I had five hours to myself with baby today. Hubby saw the desperate look on my face when I got out of bed at 8am after having being woken every hour and a half for a feed or teething gel and I think he saw that I needed a break. So he did his favourite thing, he visited family and was kind enough to take toddler along with him.
Five hours. I am sure some of you are feeling little daggers of envy right now, because it seems like an ideal few of us have the luxury of ever receiving. Add to this the fact that for the last month I've had an average of seven builders on site around my house banging on a new roof and swishing on some new paint. And I still have a month of that to look forward to. So the private time, albeit with baby, was something to cherish.
Here’s how I guess you think it went... Baby had a nap for the first hour or so. Then she woke up happy to have some playtime with mommy followed by a yummy lunch. Thereafter we took a walk in the garden and laughed at the doggy chasing the ball around. This was followed by a feed, but I didn’t need to hide from the prying eyes of painters or roofers, I could sit bare breasted anywhere I wanted in the house without the fear of being watched, (like I was yesterday.) So I sit in the lounge and while baby gently feeds, I watch my favourite pre-recorded television show. She then falls asleep for her second hour long nap. Only this nap, wonderfully, coincides with me falling asleep on the sofa and having a blissful, undisturbed catnap. Picture hubby arriving home with toddler finding both remaining girls still soundly asleep. He thinks it’s adorable and pats himself on the back for being so considerate. Mommy wakes to gentle kisses on her neck from the husband she loves.
No. That is not what went down today.
ONLY five hours, I managed to spend three minutes turning on my computer and finding the draft of my next novel and open the document before baby woke up from nap number one. No problem, lunchtime. But baby didn’t like her lunch, no, not one bit. Didn’t like the cheese straw, or the rice cake, or the pureed cottage pie she normally loves. Didn’t want yogurt, or ice cream, or frozen banana. She just cried and cried and cried whenever something came near her mouth. Teething! Clever Mom thought and whipped out the big guns – Neurofen – swiftly administering the dose, or so I hoped, except baby, unlike toddler, HATES medicine. So she cried and cried and cried and screwed her mouth as shut as a nun’s vagina, refusing my measly two and a half millilitres of medicine. I eventually did what I do to puppy to get her to take medicine – forced her jaw open and blew on her face. She then nursed again and fell asleep. Her teeth were probably killing her a little.
So I made lunch – quick and non-nutritious, but I needed to make the most of this potentially drug prolonged nap. So lunch, cup of tea, and cry, cry, cry. Baby didn’t need that much sleep. But at least she woke up happy. For all of ten minutes before she realised she was still hungry. But she didn’t want some biltong, or some creamed cheese, or some of my tuna, or bread, or Nutella (I was getting desperate!) So we take the walk outside. And baby is happy for all of those ten minutes. Then we sit on the grass and watch doggy chase the ball. She is happy for another ten minutes. Ah, this is quite cool, arrogant, STUPID ASS thing to even think because as soon as the thought had formulated itself into words the crying started again. And let me say for the record, this baby is generally not even a crier. She is a happy child.
Five hours felt like five years. I cried at least three times. I lost it properly at least twice. She screamed like I have never heard her scream before in my life and it broke my heart but also frustrated me to the point of no redemption. Why don’t you ever scream like this with your nanny? I wondered aloud. How come you choose today of all days to voice this discomfort? I had to ask. And I remembered the calm advice I gave a friend recently who is a new mom and I was having a good day, “Its not the baby that frustrates us per say, it’s the stuff we had planned to do that we can't do because of the baby… so just don’t plan anything too urgent.” Shut up you stupid wench! I want to tell that woman now. All I wanted to do today was have some ME time. I wanted to have a nap, maybe. Even write a chapter or so of my book. But this was not to be. How ignorant for even thinking it may. I should know better.
Husband walks in and finds me crying and baby screaming. “So I didn’t help at all then?” he asks sarcastically. “Well, better one baby standing in line of the firing squad rather than two,” I replied with equal sarcasm. You see, his day had been fun and happy. Toddler loves being on a farm and around people. He loves his family and he was with them. Win win. Its hard not to think that he did it out of selfish reasons, but he is not a malicious man and is generally far more self-less than selfish.
I guess the root of it, the most frustrating part of it is: I am exhausted. And baby is being difficult for the first time in almost nine months. Having had a week of basically no more than four hours uninterrupted sleep between the two kids and being inundated by builders and banging and swishing, I am stretched quite thin. You know, you give a mom a two hour gap in the day and she has a list of things to do as long as her arm. Very few of them are for herself. Most are for the home and kids. Today, I had what was meant to be three hours and they were dominated by a difficult baby. When it was stretched to five hours, it was more difficult than pleasurable. And by the time the sixth hour rolled around, which was for different reasons entirely, I was basically ready to jump.
Gosh this job can be damn hard sometimes. And while I wonder if it’s not possibly time to ask my doctor for some baby blues meds, I also realise that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture in some countries. I know why. My whole heart loves my children – but right now, as I stand in the kitchen writing this blog watching my baby try to crawl across the kitchen counter, (don’t worry, she can't reach anything dangerous and I am blocking the fall zone,) I wonder when I will truly be allotted a minute or two – no, an hour or two where I can really just say, “So what do you want to do now, Carrie?” and then just do that.