Saturday, May 28, 2011

the new normal

I have not had a full night's sleep since I was probably about 4 months pregnant. Considering that the owlet is almost 9 months old, this mean that I have not had a full night's sleep in over a year. A friggin year.

I have decided that normal people cannot say that they are "exhausted" because they do not know the meaning of the word. Sorry, college student co-worker, your staying up too late one night watching a movie does not give you the right to complain about how tired you are. Because you have no. idea. how tired I am.

But that's just the thing. I am so tired, that I don't know anything else. I don't know what its like anymore to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and well rested. I don't know that I will ever again know what that is like, to be honest.

And yes, I nap when he naps, when I'm home with him. When I'm at work, however, I can't really nap, can I?

It's sort of amazing what you get used to when it's all you know. It's like when I worked with kiddos in therapy. They got so used to things being the way that they were, they didn't know they could be any other way. That doesn't make sense, does it? Who cares, I'm too tired.

The funny thing is, despite my extreme exhaustion, I don't go to bed at 7:00 when the owlet does. Not anymore, anyway. I did, for a couple months. But I was almost more frustrated when he woke up after just a couple hours. Now I go to bed a little later and somehow am less frustrated, even though I've only gotten about an hour of sleep.

Despite my extreme never ending exhaustion being my new normal, I'd really like to get back to what other people get to experience. I'd like to only be woken up once a night, and then only briefly. I'd rather not continue this trend of waking up 5 or 6 times a night anymore.

Otherwise the owlet's normal is going to be a very frustrated and snarky mommy, with bags under her eyes big enough to carry enough for a month long trip to Europe.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Saying good-bye

Today was the last day of school at the school in which I have worked for the last 4 years. It is not my last day, though, not yet. That day comes in exactly one week.

I think because I have been so stressed about having two jobs and trying to finish up this job as quickly as possible, I have not given space to the fact that I am actually. leaving. this. job.

A job I have at once loved and hated, loathed and despised, felt good at and horrible at.

A job I have been comfortable with and completely out of my comfort zone with.

A job where, when I sit and really look carefully, I have been able to make a difference in a lot of kids lives. I have seen kids grow and change, and make positive changes in their lives, in spite of their sometimes terrible parents or home situations.

A job that maybe, someday, I will return to, just hopefully in a slightly different capacity.

I have always loved helping people. When it was time for me to go out and find a new job (in my mom's opinion, anyway. I would have been more than happy lounging around the house doing nothing for another summer, but whatevs.) I decided to go and be a candy striper at the hospital. "Not really the kind of job I was talking about, darling daughter," she said to me. Except maybe without the darling daughter part.

It's just always been in my nature to help others. And I really do think that in this job, I did help others. But sometimes, and especially recently, it just. got. too. damn. hard.

Partly because I'm now a mom, and I couldn't listen to kids tell me stories about how terrible they had it, because it made me want to get up and leave and run home to my owlet and tell him that he would never have it the way that these kids have it.

And also because I wanted to spend more time with the owlet. You might remember many a post where I wailed about working full time and wanting to spend more time with him. I think there was a post or two about it. heh.

There may have also been a post or two about how burnt out I was, and that was a large part too of why it got to be too hard. But really it was all those things rolled into one.

And now, I got my wish. I found a job where I can work part time, and get to spend more time with the owlet. It doesn't pay well, but right now I don't really care that much. I'm just hoping for the best, and that things will work out.

And that I will win the lottery.

In the meantime, I'll miss the kids I worked with. The sounds of screaming and laughter coming from the cafeteria. The faces of the teachers and the staff, the camaraderie of my fellow school based therapists. I won't miss the long hours, the never ending paperwork, and the trying to please too many different systems, however.

Now I get to focus on my little owlet. And winning the lottery.

Monday, May 23, 2011

the shortest fuse

Apparently I do not do well on no sleep. As you might have seen from my earlier post, I become snarky and sarcastic. A Gilmore Girls fan may call me snarkastic. This might get a brief chuckle from me, however, I will almost immediately go back to wanting to smack people with sandwiches.

Correction, I will go back to wanting to smack my husband with a sandwich.

Seems like no matter what he says, the hubs is getting the brunt of the short fuse-ness that I've got going on right now.

"How did I beat you home?" turns into me wanting to cry and yell at him. (Wait, wanting to? That's a stretch. I did practically cry and I certainly yelled: "because I have to carry in 60 pounds of stuff between all these bags and the owlet in his car seat!" Or something along those lines.)

