asleep on my shoulder as I was leaving a friends house.  Now you need to understand that two weeks ago my child would have had a bloody tantrum that only ended in damaged ear drums when he was over tired.  Today he knew how to fall asleep, so, because he was tired, he did.  Short term unhappiness for a lifetime of gain.  It's my real first encounter with tough love and I don't regret a minute of it.  

To put it into perspective -- I know in the future he's not going to like doing his math homework but I'm going to make him do it anyways because he needs acquire that skill.  My son didn't know how to fall asleep on his own, so I taught him how when I was ready to.  There were tears, on both ends, but he's better off for it and learned far quicker than I thought he would.  And as for those "no-cry" sleep training solutions?  They were obviously written by childless assholes to make mothers like me feel like a douche when their child cries when you put them down in their crib when they're not completely passed out.  Yes, a baby is going to instantly prefer a crib over a mothers warm arms and delicious smelling breasts and put up no fuss EVER when put down.  I call bullshit.  

Guaranteed gentle solutions to solve all your sleep problems?  Nothing in a sleeping baby's life is guaranteed except that his diaper will be full of piss when he wakes up.  And unless you're planning on slipping my kid a Lunesta, my head strong little Northern Korean dictator will evilly laugh in your hippie 'go-to-sleep-gently-methods' face.  And just because you could 'gently' tell your four children that you're no longer co-sleeping with them, doesn't mean you know how to train everyone else's children how to sleep.  So stop claiming you can and stop making me feel like an asshole for finding a way that works for me.  

Now I'm sure there will be bumps along the road and we'll have to do a sleep tune-up here and there, but in the end -- I'm happier and so is my son.  We're both well rested and I'm getting back to feeling like a human again.  I finally feel like I have time again.  I made my bed, did some laundry, and I even had time to take a shower and do my hair today.  Ah, the things we used to take for granted...

Kinda like what I wrote?  Pop over to naptimerambling's Facebook page to stay up to date on my new posts, and other funny stuff.  

Hey... See that Top Mommy Blog icon at the top left of your screen?  Take two seconds to click it if you like my blog.  Two seconds... that's it, that's all.  Click.  Done.  Criss Cross Applesauce Baby.  You awesome peeps have gotten me up to #15 out 80 for of funny mom blogs.... think we can get me into the top 10??? 

One more thing, looking for a great website all about Moms?  Great recipes, awesome bloggers (shameless self-plug here), lots of amazing support by cool Mamas.  Jenny has created an amazing space for Mama's to connect, a total judge-free zone.  I love it over there.  Make sure you take a peek.