Train Wreck

>> Saturday, April 2, 2011

When things aren't going great, I have a tendency to hide. I stop returning phone calls from friends and family. I avoid facebook. I even shy away from the blog. The main reason is that I often feel like everybody's life is going better than mine. I am jealous, but more than that, I am embarassed. I don't want people to look at me and think "what a train wreck," or "thank God that's not me." I have realized lately, though, that this is probably the main reason why aside from my husband, I am essentially alone.

People have tried to befriend me, but I am too ashamed to let them into my life. I don't want them to know that our housing is subsidized, so I don't invite them over. I don't want to answer questions about how I'm doing, so I just don't call them back. I'm sure they are offended by my lack of reciprocity, but the fact is, I just always feel like I have nothing to offer and nothing to say. I don't want to return someone's call and be a total bummer about the fact that my life is totally out of my control. I don't want to be the friend they pity.

My life embarasses me. My job embarasses me. I don't want people to know that I got a degree and have a degrading, minimum wage job. I don't want them to know that we have no money, yet are on our SECOND unplanned pregnancy. I don't want them to know that our car was costing us too much money in constant repairs, so we are stuck taking the bus until we can save up for another. I don't want them to know how bad I feel about my life. That everything in it is completely out of control. That I am trying desperately to remain positive but I am mainly miserable. And so I'm basically alone.

I have no friends. I would never reach out to family for help, mainly because they all have their own problems and likely couldn't help me anyway. I am sad to say that I honestly have next to no prospects for who will watch my son when I'm at the hospital having our next baby. I felt like I was finally starting to make a few friends in my sewing class, but then I found out I was pregnant and had to quit that so I could start working. I was too embarassed to explain the situation, so I'm pretty sure they all think I just dropped off the face of the earth.

I really don't know what the point of this blog post is. I'm depressed. I'm exhausted. I am tired of taking care of a toddler all day, and then going to work all evening, and I have no idea how I am going to manage to do this for the remainder of my pregnancy. It doesn't help that I have to take the bus there and back--and hour (and two buses) each way, for a place that is ten minutes away by car. I am sick of feeling queasy. I'm sick of the fact that my hips and my back still hurt SO BAD  from when I was pregnant the last time, and now they are just getting worse. I'm sick of standing on my feet all day and torturing my body for what amouts to a desperately needed pittance.

But more than that, I'm scared. I'm scared because nothing in my life ever goes as planned. I'm scared that no matter how responsible I am, how conscientious, how hard I try or how much I work, nothing will ever turn out the way I want it to. I'm afraid that the rest of my life will just be me dealing with a bunch of roadblocks and setbacks, and never getting where I want to go or being able to do what I want to do. I'm terrified because I don't think I'm strong enough to live that life. And because if that is what it is going to be, I'm not sure that I want to keep going, and yet I have no choice.


When I was pregnant

>> Monday, February 14, 2011

When I was pregnant with my son, I was a massive ball of stress the entire time. I didn't know how we were going to survive. We were living in my parents' basement, unemployed, both going to school--it was simply dreadful. I cried all the time and more than once, considered placing my Sweet Baboo for adoption. I just didn't know how we could give him any kind of life, and I wanted better for him. Somehow, with God's help, we managed to pull it together just in time. But it was stressful, and I never want to relive that experience again.

I promised myself that next time, things would be different. My pregnancy would be exciting, rather than terrifying. We'd be living in a house, instead of a cramped apartment. Our kid would have a designer nursery, I would get professional maternity and newborn photos done, and we would have the latest and greatest in baby gear.

Well, apparently that is not going to happen.

Yep. That's two lines, people. Two pink lines. I'm pregnant. Again. Apparently no amount of IUDs or condoms are sufficient to keep my womb vacant.

I am surprisingly happy about it. I've written before about how I didn't know if I wanted any more kids, because of the timing issue. I knew it wouldn't be responsible for us to have another kid for at least another 5 or 6 years, and I didn't know how I felt about the kids being so spaced out. I wanted them to be closer, and have a better chance of relating to each other and being friends. I also didnt want to start all over again with the sleepless nights and diaper changes and breastfeeding. Well, it looks like now we don't have to worry about it. Baby #2 is due on October 7th, and has already been nicknamed Pumpkin, in keeping with the fall theme.

