Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hey Real World, I No Like You

I saw way too much of the sad face this week
Since having Baby Bird, I have been living in this super-duper dream world where families spend all their time together and nobody has to work for a living and magically we just have everything we need. At six weeks postpartum, I got a dose of the real world when K. returned to work during one of Baby Bird's growth spurts. Coincidentally, a baby's crying peaks at six weeks. Those first few days at home alone with a crying, constantly nursing baby after having 24/7 help for six weeks was a huge shock to the system. But, of course as most mothers inevitably do, I persevered and came out the other side a fair amount stronger and more confident.

When Avery turned 3 months old, I felt like I was hitting my stride. I was a yummy-mommy, capable of being a nurturing mama and putting on my make-up on all in one graceful pirouette. But, as all mothers know, nothing in Baby Land ever remains a constant for long.

A few weeks ago, K. came home from work and announced that he would be working 10 hours a day, 6 days a week for most of July. I felt fairly grumpy about it because it meant I'd be on Baby Bird Bedtime Duty. I do not enjoy Baby Bird Bedtime Duty one little bit. Bedtime is mostly Daddy's job in the house, and this Mama tends to get a half-hour of "me-time" while Daddy settles Baby Bird to sleep. None the less, it wasn't the end of the world.

The Saturday prior to this new work schedule, Baby Bird was quite fussy. Sunday, he was even more fussy. On Monday, panic set in for this Mama as Baby Bird spend a full hour crying screaming inconsolably. Now, to this point in his life, there had been maybe one or two short crying jags that weren't easily sootheable, but generally Baby Bird is an easy-going, happy kid whose woes are easy to solve. This screaming jag was new to me. Nothing I did work. Even comfort nursing wasn't working. Pick up, put down, cuddle, shoosh, sing, swing, bounce, rock, and carry - none of it worked. To the doctor we went, where Baby Bird was prescribed some medication for acid reflux.

Tuesday - another screaming fit. Thank goodness for my sister-in-law who kept me company all afternoon.

Wednesday - another screaming fit. A call to the public health advisory line where I desperately asked if I should be taking Bird to the hospital. I was told that my family doctor would be sufficient, as long as he could be seen within 24 hours. We attend the walk-in where I am reassured that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Baby Bird aside from a nasty case of acid reflux. Further research tells me that teething can exacerbate reflux symptoms (he is drooling and chewing like crazy), and that reflux symptoms in infants tend to peak around 4 months of age. Bird will be 4 months old this week.

Thursday - a better day - no screaming until bedtime. The poor child cries himself to sleep on my lap as I feel completely helpless and terrible.

Friday - Another fussy day, but it does seem to be improving day by day.

Saturday - my poor husband has to work, and saddened by having no real weekend, I keep Bird and I very busy. He was a very happy Bird until bedtime, when inconsolability set in. It's about a million degrees in our house, so we decided that being able to sleep all night trumped the usual bedtime routine. We set out in search of air conditioner, but they were all sold out. We returned home with no way to cool the house and a screamy baby.

Sunday (Today) - K. is off. For whatever reason, I am a mental health mess today. Bird is fussier today than he had been the last few days, and I'm left wondering if the upcoming week of 12-hour days by myself will be a repeat of last week, where I cried each and every day. We are 1/3 of the way through Hell Month.

The Real World can really bite sometimes. I don't know how mothers whose spouses are away or single mamas do this? At least not in the infant stage. It takes a village to raise a child, but in North America we tend to try and fend for ourselves, and we expect others to do the same.

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