Friday, May 25, 2007

Why am I writing so much about tv?

Because I am in a fog, and I'm only just hanging onto my sanity. I keep reaching the end of my rope, but the thing about motherhood is that you just have to keep going. The only alternative is to run away and start a new life somewhere else far far away and I'm not about to abandon my loved ones (although I gave the idea a bit of consideration last night).

Watching tv lets me escape this very difficult reality. Plus I can do it while Swee'pea toddles around suddenly playful and happy after two hours of screaming through dinner and the bedtime routine, who we think must be really tired but who in fact sleeps for about five minutes after I get him in the crib, then refuses to go back to sleep until about 10. Watching tv is my little rebellion, my way of flipping the bird at Swee'pea Authority, my way of maintaining a teensy bit of control over my out of control child life. I know how parents become compltely overrun by their children, because apparently I am one of them. I can either spend two hours walking back and forth with 30 pounds of toddler in my arms, let him scream in the crib for two hours (we did it once this week and we lasted 20 minutes before he threw up so I'm pretty sure it would be two hours of screaming) or I can let him play till 10 at night while I watch tv and pretend no one else is in the room with me. I am not a good mother right now.

It amazes me how quickly I can go from being really happy and feeling really good about myself to near total despair and feeling trapped in misery. I suspect that an hour or two in the evenings really makes all the difference, that my entire huge and messy life is balanced on that tiny precious hour. It's like that hour is the unicycle wheel under the stuntman's ass that is me, with all my life piled on his head, and either end of his balancing bar, crazy impossible piles that can't possibly stay aloft, but somehow they mostly do. And as long as everything's rolling along tickety-boo, I'm on top of the world, I'm high. Then one small misstep and it all comes tumbling down. And I'm reminded that I am an ass.

I saw on the news the other day that Brad Pitt says that more kids are on the way for him and Angelina, that having kids is the hardest thing they've ever done and the most fun they've ever had. At which I turned to Sugar D and suggested that I would revise that statement to read not fun but joy. But this bad patch right now has very little, almost no, joy to offset the hard.

I keep trying to tell myself Bubandpie's idea that now is when I'm being a really good mother, but I'm not buying it. I'm freaking out. I am not being the mother I want to be. Something really has to change. I need more space, both physical and emotional.

It's more of the same as we went through a week or two ago, I can't remember exactly how long. Screaming child who must be in contact with me constantly, who screams and instead of sleeping thrashes around and clunks his heavy head onto my chest over and over again. Oh -- and with a feverish sick and grumpy husband added in. But I am trying to hold myself back from writing yet another whiney angsty post.

Here is my attempt at injecting humour into the whine: last night after Swee'pea woke up after 10 minutes (I am not exaggerating, I looked at the clock), he went to the bookshelf and started pulling off books and looking through them. The book that absorbed his first? The No Cry Sleep Solution. I would have taken a picture but I couldn't be arsed.

And more irony this morning: me reading it with Swee'pea sleeping in my arms, too exhausted to actually take anything in. Besides, I tried it last summer with no success.

I am having a hard time believing that this hard stuff will actually pass. So I'm putting myself on notice and preaching stillness to myself. I will wait for a week to pass before we make big decisions to try any more sleep training. Things were really good just a month or three weeks ago, without any drastic action on our part. Please please please let us have our evening hours back. Please please please let me be able to sleep without perching on the edge of the bed with constant scrabbling hands at my belly and chest all night long. In the meantime, I will just keep holding on, finding (with some dismay) that my rope actually has another inch.


banana said...

Hang in there - you are doing a good job. Maybe it is time to think about next steps, but you are right to put it off until you are ready.
Can you get a couple extra hours from your caregiver to give you some rest (or at least peace) for a bit? The fact that you keep finding more rope DOES make you a good mom.
Hoping these words of encouragement help a bit - I am sure better times are around the bend...

Bon said...

i hope, i hope, i hope the peace comes soon. because the moments you're talking about, when you just need more space, need it not to be like it is...i know.

and i'm sorry you're there. and we'll be here, for what it's worth.

Christine said...

Doesn't the whole sleep thing just drive you nuts!??! I just left my hot, sweaty son screaming because nothing i will do can convince him he needs his nap, which, of course, he desperately does. i need it really, i need to blog and doze and watch Dr. Phil. I really get it. Hang in there.

Karen said...

Those evening hours are like gold to me. Hang in there, then do what you have to when you've got a plan you think will work to give those hours back to you. He slept before, he'll sleep again. TV is like brain bubble gum, sometimes you just need to have it there to buffer what's happening. In the witching hour of 5-6, I will often put on a cooking show with no objectionable content, just something to remove the focus from: dad's not home, mom's tired and busy, we're all cranky. Most cooking shows have slow paced narration, maybe that's why it works.

kgirl said...

