This morning as I began my laundry regimen, my eye caught sight of this little onesie on one of our drying racks. It’s cute, with little animals on it. I remembered for a moment, Ila in that particular outfit. She was so fat and sweet in it. Onesies, in general, are pretty adorable. It’s funny, because once you’re out of infanthood, a body suit that snaps at the crotch just doesn’t seem particularly cute or practical. Anyway, it just got me thinking about Ila’s cute fat baby thighs and arms poking out of her baby clothes…and how I have two cute, fat little babies now. And how baby clothes are so precious and mini. It was a real mushy-gushy mama moment. But, really, babies are so lovely. So cute and sweet and roly-poly and smiley. The twins are cooing, gurgling, squealing, laughing, happily grabbing things. They really focus on an object and pull their arms slowly – as if they were moving through pudding or are a barely rehabilitated stroke victim – toward the toy. Then, they bring their toy toward their mouth while bringing their head toward the toy. They look like little potato bugs, roly-polies.
They are adorable…and a total pain in the ass. Yeah, that was my next thought in all its maternal glory. So much for warm fuzzies. Look, if I could get a real night of sleep maybe I wouldn’t be Dr. Sweet Loving one moment and Mama Hyde the next. I’m just saying, exhaustion isn’t good for the mood. We had about 7, maybe 8 weeks of glorious night routines. The vast majority of nights the babies were only waking up once each to nurse. That’s just two times to wake up in a night. Glory! Hallelujah! I could simply have them next to me and nurse them lying down. Ila was really the most unpredictable with her occasional toddler nightmares or middle of the night bathroom needs or the agony of her 20 requirements before she can fall asleep. But, even Ila, most nights was pretty cool.
Well, apparently they are a union, a united front, a voting block. A little over a week ago, there was obviously a consensus that sleepy times were over. The babies started waking up each at least 2 times a night. Ila got a cold and consequently, had several middle of the night fits of sadness, discomfort and other loud, stormy emotions that, of course, woke up the babies. Every morning for the last week, I have woken up amazed that I’m not dead. Just done in by sheer fatigue. But, then I remember, people don’t die of this. Tiredness. It’s makes life a little less livable, but it doesn’t kill you. On the other hand, people do get sick more easily when not getting enough sleep. Then some of these folks probably do die from nasty secondary infections that their bodies can’t combat because they have two infants and a toddler staging a coup every night. When it comes to babies, everyone, including myself, says the game is changing constantly. Okay. So I know this. However, I clearly didn’t really believe it with whatever faculty allows you to believe in something deeply enough to act on it…because, well, because I was shocked and upset that the game changed. I liked it so much more when they slept, you know, for more than a few hours at a time. Here’s to the game changing again to something I like better.
It’s not fair because she’s three and sick right now, but I think I may be the most grrrrrr-ed about Ila’s current sleeping habits, which include a screaming fit most nights. We were doing this preemptive bed time snack to prevent the “I’m hungry” dance after lights were out. Well, it has been working pretty well, but now she realized she can say no to the snack and then ask for food later. It took us a day or two to reformulate our strategy. No snacks after lights out except a glass of milk. And she has to wait in bed for us to bring it to her. Is this too controlling? Too making a mountain out of a molehill? Is this a battle that I shouldn’t choose? I feel like a seething, fiery demon, only capable of draconian, unevolved parenting when I am exhausted and dealing with her stall tactics at 9:30 or 10 PM. So, we’ll try this.
It’s amazing how these things that seem so small, so unimportant during the day become pivotal at night. And, yes, I get it. A need for attention, for contact, for focus from me is probably behind all this screaming and hollering she’s doing. I am trying to give this to her too…but, and I would also like to believe this with that faculty that allows you to believe things and act on them, sometimes I just suck as a parent.
Sometimes I do. Sometimes I can’t be the perfect parent I can imagine and construct in my mind. I know that I’m human, that I have faults, challenges, insecurities, fears. But, I can imagine not having them. I can imagine, in almost all situations, what the mature, kind, compassionate thing to do is. Really, even in the middle of a rage, I know what I should do or so. I just can’t. I can’t always do it. Okay, to be fair, I don’t want to be mature sometimes. Sometimes I want to be a whiny, selfish, grumpy, rigid, unforgiving, know it all, bossy, angry, grudge-y person. The downside is that I can see all the errors I make pretty much while I’m making them. Maybe we all can. And, as a parent, the stakes are just so much higher. It feels so much more unforgivable that I can’t whip myself into shape and be…perfect. Or, and this is better I’m sure, just accept that I’m human and accept that I’m not perfect and model this warm, gushy glowing self-acceptance to my children. One of the best things children can learn is how to make mistakes, to not be perfect. Come to think of it, it’d be a lot better for me too.