As you know, I've been looking for a job in the social services field. Since finding out I was pregnant last week, I've had to cast my net a lot wider, and I found something. Its not at all what I want to be doing, but I guess working at a sandwich shop is better than being flat ass broke. The wonderful thing about living in Canada is that once I work through my pregnancy (a minimum of 15 weeks), I'm eligible for a whole year of maternity leave paid for by the government. I need that year off, paid, so of course I am willing to do whatever it takes to have that time at home with our new baby. The other great thing about it is that I don't have to worry about day care. They will work around the hubbs school schedule, so that we can spilt the child care duties between us.

I may not be able to afford to have the pregnancy I thought I'd have this time around, but I'm not going to let that stop me from enjoying it. I have 9 months to practice newborn photography on my son's doll. 9 months to find the best used gear money can buy. Nine months to enjoy every stretch, kick and wiggle this kid throws my way. I could focus on the negative, but I won't.

My kids are going to be close together. And more importantly, they're going to be out of my house by the time I'm 44. Now that is worth celebrating!


Night Weaning, Night Four:

>> Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stock photo by dynamite imagery.
I put our sweet Baboo to bed at 7:30, nursing him to sleep as usual. When we got to the bedroom he climbed out of the bed and ran out of the room, and I thought "Oh, no, he's into the habit of running for the living room as soon as he gets to bed now." To my surprise and delight, he grabbed his baby doll and then came back to bed with a big smile. Looks like someone has found his lovey. He held his baby while I nursed him to sleep, and then I crept out as usual.

He woke for the first time at around midnight. He didn't ask to nurse. Surprise! Yay! Success! He snuggled up to me, got comfy, and then drifted off. He had a few wakings like this throughout the night, and didn't ask the nurse even once. I am thrilled. At around 4 am, he did ask to "Go." I had to physically pull him back into bed a few times, because I was NOT going to condone any more middle of the night trekks to the living room. Eventually he managed to wrangle his way out of my arms and over to the door. Thankfully, he just pushed it open, and then got back into bed. If he is more comfortable with the door open, that is absolutely no problem for me. He grabbed his baby and the drifted off to sleep, a state in which he stayed until 7:30 am. Woohoo! Of course he was allowed to nurse for as long as he wanted this morning, which he did for a full half hour.

Hopefully tonight goes even better, if that's possible. So far this experience hasn't been nearly as bad as I had thought it would be.


Night Weaning, Night Three:

I'm not exactly sure how to sum up night three. I was so tired that I don't think I have exact time frames for what happened and when. I put him to sleep as usual, and he was fine. 3 and a half hours later he woke up and wanted to nurse. I told him that it was time to sleep, and he could have milk in the morning. He cried, but this time only for five minutes. I thought, score! But two minutes later he was up again, asking for milk. I had stupidly forgotten to refill his sippy with water, so I ventured out to the kitchen to do so. He toddled out after me, and then didn't want to go back to bed. My bad.

The Hubbs played with him for a bit until he got worn out, and then brought him back to bed with me. I handed him his baby doll and told him it was time for him and baby to go to sleep. He settled right in without fussing and went to sleep. He was up every hour and a half after that. Sometimes he squawked, sometimes he just got comfortable and went back to sleep, but he didn't cry.

Sadly, he didn't sleep in the next morning either. He was up at 6. I was not happy. The Hubbs had an 8 am class so he was out the door, and I was home with a cranky tired baby. Ugh. Night three is supposed to be some kind of breakthrough, so I was pretty worried that we had just replaced the habit of nursing back to sleep all night with the habit of getting up to play in the living room.


Night Weaning, Night Two: The Milkshake Shop is Closed

>> Monday, January 24, 2011

Night Two:
I put our Sweet Baboo to bed by nursing as usual at around 6pm. He was out cold by 6:15, at which point I snuck out to spend some time with The Hubbs.

