Saturday, April 24, 2010

lest you think it is all rainbows and sunshine

It's been a big week. Baby J started to explore solids, with forays into organic rice cereal and sweet potatoes. So far the reaction to each is the same - disbelief and disgust on the first try, reluctance and tentative rejection on the second try and an open-hearted embrace of the food, as if greeting a long lost friend with open arms, on the third try.

But sleeping has been a little iffy this week. It seems like there are phases, a week or two where she sleeps like a champ, followed by a few nights where something is up. I wondered if it was the new food, this past week. Yesterday a sniffly nose and slight cough heralded what is probably the beginning of a cold.

Last night we knew we were playing with fire. We had an amazing dinner with friends - homemade ribs, some sort of orange soaked pound cake with chocolate ganache oh my! - and stayed out significantly past bedtime. The price for this, which is at times worth paying, is a much tougher bedtime. Baby girl ends up being almost too tired to go to sleep. Last night Andrew was a champ, and baby whispered her to sleep. We followed shortly after.

We're not sure exactly what happened next, but judging from the clues (one shredded paper grocery bag, two thoroughly traumatized cats) one cat decided to hide in a paper bag. At which point the other cat decided to attack the suspiciously twitching bag and the bagged cat chose to flee with the non-bagged cat in hot pursuit. This was quite loud, and unexpectedly prolonged. Bagged cat apparently made it all the way from the living room into our bedroom, circled the bed, may or may not have landed at one point in the co-sleeper and ended up back in the living room. He may or may not have run into multiple walls. All this while wearing the bag and being pursued (or, possibly appearing to pursue) the kitty not in the bag.

So, that ended all pretense of usual sleeping arrangements for the night. I think this is the first time I've seen my daughter frightened (I was frightened too, while it was happening!) and she let us have it for a good 20-30 minutes before we all fell asleep in an exhausted A+A+J pile on the big bed. And by "asleep" I mean Andrew and Jubilee slept while I dozed between getting kicked in the gut and petted/hair pulled by my otherwise sound asleep little angel. Attempts to return her to the co-sleeper were apparently bag-incident-flashback inducing and quickly abandoned.

So it was a frustrating night, followed by a tired and cranky-baby morning.

Still, it goes without saying, but I wouldn't trade this cranky-baby morning for one of those sleeping-in Saturdays of yore. I am grateful for all the small creatures that are entrusted to our care, even the ones who panic from inside paper bags and ruin human sleep patterns for a night. J is down for morning nap early, and may wake up her usual sunny self. And there's coffee in front of me.

It's just that, sometimes, I feel a certain pressure to cherish every moment of motherhood. I think that's a common pressure for anyone who has had to work very hard to become a parent. So it's good to remind myself that it's okay to be tired, and normal to feel frustrated when carefully laid plans for a full night's sleep are sabotaged by critters or tummy aches or colds or what have you. After all, J is tired and frustrated too. And part of the deal, the joy and the less-joyful, is getting to walk this with her. But I don't have to do it all with a halo on. I can do it just as well, maybe even better, if I allow myself to acknowledge that sometimes it's hard/I'm tired/grouchy/cranky/whiny.

So there you have it. Go easy on me. I promise not to leave paper bags out anymore, lying around the house.

The culprits.


  1. You are very right--the pressure to enjoy every.single.moment is real. But it's not fair! I wish I could say "I'm tired and cranky of my tired and cranky kid" without putting a large disclaimed about how much I love him and how much he means to me. Sometimes being a parent is HARD and just plain sucks. Sometimes you want to just sleep in on a Saturday morning. And that's okay! Take your halo off--I do quite frequently ;)

  2. I'm sorry about the sleep lost, but that was SO FUNNY! I have a couple of crazy cats too, who keep us entertained and this post made me giggle. :)

  3. First, the description of the cat rampage is hilarious! But sorry that it disturbed J so much.

    As far as the halo, I totally agree & can relate to all you said. I finally became ok with taking it off. Most times are wonderful, sometimes are ok, and sometimes you just survive. And you know what, all moms are like that. Reminding myself that it's about the situation not about my baby has helped with allowing that. Also kicking the dogs out of the house for most of the day has helped too (and as it is now spring and they have a lot of land to roam, is not really a hardship for them).

  4. love the cat story!

    as far as solids...great that she's finding at least some enjoyment...after 2 months of trying tee is still mostly communicating "what are you thinking" and "there is NO way i'm eating that!"

    and get the halo thing. i've found that even thru the tough days i find a way to savor the moment. doesn't mean that it's not tough and i'm not grumpy. but this will likely be my only child which makes me cherish all the days that much more.

  5. I love this story, though yes a tired cranky baby is no fun, and that's ok too.

    one of our old dogs had a habit of getting into the cat food the minute we'd leave the house. once we came right back and she an empty bag owas stuck over her head. she was obviously freaked out, but it was just so funny we had to take a picture before relieving her. still makes me laugh, years later. but wouldn't have been so funny with a scared tired baby.

  6. Phinney's sleep seems to go in phases too - goods weeks then a bad few nights. And big changes (like teething and starting solids) always seemed to throw off his sleep for a while. And it's funny, but he always seems to somehow know when I have reached my limit with sleepless nights. Just when I think I can't do it anymore, he starts having good nights and I start thinking that maybe, just maybe a full night of sleep is within reach. Someday...

    I think it's totally ok to admit that being a mom isn't always 100% great. It's amazing, and it's also sometimes boring, gross, and exhausting. Kinda like everything else in life I guess. :)

  7. I've really been enjoying your blog, but I don't comment much. Anyway, I've tagged you in a meme:

  8. It was great to see you that evening - sorry it was so costly :( And loving your good attitude about the poor kitties. <3

  9. Thanks for this. Really. I needed it. Oh, and by the way Red Bull is pretty darn handy come late afternoon, etoo.