This is one of the many ridiculous things that have sent me into a tizzy today. The owlet not going to sleep fast enough. The fact that I have to wash his bowls out and my pump parts. Not having enough time in the day to get everything done that needs to get done.

I think on top of not getting enough sleep is the fact that the owlet is either teething or sick or both. And I feel utterly helpless about this, because if he's NOT teething than I don't want to give him something for teething pain.

And if he IS teething, then I officially hate teething, because it sucks.

Also, I am totally stressed out about finishing my job in less than 2 weeks. I am completely behind and beginning to worry that I made a huge mistake in taking a lesser paying, lesser hours job.

And, to top it off, I can't talk to the hubs about it because he sleeps in the evening before he has go to work, which means that: a) I get stressed thinking about ANOTHER sleepless night, up a trillion times with the owlet and b) I get stressed because I don't want him to work nights anymore so that I don't have to do this by myself anymore but I can't very well tell him to go back to working days when I just took a lesser paying job. (see above.)

So, this whole wanting to slap people with sandwiches sort of makes sense.

Now, where'd I put that glass of wine?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

hitting the wall

I started reading a new book last night called "Bedtiming." Its about using sleep training strategies at the right developmental time period so that its most effective and least frustrating.

Apparently 8-11 months is one of the worst times to try any sleep training strategies, due to the peak in separation anxiety. AWESOME.

Anyway, as with most parenting books, this book had stories from moms who had struggled with whatever issue, in this case, the lack of sleep. One of the stories was from a mom who had a 9 month old who, like the owlet, would not sleep through the night, despite her best efforts. She found herself growing increasingly snappy and frustrated and found herself beginning to resent her wonderful little baby. She realized one night as she was about to scream "just go to sleep!" that she had "hit the wall" as they say.

Friends, I could have written this exact. same. thing.

We had 3 amazing nights of waking up only once. Since then its been another major backslide. Waking up 4 times a night, sometimes being up for over an hour at each time. And the other night, I almost lost it. I almost yelled. I definitely cried. I squeezed my legs to stop myself from kicking the wall or screaming my head off.

Ii have become snarkier than usual, more sarcastic.

I have no short term memory left. I cannot remember people's names at my new job. Client's stories at my other job blend together, and I don't remember who I told what. My to do list sits unfinished everyday.

And, according to this "bedtiming" book, there is no relief in site, at least not for another 2 and a half months.

Umm. what?

There is only so much wine in the world.

Although, as the book says, "if you've made it this long, what's another couple months?"

And I guess they're right.

But in the meantime i apologize for the extra snark. I probably haven't had my glass of wine yet.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

new mommy rituals

I am not a "ritual" person. Not really. I should be. I went to Naropa, after all. Ultimate home of rituals. But I'm not. Although, I am realizing that I am becoming the type of person that needs to do things at a certain time of day, everyday. It helps the owlet go to bed, for one thing, if we have our nightly ritual of bath time, story time, nursing time, rocking time and crib time.

After he goes to bed, however, I now have my own set of rituals.
1. Finish the glass of wine that I started to have at dinner. Perhaps pour myself a little bit more.
2. Wash the bottles, pump parts and bowls. (This is my least favorite part of the nightly routine.)
3. Eat cookies while checking up on facebook, law-momma and rants from mommyland.
4. Get sucked into some cheesy movie or long time fav (tonight it's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)
5. Become totally exhausted by 8:30
6. Head to bed, determined to read for longer than 20 minutes, but end up getting too tired to get in more than 10.
7. Cross my fingers that the owlet sleeps for longer than another hour so that I can get some much needed sleep.

Are these rituals, or is this just routine? Are they the same thing? I honestly have no idea. It was a ritual that we "bowed out" at the end of every class and meeting at Naropa, and because it was a ritual, it also became routine, in that when I graduated and started a job, I wondered why we still didn't bow out of everything.

I guess it doesn't really matter, so long as I still get my nightly glass of wine.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

my eyes are up here

There's a phenomenon going on that needs to be brought to attention.

For some reason, whenever I mention pumping or breastfeeding, who ever I am talking to immediately glances to my chest. And I mean who ever. Men, women, it doesn't matter.

Do they think my boobs are going to start leaking right then and there? Do they think I am going to start PUMPING in front of them? Are they checking to see if the owlet has suddenly latched on, even though he is nowhere in sight? (and usually, not even with me. Hence, the pumping.)
Are they checking to see if my chest size is big enough to feed my child? (trust me, it is.)

