It’s One of Those Days

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Can you say that when it feels like everyday? “It’s just one of those days. Like yesterday, the day before, and the day before that. Like it will be tomorrow.”

I’m tired. I feel at the end of my rope. As I write, my son is in his crib crying. No, I’m not neglecting him. Just the opposite really. I’m trying to do what’s best. And it’s breaking my heart.

Sleep has been hit and miss for Milo the last couple of months. First, we thought it was the move. Then, it was teething. The ear infection. Vacation. Maybe another tooth. But let’s just call it what it is: he’s a baby. And babies sometimes struggle with the simplest tasks, even sleep.

For a while, we would take turns getting up with Milo and soothing him. If an hour went by and he was still crying, we’d wake the other person. I would resort to nursing. Anything to get some sleep.

But then it seemed like we had developed a really bad habit, so Nick took the majority of responsibility of getting up with Milo. Milo knew he was getting no boob from Nick, so he would fall asleep better with him. Better, my friends, is still a relative term.

Once Nick was sufficiently sleep deprived, we turned to co-sleeping. It worked great in the short term, but eventually that didn’t satisfy Milo and then he was just crying in bed with us.

And so it was that we finally let Milo cry-it-out for the first time. When nothing else would work, we decided to just leave him be. He cried for what felt like forever. I cried only half as long. It was awful.

But the next night he slept 12 hours. My how I felt like a brand new person! But then it was back to crying. And it’s not just night time, it’s naps as well.

And all this time it’s been chipping away at me. I’ve lost pieces of myself every time I enter into the sleep battles with Milo. It’s broken my spirit more times than not. It leaves me wary. I don’t leave the house for fear of Milo missing a nap. I avoid the phone because I just can’t talk. If I talk, I’ll cry and I can’t cry. Too many tears have already been shed.

I know I’m not alone in this. I know that many moms have gone before me and many moms will go after me. And please, save your advice. I know the tricks and I’ve tried them all. This is just something we have to get through. If you want to help, say a prayer. Pray for peace, patience, and sleep. And understand when I’m unresponsive.

This too shall pass.

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8 Months Old: It’s the Best of Times, It’s the Worst of Times

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This past weekend we went up to my parents’ house for a little getaway. Partly just to see family, but mostly so we could introduce Nick to a Dragonuk Family Tradition: tractor pulls. Seriously, I love tractor pulls, and Nick had never been to one.

We were able to convince my mom to stay home and watch Milo while my dad, sister, Nick, and I went to the Ogle County Fair for the pull. It didn’t really take much convincing. For one thing, she isn’t really that into tractor pulling. Secondly, she’d give her left arm for more one-on-one time with Milo. So we left Milo with a couple of bottles and decent instructions and left for the fair.

For the most part, Grammy and Milo did great together. That was until the end of the night. He absolutely refused his last bottle of the night and decided he would not go to sleep easily. My charming son screamed for a half hour until he finally passed out. Good thing he didn’t drink that other bottle; he might have had the energy to scream for at least an hour!

The next morning my mom and I were talking and she said she remembered this being the most exhausting age. It’s so true. At this point in Milo’s life, he’s not just growing rapidly but he’s reaching a lot of developmental milestones in a short amount of time.

For one thing, he’s teething right now. One of his top front teeth broke through the gum while we were at my parents and the other will be breaking through any day. In case you don’t remember what it feels like to have your teeth rip through your flesh, it’s awful. Now in all fairness to Milo, the process could be much worse. He hasn’t had swollen and bleeding gums, he hasn’t had a fever, and he doesn’t scream and cry all day long. But he does get very snuggly on the days where the teeth are just about to cut. On those days, forget about getting anything done. All he wants is to snuggle with Mommy and heaven forbid I should try to put him down. He’ll also wake one or two times during the night. Again, not the worst it could be but when you’re used to sleeping through the night even one interruption is one too many. And teething isn’t just a one time thing. You go through all of this for a couple days, the tooth cuts, and life goes back to tomorrow. Just when you think it couldn’t get better, another dang tooth starts making it’s way through the gums. Teething never ends. Ever.

Milo is also starting to experience separation anxiety. He does great with other people, but after a while he just needs Mommy. It’s amazing: he can be in someone else’s care and completely content but the moment I return and he sees me it’s all over. He literally cries “Moooooooommmaaaaaa.” In fact the only time he says “Momma” is when he’s upset, but when he’s excited he says “Dadda.” It’s not fair. Don’t get me wrong, I love that my son knows I can make things better. I love that I’m his safe place, that in my arms he finds rest. But it’s also very exhausting. Every so often I wished he wanted Dadda when he was upset.

Yes, 8 months is a very exhausting time. There always seems to be a crisis in his wee life. But it’s also incredibly exciting. Milo is learning to crawl and I just love to sit and watch him move around. You can’t really call it crawling just yet, but he gets to where he wants to go. I take for granted just how capable he is of getting around; I leave the room for the shortest amount of time and he’s made his way into someplace he doesn’t belong.

He’s also learning so much about the world around him. He’s constantly exploring; pulling on this or that and staring in amazement at its reaction. He’s aware that the dog is another being and loves to “play” with him (to Diesel it’s more like torture). I just watch him in awe as he takes everything in; he’s such a curious little boy.

By far the best part is he’s learning to make noises and “talk” to us. Nothing makes me smile more than listening to Milo babble. He’s got so much to tell us and it doesn’t seem to bother him that we can’t really understand. It does make me eager for when he actually knows some words and phrases, but my dad always tells me “don’t wish your life away” so I’ll try not to wish Milo’s away too.

I find myself to be more tired now than I’ve ever been. Milo can wear me out just listening to him and watching him squirm everywhere. There have been plenty of days Nick has gotten home from work and I’ve asked him to keep Milo preoccupied. I just need a break, but it only takes a couple minutes and then I start missing Milo. I’m a moth to a flame when it comes to that boy. It doesn’t matter how tired I am, I just can’t get enough of him.

So while this is a time of his life that is very tiring, I love it. I know there’s a lot more to look forward to and more challenges ahead, but right now I’m soaking in these moments with Milo. What a privilege it is to be Mommy.