Thursday, September 08, 2005

would you like some ointment for those emotional scars?

in my pre-baby life, i was not a napper. naps generally left me groggy and grumpy and feeling more tired than i had been in the first place, so even if i was out-till-7am-the-night-before exhausted, it was a rare thing for me to take a nap. (which makes sense for me—unlike my mom, husband, and best friend, i actually function better on less sleep than an overabundance of sleep.) but of course when i was thrust into the wonderful world of night wakings, sleeping during the day became a way of life. as mr. baby man has gotten older and his night wakings slightly less frequent and definitely less obtrusive (i barely come out of my rem cycle for some of them), and as he is now able to nap without a boob in his mouth the whole time (i said able to, not prefers to...), my napping has decreased. but sometimes, if i lie down with him to put him down for his nap, i'll nap with him, whether i meant to or not. warm little baby body, comfy futon, nice breeze from the window, zzzzzz..... sometimes this is fine, other times i wake up in a post-nap bad mood, just like i always used to—only now compounded with being annoyed that i slept through his nap and missed my opportunity to be productive and/or alone.

this afternoon i fell asleep with him, and woke up in such a bad state i don't think i'll ever nap again.

we got up and went downstairs to get a snack. in my mentally weakened state, i decided that this was a good time to introduce him to yogurt. yes, brilliant mother, introduce the child who hasn't taken a morsel of food from a spoon since he was 6 months old to yogurt when your fuse is at it's shortest.... i plunk him in the highchair, get the yogurt and plastic spoon, and try to get a little bit in his mouth. he wants the spoon. i give him the spoon, go get another spoon. try again. he wants that spoon too. i give him the second spoon, go get a third. try again, smudging some yogurt on his lips hoping he'll lick it off and like it. he licks it, makes a face, and goes back to whacking the spoons together, then throws the first two spoons to the ground. i let him put a spoon into the yogurt, thinking maybe he'll eat some if he can do it himself. no, he just wants to use the spoon to take the yogurt out of the container and plop it on to his tray. i take the (third) spoon out of his hand to stop the process, he screams and cries. i can't fight through my bad mood to comfort him. i go get him a smaller spoon, thinking maybe he'll do better with that, plus he won't be able to get as much yogurt out of the container at a time. he tries to feed me, and stabs me in the gums, so i take away the smaller spoon. more crying. more absolutely no sympathy from me. i go into the kitchen to get a wet towel to wipe the both of us down, and when i come back he's taken the container, which i stupidly left within his reach, and dumped out the remaining yogurt. you know how people win america's funniest home video with scenes of adorable toddlers dumping food onto themselves while the family laughs? apparently the mothers of those toddlers are a tad bit more emotionally stable than me.... i yell "stop!", grab him out of the high chair, knock over the highchair in the process, plop him on the ground, clean off his hands while he cries, right the highchair, and then finally am able to pick him up and hug and comfort him. so now i feel cranky, annoyed, and horribly guilty.

we go into the living room and everything's okay for a little while, then i decide we should go hang in the backyard till bathtime, maybe the fresh air will do me good....

we go, and, inevitably, end up playing his latest favorite game, "rock". as in, throwing them. and, of course, he hits me in the head with one. i have to get up and walk away from him a little bit so he doesn't become alarmed by the sound of my teeth grinding together and the sight of the smoke exiting my ears. as i walk toward the house i see that trucky is peeing in the bucket of potting soil that i left out, so i take my frustrations out on him, poor thing. (although, honestly, don't pee in my potting soil! ew!)

bathtime is fittingly traumatic: he tries to turn on the water. i stop him. he cries. i pull him away from the knobs and he slips and falls backwards into the water—not underwater, and not paifully (he's in his little inflatable tub), but enough to totally freak him out and make him cry. i finish soaping and rinsing him while he cries, i'm not able to meet his eyes. finally i pick him up and wrap him in his towel. i feel like a monster.

then i hit bottom. i sit him on the changing table and try to find the balmex that i think is in the bag that i took to my parents' house last weekend and haven't unpacked. i can't find it, and while i'm rooting around getting more and more frustrated wile is trying to pull things out of the bag, which i have up on the table with him. so i snatch the bag away from him, dump the contents out onto the ground, and start crying. he's dead silent for a minute, then starts crying along with me, stretching out his arms to me. i pick him up and rock him and we cry together for a few minutes.

not surprisingly, he takes a long time to go to sleep, but that's fine. it comforts and calms me to lie in bed with him, holding and nursing him, smelling his head.

if i saw anyone else treating him the way i treated him today, i would cheerfully break their arm in three places. but if i broke my own arm, how could i pick him up when he said "eeeeeehhhhh!"? so instead i try to tell myself that it's alright, that even though newsweek has me all kinds of freaked out with their article about how babies comprehend and remember much more from their first years than we originally thought, he will be okay. and i'll be okay.


mad said...

Oh love. I'm so sorry to hear there were tears, big bad baby man! But alas my darling, you can't keep it 100% together EVERY day. A breakdown a year is a pretty amazing record ... and trust us, he won't remember a thing. Well, that is until he's a teenager and acting all wretched and we remind him of the day he made you cry. **mwah**

Anonymous said...

there, there, bebe. you do the right things all the time, it's okay to lose it a bit every once in a while. you're only human.

Anonymous said...

don't worry. i don't remember shit from before 1991.