Monday, July 27, 2009

How I barely* survived the annual golf outing.

*by barely I mean on almost no sleep, momentarily breaking down and crying all while sending my DH subtle texts to come early

Every year my DH has an annual golf outing with his college buddies in some remote area with limited cell phone reception. And without fail, every year, something happens in which results in a trip to the pharmacy and/or doctor. This time was no different except it was doubly hard since it was the first time with two kids. It all started out innocently enough with NT’s blood shot eye. I didn’t worry about it too much until it was there after his 2nd nap. Sure enough, when I looked, I saw a fingernail moon scratch. The doctor called in some medicine, and I had to see her the next day. So I had to pack up two kids for a 10 minute errand to get eye drops. This resulted in a NT’s first meltdown of the weekend which altered bedtime for the worse. Both kids like their one-on-one time at bedtime, except there was only one adult to go around.

The next day, I was super nervous about going to the doctor with both of them because I knew the test for the eye scratch would be intense, NT has a hard time eating when he’s upset and in a different place, and I promised GM we would go the water fountains at the outdoor mall. So after a full morning of packing lunches, bottles, bathing suites, and whatever else we would need for an afternoon outing, we arrived at the doctor’s office only 2 minutes late. As I predicted, he had a fit with the eye test, a fit when she looked in his ears to see if that was the reason for his fussiness, and he refused to eat. And the doctor confirmed that he had a scratch in his eye and that I had to come back in a week to make sure it was gone. Yeaa, I could hardly wait to repeat this horrific experience all over again except with all the anticipation of what to expect. All this was enough to make me sick to my stomach, so I packed the kids up and ran to the bathroom. This experience was made complete with Gwyn verbalizing what was happening so anyone within a foot of the bathroom was receiving a blow-by-blow account of my sensitive stomach. Once I got myself together, I tried to get out of there as soon as possible. Ah, but that was not in the cards either. Now we have been seeing this pediatrician since GM was born and never before had she been afraid of the undersea mural in the vestibule. If there was any day to be have a terrific meltdown, it was that day. She was hanging by the toys, and I thought she wanted to stay and play at the doctor’s office. So being impatient, I told her I’d call Nana and say not to meet us at the fountains. She scurried to the door, shrieked at the top of her lungs, and shook uncontrollably. At this point, with sweat dripping down my back, I think how am I going to get her and NT in the infant carrier out of here? I swoop up GM and put her on the sidewalk and quickly grab NT. I ask GM, whose eyes are totally dry, why she was upset and she serenely answers, “The undersea mural is scary.” Hmm. I had no idea.

So next, we met my mom at the outdoor mall for some fun. By fun I mean watching my 3 year old daughter try not to avoid any head-on collisions with the older, rougher crowd at the fountains and try not to break a limb (which would happen since DH was out of town) on the play structure. After two hours, she stopped what she was doing and yelled at the top of lungs with a look of despair in her eyes. That was my cue to leave. The man next to me said, “Wow! She sure can get her point across.” Yes, she sure can. Because I wanted some adult interaction, I had a crowd over for pizza. GM was all tuned up to be with her “people” or “Nana’s friends” as they are sometimes called (my aunt, brother, and his girlfriend). After dinner, I was exhausted, and I thought so were my babes. But not so much since NT woke up twice that night since his eating and sleeping was all off due to his traumatic time at the doctor’s office. And because NT woke up, so did GM which she usually doesn’t but I am guessing since Daddy was out of town, it was destined to be.

