Caving

We caved.  After 36 days.  Which is 33 more days than we lasted with Kaia.

The new girl has had a binky.  And she likes it.

 

It all came to a hedge on Friday.  My husband was attending a Rush concert and I was home alone all night with the girls.  They had wiped me out, physically and emotionally.  Indi hadn’t been out of my arms more than probably 15 minutes the entire day and night.  And while I’m all for Attachment Parenting, I’m also a mama who believes in a kinda-sorta-semi balance (which always tips more favorably to the side of the babies).  I needed some space, my house was a complete wreck, I was hungry and probably dehydrated.  I missed my husband, I was pining for some adult time.  I decided I’d watch a movie for the first time in ages, only to find it skipping about 20 minutes into it.  I was really getting down and out, staring into the darkness feeling numb and listless.  I had no desire to even attempt to clean the house ever again.  Nope, I had resigned to myself that I would sit in the middle of it all while it piled around me, not giving a damn.  Then maybe I’d hire someone to come dig us out of it and then clean it up for us.  And then I’d have to hire someone to dig me out of the emotional hole I was buried in.  I knew some of it was normal baby blues, but some of it was sharper and newer and different…

 And the clutter – oh the god-forsaken clutter – was driving me mad.  As I held a sleeping Indi on my chest, I experienced a sort of panic attack as I looked around at all the clutter in my house.  My breath quickened and became shallow, my arms heavy.  It wasn’t even that it was messy that was causing me anxiety; it was the fact that there is just so much STUFF hanging around in my house.  The stuff makes it impossible for me to keep up, the clear my head, to relax, to prioritize.  I told myself “that office MUST be decluttered immediately!”  Well, immediately for me happened to be two days later. I finally managed to get Indi to sleep in her little bassinet by my bed so I could stretch out and crash out.  

I felt trapped.  Dark.  Weak.  Imperfect.  Insignificant.  Empty.  Confused.  Void.  And oh the hunger…

The next morning, I told Jason how rough the prior night was and that I was feeling sad and lonely and crazy.   We had a leisurely morning and afternoon, visiting Taliesin West for the first time since our quick and traumatic departure almost 2 years ago.   As we walked back to our car, Indi sleeping in the Moby wrap and Kaia holding her Daddy’s hand, the desert clouds gave way to a warm summer rain.  It felt refreshing, maybe a sign of good things to come. 

But later that afternoon, we had two cranky and tired girls on our hands and my house was still cluttered.  The anxiety began to mount again.  I started to envision a future in which Indi would not go down for a nap without me beside her.  I panicked.  And while this is quite common for some folks, you have to understand that I’ve been spoiled rotten with a girl who takes naps with the ease of a gentle wind, a girl who literally asks to go “night night” when she’s having a rough day.  Having a child who needs me physically to sleep would be a rude awakening for me.  Could I handle it? What kind of parent would I be? Has my friends’ (joking) curses for a non-sleeping babe come true? I understand this in the early newborn phase, but I don’t know if I could handle it after that. Exasperated, I told Jason I was seriously contemplating getting a hotel room for the night and leaving the girls with him.  I was so desperate for some alone time, feeling cramped inside my own home and in real need of some deep sleep.  I imagined tearing into the fresh sheets of a king sized bed, sipping a glass of wine in a bubble bath, or lazing by the pool in the heat of the evening. 

Instead, Jason said he would take Kaia for a quick trip to the grocery store.  I begged him to buy binkys for Indi, one of each kind.  He begged me not to ask him to do that.  I begged again, telling him I was going nuts. We really didn’t want to enter the binky realm again.  At two years old, Kaia is still quite addicted to them, albeit mostly for napping and night time.  I wanted to be able to nurture Indi and tend to her needs without a pacifier.  But my passion and my spirit were waning. 

