I feel really bad writing this; I mean, the poor kid is still suffering the effects of his illness (apparently NOT an ear infection but something viral that is now causing a rash all over his body, which I THOUGHT was a reaction to the antiobiotic -- not only unnecessary but way stronger than would have been necessary if he HAD had an ear infection and the worst one for antiobiotic resistance -- but that's a whole other post) or at the very least the effects of really bad sleep for several days and nights caused by the illness (bad sleep, which, it needs to be said, I am also suffering from), BUT.
Swee'pea is really getting on my tits, literally and figuratively.
Since he's been sick, he's started putting his hands down my shirt and just holding onto my boob. Or lifting up my shirt and rubbing. It started with my belly before he got sick, which I thought was kinda cute, except that he started scratching me and poking me quite hard. But I guess with the closure of the all-night breastaurant, now he figures he'll just hold onto them instead of nursing, whether during the day or night. It feels like he's of the mind that he is just making use of what is rightfully his.
And I don't particularly like that attitude. On the one hand, I know he needs more comfort than usual since he's feeling so rotten, but on the other, I AM GOING CRAZY.
It appears that the doughy contours of my upper body are his blankie... and he can't get enough right now. He screams bloody murder if I go to the bathroom. He screams if his daddy tries to get him to sleep. If he's having a cuddle with me (and when has he not in the last several days?) and Sugar Daddy approaches, he shrinks away as if about to be struck. He screams if, having gotten him to sleep, I try to put him in his crib, then it takes another hour or two to realize that he will not fall asleep anywhere but in our bed. The other night when we finally exhausted ourselves and retired to bed at 9:30, Swee'pea's smile illuminated the space above the stairs and into the upstairs hallway, and we couldn't help but concede victory to his greater stamina. It does not feel good to be so defeated by one who has been on this earth for such a relatively short time.
Once we go to bed, the nights are hell. It's actually gotten worse since Swee'pea's fever broke early Sunday morning. Before he writhed and grunted and woke up a lot, always having to have his head on my chest or my shoulder. Now he just screams continuously for several minutes (like 10 at least) every time he wakes up. Last night was a slight improvement: he only woke up twice, although he screamed and screamed and screamed, and I just laid there with him on top of me, trying not to scream myself or thrust him harshly away from me onto the mattress. Nothing we could do would comfort him.
But the night before was way way worse. He screamed like that just about every hour or two all night long. He's been screaming inconsolably so much that I'm starting to become immune. I can't do anything to fix it, so I've stopped trying.
We adults are not doing well with this arrangement. Not only have we lost that precious evening time that replenished our resources so successfully every day, but Sugar Daddy is dealing with almost constant and loud rejection, being treated like some kind of abuser, and I am dealing with having to do absolutely everything with a 30-pound toddler in my arms who may or may not be screaming in my ear. Right now he is sleeping on my lap while I type this... it's the closest I'll get to a break, so I'm making full use of it.
Well, ok, I got a bit of a break yesterday when I went to work and put him in daycare. I felt badly, because I knew even though he was over the worst of it, he was still really tired and probably a little under the weather. But here's what I felt the worst about: the main reason I did it was because I didn't want to be with him by myself. Yes, I don't really have any sick days left to take and yes I had meetings in the afternoon to attend, but mostly, I didn't want to be with my son.
Friday, one of my normal days off, was awful. The morning was fine, we went downtown and got some stuff for Sugar Daddy's birthday. But when we got home, I expected him to go down for a nap like always and then I would eat my lunch. He wouldn't go down in the crib. It's really bad if that happens when I'm hungry. And I was hungry. We got through it and he woke up and I ate and he melted down while I ate but I finished my lunch and then he slept, although not as much as he needed. And it was because of that awful moment of feeling trapped, having to choose between his needs and mine, that I really didn't want to be with him yesterday.
Oh God. I just know I'm gonna get my first troll for this. Just when I really couldn't handle it. (To the trolls: he was fine at daycare, not himself but still lovely as usual as his daycare provider said. Of course, as soon as we got home, he had the biggest meltdown ever, screaming and screaming and screaming, until finally he settled down and we ate some cheese.)
I really feel like a bad mother. When I feel good, I don't need any reassurance... I don't really need the community of the blogosphere, so I don't bother blogging about those times... but at times like these, when I feel like it would be cruel to bring another child into this family where the mother cannot cope with all the demands, where the mother regularly wants and needs her own space and goes crazy if she doesn't get even a little bit... this is when I need some support, some reassurance that I'm not THAT bad. Am I?
It's not just that I have no personal or mental space; I'm also convinced that he will never sleep in his crib again, that we will never again enjoy two hours in the evening to recharge, that we are right back where we were a couple of months ago, only now we know exactly what sweetness we're missing. Sugar Daddy tries to tell me that it'll probably improve when he's feeling better, but I'm not buying it. I find myself crying in self-pity, wondering, "Why me? Why don't we get to enjoy the rest that parents of independent-sleeping babies have?"
I know rationally, this self-pity is absurd. This is no tragedy. Our child is experiencing a normal, relatively mild illness; he is generally well. We are all well. We are lucky. We have enough to eat and a roof over our heads and lots of good things in our lives. Things could be so much worse.
But I am not capable of much rational thought. And last night I remembered that people die without enough sleep.
I try to regain some perspective and count my blessings. And that's when I really start to worry about my ability as a mother. If I can't ride out this small storm, how will I manage the really big stuff? I've always figured myself a coper, generally resilient with a positive outlook on life and how I can handle its bumps and falls. But this motherhood gig has really shaken that perception.
I still love Swee'pea dearly, I still have moments when I stroke his hair, or his neck or cheek and feel overwhelmed with love. I still feel a thrill when he wraps his hand around my finger, once in a while. But if I try to extricate myself, he starts to feel like an octopus, always more tentacles than I have ways of removing them, and I feel claustrophobic and intensely hopeless. I am so not coping.
Weekend Reading: The Trying to Rally Edition
2 days ago