So, friends, coworkers, who ever. Hi. You don't need to check out my chest when I tell you that I need to pump, or that I have pumped, or that I am still breastfeeding. I promise you that I am not going to spring a leak (anymore) and that my boobs are producing enough milk to feed my child.

Keep it up, and I just may glance to the pants every time you mention that you have to go to the bathroom.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A(nother) Letter to my Owlet.

Dearest owlet,
You turn a whopping 8 months old tomorrow. 8 months! I know I say it every month, but seriously, where does the time go? It is amazing how much you have grown and changed over the past 8 months. It's also amazing that you have been alive almost as long as you were in my tummy. Almost. But you were in there a long time, little owlet.

Sometimes I look at you and I am filled with awe that you are mine. That you came from me. That your Daddy and I get to love you and spend every day with you. How did we get so lucky? You are such a wonderful little boy. Today you were so giggly and laughing, it just warmed my heart so very, very much.

I know that sometimes I get a little cranky, like when you won't fall asleep. Or when you won't stop crying. Or when you scream your head off in a restaurant so that ev-er-y-one knows that you're there. But I hope you know that despite those few moments of crankiness, I love you more than I could ever say.

You do some pretty funny things right now, owlet. You don't crawl yet, so instead you log roll everywhere. I don't know how, despite your inability to crawl, you still manage to get into everything. You also do a crazy yoga pose when you're trying to get on your knees. It is adorable.

You're also talking up a storm lately. You've begun working on your "wah" sound, and you've got "mama" down pat, although I don't think you realize that it means me yet. You also love to say "babababababa" and you love to blow raspberries.

You also still don't have any teeth and your only hair forms a faux-hawk on the top of your head. But you love to eat, and you have started eating more and more things. You still don't like carrots though. What's up with that?

And did I mention that you still aren't sleeping through the night?

But no matter. You give me that big gummy smile and you laugh your wonderful laugh, and you melt my heart all over again.

I love you so much, owlet. I can't wait to see what's in store for us next month!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

sleep. or lack thereof.

How many times have I ranted about this? I don't know. But friends, the owlet? He doesn't sleep. Well, he sleeps. But not well. I feel like we have tried EV-ER-Y-Thing, and nothing works.

No wait. Something DOES work. Him sleeping in bed with me. This is the only way that we get longer than a 2 hour stretch. Yup. Seriously.

My child is almost 8 months old and he still wakes up almost every 2 hours. I feel like I need to be standing up saying that at some sort of AA meeting like place. What would that be? Non-sleepers Anonymous?

So, you may be asking yourself:" what sorts of things have you tried?"
For weeks, (months?) we have been trying various techniques from No Cry Sleep Solution. Typically, we feed him, bathe him, read him a story, feed him and rock him. Sometimes we let him fall asleep in our arms, other times we put him down when he's almost asleep. Then he tosses and turns and bangs his head and rubs his hands all over the crib and fusses like crazy for about 20 minutes (although tonight it was more like 2 flippin hours...) and eventually falls asleep.

For about an hour and a half.

Then we (or I, usually, since the hubs works nights) go in and shush him some more, rub his tummy some more, beg him to go back to sleep some more, until he's screaming his head off and then we rock until he (and I) are falling asleep, and we start the whole process all over again. Sometimes we do this 50 times a night. (or 6.) Sometimes we do this 3 or 4 times with EACH. WAKING.

"Why don't you just shut the door, plug your ears and let him scream his head off for hours and hours until he just blissfully falls asleep? It worked for me." If it worked for you, then I praise you. Because we tried it. For two nights. Two horrible, gut wrenching, traumatizing nights. The fear in my child's face when we went to put him in his crib was not something that I ever want to see again, let alone know that I caused.

"but you just need to do it for 3 nights and then you'll never have a problem again!"
Oh and also, he slept for 2 hours until he woke up again. So the point of him crying was.... 2 hours of sleep? We get that without him screaming himself hoarse, thanks.

So, I don't know what else to do. I know that there could be a million reasons for him not sleeping well. teething. illness. mommy not spending enough time with him. too hot. too cold. wet diaper. But when all the things that CAN be taken care of ARE, and he's STILL not sleeping, what do I do?

I'm honestly getting to the point where I'm going to spend a small fortune asking one of the sleep specialist people what I should do, even though I can read their advice in a book.

I think, in the meantime, that the owlet will just have to come to bed with me in the middle of the night. It beats me falling asleep standing up leaning against his crib.