I managed to position Indi in a bouncy seat next to my bubble bath. I sipped some cheap wine.  I held my head in my hands in the quiet of the bathroom.  With having to constantly bounce the seat to soothe Indi, I wasn’t able to relax much.  So many thoughts ran through my head “Was I even cut out to be a mom? A mom of two?  What was I thinking? No turning back now! Could I run away to my Mom’s house for a week?  Should I just take up drinkin’ and smoke some weed? I love my children, but will they love me? Will I come out of this rut? Will I ever be able to have time to write again, to nap, to clean, to take a shower? Whose body IS this?” 

Jason arrived later with groceries.  And binkys.   And for me:  a dark chocolate bar, a bunch of beautiful wildflowers, donuts, and a card.  A cute card that said this.  He took care of Kaia’s bedtime routine and held Indi.   Indi actually took to the binky and slept for awhile out of arms.   We started at her sweet face and had a mixture of emotions: guilt, relief, giddiness, regret, “oh shit, what have we done?”.

 It took a few hours, but the fog began to lift.  The hotel no longer sounded quite as enticing and I didn’t want to leave my family.  We drifted off – all three of us – together in our bed.  Indi’s body warmed mine, her breathing relaxed me, and the bed seemed to embrace me. The next day was a good one.  Jason watched the kids while I slept in.  And I actually slept, snoozed so hard that I dreamed the entire events of the following day as if they really happened.  I never heard my babies cry.  And I had donuts when I woke up.  And a shower.  And by that afternoon, our office had been completely decluttered, our girls BOTH napped at the same time for almost 3 hours.   Later, as the sun set in the cotton-candy pink sky, we all ate Taco del Mar on the grass of the park. 

Last night, I got a new perspective on things.  I laid on the floor (something I never do) with my Indi and stared up at the ceilings of my house.  I began to notice how big and nice my home looked from this angle, observed some of the details in my home that I tend to miss.  From here, it didn’t seem so messy and crazy.  I began to actually appreciate what I had and felt abundance start to trickle slowly through my body.  On the floor with my girl, it all came together.  And before bed, Jason helped me hang laundry and do the dishes. 

And now I sit here at my desk writing on a rockin’, new big ol’ fat flat screen monitor while BOTH of my girls sleep in unision again.  Out of arms.  Each with a binky.  

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Caving

  1. Oh man….a flood of feelings just came rushing back to me as I read your post. Going from one child to two is such a transition. It sounds like you are doing beautifully. I think most people have been where you are.

    My second baby loved the moby too….that is the best wrap for a new little person.

    I will say now that my babies are 3 and 15 months it is easier. The anxiety just went away from me at some point (so long ago now that I don’t even remember when it lifted). I woke up one day and was all “hey, Im totally rocking this mom of 2 thing”.

    I love reading your posts, probably because I relate to them so much.

  2. Leigh, I am LOL at your post – you rock, woman. Good for you for doing whatever you needed to gain a bit of peace; AP is wonderful, but I also agree with balance, and nowhere in the scriptures of AP does it suggest that pacifiers are evil or that you shouldn’t be able to put your wee one down for a few small chunks of time. It’s good for you both! I so wished my kiddos took the pacifier, as I don’t like to let the CIO but there’ve been transitional times where it’s been done. I often thought the pacifier might have helped, but none of my three would have it – ever! Hope you are feeling well – keep writing :).

  3. it does get easier…and harder…and easier…and harder…and easier….and so on.

    try to take in the journey, no judgments, though, no beating on yourself. feel the exhaustion (and then sleep) feel the depression (and then work out of it) feel the joy (and celebrate it) feel the anger (and release is) feel the anxiety (and then lie down in Child’s Pose). This is what it is all about. Parenting is not easy. It also does not have to be brutal. It’s about feeling it. Breathing it.

    I really hate the term Attachment Parenting. I know that is so harsh to say, but i think it’s intentions are so good, it can be a vehicle for utter guilt. I had no idea what the hell it was when we had Mia. Nobody I hung with had kids; nobody. Anybody I knew that had kids definitely did not practice the rules of AP. I just followed my heart, did what put me at ease…even if that was sometimes the harder choice…it put me at ease. Some nights I DID NOT want to nurse 25 times, but what put me at ease was to do it. Other times the only thing that made me feel right was to stuff Mia’s face with cookies and put on Sesame Street and Sula’s with a pacifier and put her in a swing and ignore them for an hour!!! As a parent I have learned to never judge and never say…”i would never….”