And here is where the real fun began. Since NT’s schedule was off, the whole day unraveled before my weary, tired, bloodshot eyes. I tried to make the weekend fun for us since DH was away. We planned on going to all of GM’s favorite spots like Barnes and Noble and the mall to go to the Disney Store and the merry-go-round. I planned on leaving right after lunch. But NT cried on and off for 2 ½ hours which enabled us from going anywhere on time. When he woke up from his nap (or passing out from crying too much) and didn’t eat, I lost it. I felt so disconnected with his needs, I felt like I was letting GM down, and I felt like I was a big damper on my parents. When I burst into tears, my Mom said in her self-proclaimed “stern voice” (which is considered “softly” yelling by most) that I had to stop crying, get myself together, and call my DH to get him home (the D at this point is not dear, more like damn). Now I am yelling at my mom to go home because I can handle this (which really was just a cry for help). GM is now yelling and getting me her favorite books to cheer me up. My mom also pointed out nicely that I was causing all this. I felt like a horrible mom. I still do. It was not my finest moment. In the end, I got it together and dragged us all over to have our fun adventure day as I told GM we would. I felt like Clark Griswold when he was determined to push through and have a merry Christmas: “We’ll have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny F-ing Kay!” And by the end of the day, we all made up because that’s how my family rolls.

The next day was like the ultimate redo, for the most part. NT slept well, GM and I had some quality time, and even had some time for a play date with the neighbor. However, that does not take away the traumatic three days before. After the babes went to bed, I told my DH as nicely as I could that I thought his timing sucked. He should not have left with NT being so unpredictable, especially without his own car. I thought he was being cheap by not wanting to eat the cost of his golf weekend when he saw how things were going with NT. I also thought he was being cheap by not wanting to pay for gas. And thankfully, DH got a sliver of a glimpse of what I went through those three days. I left for a 2 ½ hours to get away after he returned, and NT cried for half that time. How do I know? Because DH couldn’t make it without calling me and asking me what to do. Which I don’t fault him for because he did have NT’s best interest at heart.

But what would he have done if I was 5 hours away in a no cell phone reception area without my own car?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sleep Deprivation as a Form of Tourture

I read a headline (and only the headline since that’s how my day was going) about how Cheney knew about water boarding. I scoff at water boarding. If the CIA is serious about torture, the agency would use sleep deprivation. It is now no wonder to me why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. I feel like I have lost my mind and sanity. (I actually yelled at my DH to stop calling the binkie, a binkus). This insanity is probably why I don’t remember infancy as this difficult. NT is now over three months old, and he is just developing the wandering eye while he is nursing. He keeps bobbing on and off, so I think he’s still hungry which is why he only takes 45 – 50 minute naps. In my mind (which is not a stable a place, mind you), I feel like GM (now three years old) was taking 2 hour naps by now and sleeping through the night. As luck may have it, I kept track of her sleeping and eating habits in a notebook. Although she was a very focused nurser, GM was not sleeping through the night for another two weeks, and her naps were erratic at best. I think I remember it differently for a variety of reasons: 1) I had a touch of postpartum depression, and 2) I was only caring for one. (I was unable to come up with this idea on my own, so thank you RV. You are an awesome friend)! When she napped, I napped. Now when NT naps, I am taking care of my GM the best I can on minimal sleep. It makes for long days. I remember that soon after NT was born, I looked at the clock, and it was 9:00. Then, before I knew it, the time was 9:50. Worst of all, I didn’t accomplish anything in those lost 50 minutes except maybe get GM dressed. Who knows, I don’t remember. I do clearly remember the day I knew my life was never going to be the same when I became a mother of two. I was home for maybe a week; I exhausted, trying to recover from my c-section, and taking care of NT. My Mom was over and was going to occupy GM when NT and I were napping. When I was just about to go down for my nap, GM looked up at me with those baby girl eyes and said, “Are you going to play with me now?” She said it with such desperation that it yanked at my heart strings. I knew right then and there that I would never nap again. Since that moment, I have been running on empty. I try to stay present and enjoy my babes, but it’s hard. And that makes me sad because I want to soak up all the happy, smiley moments with these two, wonderful little people. Yep, sleep deprivation is enough to drive a person to the brink of insanity. The only thing that keeps me from going over that edge is that these babes need their mommy, and that alone is enough for me to push through this.

(By the way, I imagined this first real post to be written while sipping on a coffee, by myself and recharging my batteries. Instead I’m fighting to keep my eyes open, waiting to twilight feed NT before I hurry up and sleep fast. I also thought it would be about something other than complaining about sleep deprivation, but I guess that’s real life for you)!