“Well, to tell the truth…” I feel like that’s the caveat I am starting with whenever someone asks me how I am doing right now. My instinct is to say “fine!” “Ok!” “Surviving!”, which are not inaccurate, I suppose. But to tell the truth, some things have been really hard these past few weeks. I knew it would be, but did I really know it would be?
I do think, on the whole, that things are getting better. Sleep is certainly getting better, and I am continually hopeful for better and better nights (while trying not to let my expectations get too high!). And we’ve got some daily rhythms now that feel good, and usually work. I’ve been able to nap when the girls nap about half the time. Fifty percent – that’s a passing grade in some programs!
This is from a post I drafted two weeks ago, at about peak sleep deprivation, when I felt worn thinnest –
I have been hesitant to be completely open about the tough parts of this season, because, well, we did decide to go and have another baby. Part of me keeps expecting everyone to shake their head at me and say “you’ve brought this on yourself – no sympathy from me!” But of course no one does. And part of me wants to defend myself, and say it’s not that I can’t handle the days – the girls are both being fed, clothed, bathed, stimulated, kept safe, etc., while the house is not a total disaster and I wear real clothes most days. But it’s the nights…oh boy, the nights. We didn’t have these kinds of nights with the Bean, walking up and down with a screaming baby for hours on end. (Does this sound familiar to the mamas out there?) At one in the morning, after three hours of I have endless, overly-analyzed theories of why this baby won’t sleep, won’t settle, won’t stop crying…she needs to be held more – or maybe she’s overstimulated by our interactions? It’s the cloth diapers that irritate her – no, it’s got to be reflux, or a dairy allergy. I read sleep books, I google things. She’s just a fussy baby, it’s just the six-week peak of fussiness, it’s a growth spurt, a learning leap – no, it’s something I’m doing that’s making it worse. Or she needs more sleep – or else she needs more stimulation during the day. I guess at the end of it I’m just driven between two opposing instincts – there’s nothing we can do but ride it out, or there’s something I just haven’t thought of that will make this better.
Then morning comes. I shake my head, gather my resolve, and lose myself in the necessary tasks of the day, trying all the while to remember to enjoy these girls in their individual fleeting stages. Because this time is short – it’s always short, no matter what stage we’re in, but when the nights are short too the days are shorter still.
I’m already looking back at that moment and amazed that we survived. But we did! And there are good, good moments woven into all the chaos. We went to a wedding in Victoria last weekend, and squeezed in as many visits as we possibly could, and still didn’t see everyone we wanted to. My brother came for a visit, and Christopher’s sister too. I’ve not taken many photos, however, so most of these are from a walk we took two weeks ago.
So I’m going to keep looking for beauty, through these tired eyes, I’m going to keep putting down frustration and anxiety, and keep putting on love and peace. Because this time will be so short when I look back.