    Parenting comes from the heart, not a book or a philosophy, though everybody needs tools and whatever helps is a good thing.

    Even booze and ganga.

    You are an amazing mama. Amazing. I learn from your mellow air-like quality and your rooted feet in the earth. You children are blessed. They knew what they were doing when the flowed to you.

    Love you,
    m

  4. I can so relate to this. I was against the binky. But my son really needed it in the beginning. He binked, as I call it, for the first month and half of his life and then one day spit it out and stuck his thumb in his mouth. And ever since then the binky is gone.

    Sounds like Indi just needed the binky and maybe she’ll find later that she doesn’t. I’m thinking about adding another babe to our family and reading your experiences brings back the feelings I had a few months ago when I first brought my son home but you know they are quickly forgotten. And then the joy of being a mother over takes all. You sounds like a wonderful and loving mama. And you’re doing a great job!

  5. it is sooo hard going from 1 kid to 2. you are doing the best that you can. and binkies do not equal child abuse, so cut yourself some slack. :oP

    attachment parenting is all about balance. it’s one of their big things. seriously. that doesn’t make it any easier to achieve balance, but it’s good to know that they support it. 😉

    love the “screw it” card and the chocolate bar. jason is such a good hubby. 🙂

    hugs, mama. it will get easier. keep on keepin’ on.

  6. Keep on trying new stuff and doing whatever it takes to help your dear baby and your whole family!

    The whole Bikies are bad s@*T, in my honest and so humble opinion, is the fear of nipple confusion. If you have an awesome nursin’ babe, then dont worry about it one bit!

    With my firstborn, we got a few pacifiers from the store, I popped one in her mouth, she spit out. I tied for a few days and decided “well, she didnt like those things.” and that was that.

    With my secondborn, though,( HOLY MOLEY, was that a rough transition, BTW!!!!!!) we would have put on clown suits and played tubas if only to get a moments rest, a moment’s peace, anything to make this baby feel better. He nursed and nursed and still wanted more–I was literally itching in my brain and soul to just have a BREAK from the boobieboobieboobie-ness, and we tried to get him on that binky as soon aspossible! Is that terrible? How could it be? He was so happy, after a good nursing, to be all bunted up in his swaddling banket (daddy’s special ultra tight burrito we called it) with that little biky in his mouth. I would get to stretch my neck, take a pee, eat a sandwhich, while the little burrito suck suck suckied on his binkie in daddy’s crook of his left arm while he surfed the ‘net or whatnot.

    His teeth did not get messed up, he nursed until he was 4 1/2, and, ummm whatever other fears we are suppossed to have about binkies didnt happen, either! So there!

    I wouldnt give it a second thought, Mama
    🙂

  7. Oh, Leigh! First of all, Jason is right — you are a wonderful mother. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. I think this is one thing I should have made more of a priority when Henry was a baby. I felt so trapped and resentful sometimes, even though I loved him so completely. He was/is a needy guy. I seriously went to bed when he did for a long time. Now I nurse him down and can get up for a few hours. I wonder sometimes if I should have worked harder to get him to sleep by himself. You have a LOT on your plate and truly, some babies just need to suck. If it’s making Indi happy, then this is not a bad thing.

  8. I totally understand the binky thing. We held out for 5 weeks and I caved after I saw Happiest Baby on the Block and realized he just needed to suck. He just did. And still does. That’s just Albie. He doesn’t freak out when it falls out when he’s asleep though, thank god.

    And I totally second the cluttered trapped thing. I’ve been feeling that a lot lately myself, and our house is only 700 square feet, so I’m not sure exactly where to put the clutter so it’s not clutter…perhaps a bonfire in the back yard? And dude is almost crawling, god help me…

    You are a great mama, no matter how long your little girls cling to their binkies. Sometimes, you just gotta compromise.

