Saturday, February 05, 2011

Down. But Not Defeated.

Today whupped me, simple as that.

The trouble really started in the middle of the night last night. Petunia, whose sleep has been screwed up because of a string of colds, had been sleeping better this week. Thursday night, she slept from 10:30 through until 4:30 without waking up. Sure, that was in our bed, but I didn't care. That was 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep for me!

But last night, our luck turned. Petunia woke up at about 11, and I brought her into bed and nursed her like usual. She went down again, but was restless. She woke up at 1, and all hell broke loose. She screamed. She tossed and turned. We tried rocking her. We tried watching TV with her. She was clearly exhausted. So were we. But she just couldn't settle in and go back to sleep. Finally, I sent Hubby out to sleep on the sofa so that one parent would be semi-coherent in the morning, and I settled in for a rough night. At about 3:30, I got her to stop screaming and snuggle to sleep- but only if I held her against my chest while I sat upright. If I laid down, the screaming started again. And of course, I had to keep trying that because when you're that tired your rational brain shuts off and you can easily convince yourself that this time will be different. At about 5:30, she nursed again and let me lie down with her. She slept fitfully until almost 7, as long as I kept her head on my arm.

I blamed the lingering congestion from her cold and the snot that always comes when she teethes. (She's getting at least one canine in right now.) Hubby pointed out that the congestion was not new, and suspected that she needed to poop. Annoyingly, it turns out he was probably right. She woke up cranky and stayed cranky until she filled (and I do mean filled) her diaper. Then she was happy as can be.

Which was good, because we had a birthday party to go to! We all piled into the car for a morning party at an indoor jumpy place. The girls both had a lot of fun, until it was time to go and Pumpkin wanted to hold the bucket of party favors she'd received in her right hand, but Hubby wanted to hold that hand while they crossed the parking lot. He either didn't understand her or didn't think it should matter, and got mad at her for refusing to hold his hand while we crossed the parking lot. I had my hands full with Petunia, who was insisting on walking across the parking lot, too, so I could only watch from several paces behind them as Pumpkin melted down and Hubby got stubborn and we were fated to listen to a screaming preschooler for the entire ride home.

Hubby can be wonderful with Pumpkin, and talk her around when she stubbornly wants something insane. But he can also get mad at Pumpkin's irrational behavior sometimes, and dig his heels in and just start saying "no" to everything she wants. And given the poor sleep we'd had, I guess it is no surprise that he did the latter today. Somehow, despite her proximity to her sister's fire alarm like wailing, Petunia fell asleep in the car on the way home. I carried her in to her room to put her down in her crib to finish her nap. That took about 10 minutes. By the time I came out, Pumpkin was wailing again because Hubby wouldn't give her the favor bucket (he said her behavior was too bad) and was saying she couldn't watch Cinderella because she needed to eat lunch- she had refused to eat the pizza served at the party, so we were making her a quesadilla.

By this time, I was sick of listening to Pumpkin wail. I'd had a grand total of 3.5 hours of sleep the previous night- from 11-1 and from 5:30 - 7, and that last 1.5 hours were pretty poor sleep since I had to hold Petunia for all of it. I was pretty sure that if I had to listen to Pumpkin's continuing meltdown for another five minutes my brain would leak out of my ears. So I decided that we could have a picnic on the floor and watch Cinderella while we ate lunch. Hubby glared at me, but then Petunia woke up from her nap and he took the opportunity to go try to nap with her. And most importantly, Pumpkin actually ate her quesadilla and some snapea crisps, and her mood improved greatly. She is like me- if she gets hungry, she gets cranky and irrational. Hubby knows this, but for some reason, while he can recognize the symptoms in me and calmly suggest that I eat a cracker or two, he has a hard time differentiating between hunger-induced craziness and your run of the mill preschooler craziness, and doesn't usually realize why things with Pumpkin are spiraling out of control.

Unfortunately, Petunia would not go back down, so I brought her out to watch Cinderella (really: walk up and down the hall with her sister's baby stroller while we watched Cinderella) and let Hubby nap. The deal was that when it was time for Pumpkin's nap, I'd nap with her and he'd wake up and take Petunia. So we each got a nap, and the day improved... for awhile.

Hubby is supposed to cook dinner on the weekends, since I cook all week. But he doesn't plan ahead very well, preferring to just wing it on the day (this drives me bonkers, but marriage is about compromises, right?) He never got a chance to figure out a dinner plan, so I ended up making the applesauce-oatmeal pancakes that Pumpkin likes for dinner.

Or I should say, the applesauce-oatmeal pancakes that Pumpkin liked, because she took one bite of her pancake and declared that she doesn't like them anymore, and never will again. At which point, I realized that the day had whupped me.

I am now waiting for Pumpkin to stop calling me back in to her room to flip her pillow over (she apparently prefers a cold pillow) or to give her ideas of nice things she can dream about to chase away the bad dreams. And then I am going to bed, where I will chant my mantra about how I take a long term view on eating habits and how all babies sleep eventually.

And tomorrow, I'll get up and try again. Because in parenting, you always get to pick yourself up off the mat and go in for another round.


  1. Wow! That sounds like a super tiring day. I hope you managed to get a decent sleep at night!

  2. That is a rough day! I feel for you, my friend. And I've totally been there myself. It's so hard to do your best parenting when you are on so little sleep.

    And I think the picnic while watching Cinderella was brilliant!

  3. I empathize with your husband - sometimes I find myself just digging in my heels with the "No" even though I know we are getting into a downward spiral. Usually it can be blamed on fatigue - sometimes I am just so tired that I can't find the right approach and I don't want to be a playful parent, dammit! I just want you to do what I say AND NOW. Sigh.

  4. Thanks, everyone!

    @Jac- I empathize with my husband on the downward spiral, too. I guess I sort of implied that I don't do the same thing, which is crap. Of course I do. Particularly if I'm hungry, too!

  5. Oh that sounds horrible! My husband does the exact same thing sometimes - usually so responsive and understanding, and then just digging in his heels and insisting that he be the one to "win" this round. I'm sure I do it too.

    Good luck. Tomorrow is a whole new day, and the next full night of sleep you get is going to feel totally awesome.

  6. Oh Cloud - that is a tough day! I'm hoping for a better night for you tonight. Heidi is having one of her random nap strikes at the moment and taking ages to get to sleep at night. I made delicious (I thought so) little chicken and veg bites for her dinner this arvo (Australian colloquialism) which she refused to touch. Sigh! I didn't get a chance to thank you for the detailed post on food - it was fascinating! Before I had a baby I thought sleep and eating were just biological necessities so how hard could they be for a little human who wan't old enough to have hang up about either? Can you believe my naivete?!

  7. Glad you all made it through. I think the part about your husband's frustration and your decision to have the cinderella picnic really shows what a good parenting team you guys are. Even if it doesn't feel like it in the moment.


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