Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Good Parts

Suzannah is having a rough time so I thought I would write a post just for her. Head over and give her some encouragement if you can.

A months or so after Megan was born, Charlie, who had never slept well, hit a massive sleep hiccup for the next several months. It involved at least a couple of epic sleep battles every night. He often would cleverly time them to coincide with the point that Megan finally consented to sleep for a stretch. Megan didn't quite have a colic but was quite vocal most of the day and then would cry, with short breaks for nursing and napping, from about 5:30-9:30 every night until she was around 4 months old. For the first 2 months or so, we were blessed with 4-6 hour stretch from her but as she developed more social awareness and more awareness in general, sleep became less desirable and wakings became more frequent. Charlie also started this moaning thing where he would just make this low level, whiny moan for 45 minutes to an hour when subjected to such indignities such as needing to put on shoes before going outside or having his nose wiped. It would make you want to chop off your ears. Charlie started trying to drop his nap at birth but really put a push behind it a couple of months before Megan was born. After she was born, I generally managed to get him down around the time Megan woke from her nap. When she was around 4 months old, I gave up and he dropped it entirely with the expected behavioral "changes." I cried a lot those first 3 months. It wasn't really PPD so much as the overwhelming knowledge that you did this to yourself. You CHOSE it. I was tired, I looked awful, the house was falling apart. And then, it got a touch worse when Megan started sleeping for shorter stretches and the academic year really got in gear for my husband who could no longer offer the level of support he had been. There was no rhythm to my life, I was struggling through every day and then it started to ease.

Megan started going longer between nursings. I stopped fighting the sleep battles with Charlie. I was ok with just winning the war instead- if he would sleep through the night, I would muddle through the day. Megan stopped crying ALL THE TIME. Megan discovered the wonderful world of carbohydrates. Charlie started going to Mother's Day Out. I discovered the wonder that is the Sprout TV network. The endless summer ended and our activities started up again (spring is a beautiful time to have a baby but perhaps it's not great if all your social supports are getting ready to go on hiatus just as you need them most). It all started to get a little better and then the good parts started happening.

When Megan would cry in the car, Charlie would make "shhh" noises for her and tell her it was ok.

Charlie and Megan would reach out between the car seats and hold hands.

When Megan got baptised at around 9 months, Charlie reached out and stroked her wet head.

About 3 or 4 months ago, the really great stuff started.

Megan learned how to spell "Charlie" because she adores repeating everything he says.

Charlie and Megan climbed in a box and had a picnic. When I tried to ask Charlie what he was doing, I was told that he was "busy talking to Megan."

When Megan drops her placemat (which totally doesn't fit on her high chair tray), Charlie picks it up for her and tells her it's ok.

Charlie "reads" Megan books.

Megan insists on wearing all of Charlie's old pajamas instead of the ones I made just for her just because they used to be Charlie's.

They have tea parties together in their play house.

They hug.

They kiss.

They tickle.

They chase.

They tuck one another in and pat each other's backs at "rest time."

They play a very energetic version of ring around the rosie.

They make meals for one another in their kitchen and occasionally mange to build "big, huge towers" together.

Charlie watches out for Megan and tries to keep her from hurting herself.

And, really, there's a lot less fighting than I ever expected.

Give it 12 months and it really will get great. You really didn't make a horrible mistake.

1 comment:

suzannah said...

you are amazing. thank you for a vision of brightness:)

dylan was a nightmare sleeper for her first 18 months, but thank God she got in gear before james was born. i can't imagine fighting a two-front sleep war! (although, dylan seems to be deciding that maybe taking an afternoon nap just isn't "her" anymore...boooooo.) we decided it wasn't worth doing battle with james, so he's in our bed now, where we all sleep blessedly well. i'd like to get him out, but i dread the battles!

people loved your honest comments--i got responses on my facebook page too. why don't more mom seems to admit how hard it can be?

thanks so much for sharing your perspective and encouragement:)