    Oh, and even with a binky, dude wouldn’t sleep out of arms until I started swaddling him. Still does sleep best swaddled, but it’s hard to wrap up a 19 lb. sausage. Perhaps I should use the drapes…

  9. Leigh,

    I am so feeling your words and all they convey.
    Breathing into and through those times of chaos and clutter and panic and coming undone, this is like feeling your own heart break apart and sitting with what you find underneath the broken pieces, this is the real work. It takes such tremendous courage to remain so open to what is, to live in what is. It is a kind of love to live with this fierce courage. And this is you, this is what you did, what you are doing, this is who you are. How amazing.
    As for AP and binkys, I’ve never been one to follow the rules of anything and there is something to be said for that old slogan -rules are made to be broken. What self trust and respect you create within you when you listen within and do what you need to do, regardless of the voices inside and out that are telling you musts and shoulds and how dare yous.
    Though I am only recently coming to know you here on your blog, I feel you deeply and you are so not alone. At three and a half years old things with my son and I are circling back around to that icky place of facing limitations and living in acceptance of what I can and cannot do. Hard stuff. And also the soil of psyche where the lush gardens grow.
    Thank-you for sharing with such depth and honesty. Beautiful.
    love to you,
    bella

  10. Going from one to two absolutely kicked my backside, and a lot of it was because the baby liked to be held all.the.time and also didn’t sleep well. The wanting to be held all the time has gotten better now that he’s mobile, but even tonight I’ve gone in to put him back down THREE times. And Aidan just got back up after being in bed for over an hour … long story. Anyhow, all to say that this mothering gig is indeed HARD. And thank G-d for binky’s. They are so, so helpful and I hope that you don’t feel bad about using them when you need to. You ARE nurturing Indi and caring for her needs when you help her with her need to suck and suck and suck 24/7. We try not to give them too early or too often here too, but when it comes down to it, my being able to get even a few small things done and not feel out of my mind during the day makes for a happy home, which is kinda the whole point, right?

  11. I refused to give my first two binkies (or dummies down under). with my third i caved… and boy it was WONDERFUL! she gave it up around 5 months but having it during those first few weeks made life so much easier… hey, babies need to suck and some babies need to suck more than others.. if a little binky time restores your sanity GO WITH IT. A sane mom is more important that a “perfect” mom whose is slowly going round the bend!

  12. i’m actually jealous that your girls took the binky. cadence never would, which meant i became a human pacifier. there are still some nights when she’s feeling a bit needy that she’ll stay attached to my boob for an hour or more. fortunately, it’s not very often or i would’ve gone insane by now cuz when she does that it feel like i’ve got ants in my pants.

    i think a lot of AP moms forget that one of the principles of AP is achieving balance–for yourself, your marriage/partnership, other children, etc. taking care of yourself and knowing your limits take more discipline than just giving in to the baby’s needs all the time, but it’s self-nurture that will give you the strength and desire to continue to nurture your baby and the others around you. it’s a lesson i have yet to learn…

    hugs to you, and i hope you get to watch that movie soon!

    xoxo,
    sarah in chicago

  13. Dear Leigh,

    Shannon was talking to me about Binkys just the other day, saying she thought she might let this baby have one. I agree. I never felt opposed or attached to pacifiers, some of my chidren used them, some not. But babies need to suck. Plain and simple. What’s wrong with a pacifier? it is one contraption that I truly believe in. Camille had the hardest time giving it up. Finally, when she was three, we put it out one night, for the angels to take to a new baby. There was some extra holding and rocking to do for a while, but she kind of just got it. She understood so much better then.

    And then, of course, there was Brooke, who sucked her thumb and played with an ear (any ear…her own or whoevers within reach). And our Miss Brooke gave up the thumb sucking the night she lost her first baby tooth. Brooke always had this amazing ability to do things just as she should….does that sound like the Brooke you know?

    😉

    I too remember those difficult days of early mothering. I especially remember staring out from bathtubs and at ceilings. And in the hindsight that 30 years can lend, those were the moments I feel I learned the truths of the woman I became, full of complexities and questions. Those moments and the primal forces it took to get through them created the strength of character I treasure today.

    Much love, Brooke’s mama

Show Some Love

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s