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.