You are doing great. Swee'pea will eventually feel right again - could be teething, could be a growth spurt, could be night-terrors, could just be that he loves you so much he doesn't ever want to be away from you ;)

Until then, why fight it? So he sits on the couch until 10 a few nights. If it's a break you need (and of course you do), you'll get more of one that way then fighting with a baby for two hours.

bubandpie said...

I am, like, locked in at three hours an evening of down time. If I have to go out for some errand and thus begin my down time late, I find myself unable to go to bed (no matter how tired I am) until midnight. I must sit and veg for 3 hours, one way or the other. So, yeah, if that means watching TV while you're toddler reads the No Cry Sleep Solution, you're entitled.

metro mama said...

Oh I hope this passes soon. I know what you mean--I'm bitter when I don't get my down time.

Kyla said...

Okay, Sin? You are doing a good job. You are.

You know, BubTar has always been a disciplined-go-to-bed-at-bedtime child. KayTar is NOT always that child. We put her in bed and some night she goes right to sleep. But some night, she cries and cries and we know if we don't let her out, she will vomit and then she will be up a minimum of 3 more we have to rebathe her and change her sheets and do laundry. And so we DO give in. We let her get up play for a while. And later, when she is ready, we put her back to bed without a hitch. I know some parents would think "You let your 2 year old stay up until 11:30 some nights? How awful!" but it works for us, and it is what we have to do. While she plays happily, we enjoy some adult time...generally watching TV. She toddles back and forth between us and her room, happy as a clam. And then she goes to sleep when she is ready. We aren't spoiling her, she doesn't put up a fuss every night trying to make us cave, she does it because she genuinely is not ready to sleep some nights.

So what I'm saying is, don't judge yourself by someone else's standards who has a totally different kid. If you want to veg out on the sofa while Swee'Pea reads or plays happily, DO IT! You both need it. Choose your battles, and if Swee'Pea suddenly started sleeping better for you a while back, trust that it will happen again. For some reason it isn't happening right now and you can't force it, so just cope how you can. Watch some LOST and let Swee'Pea read about how to sleep train himself. It will be time well spent for both of us.

Mouse said...

I know it's been said, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with your current compromise. Hopefully things will return to the good pattern you had going, but in the meantime it's so important to do something to maintain your sanity, even if it's just the very edge of sanity.

Mad Hatter said...

Holy shit, Sin, you are definitely entitled. I hope my comment on your last post didn't hit a nerve. I didn't mean for it to.

Here, let me say this. Last year at this time was one of the hardest patches with Miss M. I didn't think the sleep would EVER get better. Her clinginess peaked at 18 months. I thought I would go insane. I drank far too much in the evening just to uncoil. I was a wreck of caffiene, sugar, salt and booze. And Miss M watched her fair share of Idol and Dance episodes.

Things are better now. I may not get to watch TV but that's b/c the bedtime routine is predictable, though long. And when sleep does come, it stays. Oh Sin, I know you don't need to hear that it will get better so I won't say it. Know, though, that I was there. Hey, remember when you first found my blog? Detachment parenting? Now I am sending every positive vibe back your way through the ether.

Aliki2006 said...

I tried the No Cry Sleep Solution with Tessa because I thought I would have to be committed to an institution, I was so tired and at the end of my rope with her. Anyway, it was pretty much useless. One thing we did learn with two kids who just wouldn't sleep was that those books just don't work, they really don't. Ultimately you have to do what works and if that means watching TV while Sweet'Pea plays then there is nothing wrong with that.

I'm sorry to keep saying that it will get better--I know how annoying that phrase is when things are so NOT good. But they will--the fact that you did have that good patch with him shows that he is capable of sleeping well, just not right at this moment.

jen said...

honey, i remember when M was SP's age and i thought it was never going to get better. she was great, but i just couldn't figure it out.

and then it did. a while later, it magically did. i promise you. i promise you. i promise you.

but i'd never have believed it back then. never. it's the meantime that is hard.

but i promise you.

ewe are here said...

I have no advice for you re the sleeping problems you're dealing with... just a 'please hang in there' thought coming your way.

Mimi said...

Oh, oh, oh, oh. I know exactly how you feel. This crazy careening between on top of the world and completely despairing, this rage and withdrawal and survival-mode and self-loathing.

You're a good mom. What a crappy situation. Just get through it, and then decide what sleep training, if any, you want to try.

Those hours are so so important to me too. I know just how you feel. I'm so sorry.

Marge said...

I have eight kids and each one has been different with their sleeping. I've NEVER had one that sleeps through the night. My first stayed up late, and still does at age 16. She's just wired to be a night owl.
Hang in there. I know the feeling of being on top of the world and a "perfect mother" and then feeling like you're falling off of a cliff.
Just keep on keeping on.