The First Waking:
He woke up at around 9:00 pm wanting to nurse, and I let him know that the milk was sleeping and he could have some in the morning. He was very angry and cried and screamed and ran out of the bedroom. I brought him back to bed and offered him a cup of water, but he wouldn't take it. He refused to lay down and instead waved his arms around to let us know that he was NOT HAPPY. This lasted about 30 minutes, until he realized that I wasn't going to give in and he laid down beside me and fell asleep. He slept for SIX HOURS STRAIGHT, which is pretty much unheard of around these parts.

The Second Waking:
Next he woke up at 3 am. I let him know that the milk was sleeping and told him to go back to sleep. He rolled over and fell back asleep instantly. Five minutes later, though, he was looking for  milk again. I told him the milk was sleeping, and he decided he didn't want to be in bed anymore. He tried to get me to "Go! Go!" but I didn't move and told him it was still night time and he needed to go back to sleep. He squawked a couple of times, but didn't cry. His baby doll was with us, so I told him that it was night time and the baby needed to go to sleep. He put the baby down on the pillow beside me, then came and snuggled in to my other side, where he tried to put himself to sleep for about half an hour. He rolled around in a bunch of different positions, including one that had him laying across my chest with his hip bone in my throat.

Eventually he sat up, sighed, and said "Eat, eat." I realized he was probably hungry since he'd had an early dinner at my parents' house (4 pm) and nothing since. I felt horrible for not thinking to give him a snack before bed, so from now on I will make sure that he eats something right before he goes down so he's not craving calories. I brought him to the living room and gave him some cheese and crackers, and he sat on his toddler couch and ate them while watching a DVD (I know, bad). I tried, unsuccessfully to get him to go back to bed a bunch of times, but I think with eating at 3:40 in the morning he was probably confused and thought it was breakfast time.

I FINALLY managed to get him into bed at around 6:30 am. We were both exhausted. I think he thought it was naptime, rather than a continuation of bedtime, because he did NOT understand why he couldn't have milk. I had considered letting him nurse, since it was kind of a nap, but I really wanted to keep things clear by sustaining the boundary that we nurse when the sun comes up, and not before. He fussed and wasn't happy, but then suddenly he laid down, pulled my hand over to his head (which I interpreted as him wanting me to rub his head, so I did), and within 2 minutes he was out. I think me rubbing his head helped, because  I used to stroke his hair at night while nursing, so I think that still comforted him, even in the absence of milk.

We slept in until 10 am, which meant we missed our Parent and Child group and that our nap schedule today will be all thrown off, but  hopefully the result will be better sleep for all of us. When he woke up this morning I told him that it was light again, and it was morning, so it was time for milk. He enthusiastically obliged.


Night-Weaning a Toddler: Night One

>> Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Reason:
This week we decided we were going to night wean our little guy. I have been waking up to breastfeed him on demand for 18 months now, and it was just getting to be too much. I knew I was finally ready to take the plunge because the thought of three nights with absolutely NO sleep seemed better to me than continuing as we were. In the past I'd always put it off because I just wanted to sleep that night. I think now I'm officially in a place where it would be impossible to be more tired, so I thought why not go for it lol.

In all seriousness, I was starting to resent him, resent the fact that The Hubbs hasn't had to get up with him since he started refusing the bottle at 10 months, and above all, I just felt like I was starting to lose my grip. I felt myself slipping into a bit of a depression, honestly, crying at the drop of a hat, and barely able to function during the day. Sleep deprivation will do that to you. It was time to make it stop.

The Method:
At first we were going to use the Dr. Jay Gordon method, which takes nine nights. You choose a seven hour period in which you don't want to nurse (he suggests 11-6). The first three nights you nurse your baby whenever they wake up, but you don't let them fall asleep on the breast. This is supposed to help break the association between milk and sleep. The next three nights you don't let them nurse at all, you just soothe other ways (rocking, singing, patting their back, talking, etc). The next three nights you don't nurse, and you soothe them very minimally. We were looking at this method because it can be done while bed sharing, and it doesn't require that you suddenly wean completely.

We were supposed to have started the night before (Friday night) but as I geared up for the fight night of step one, I realized that our Sweet Baboo doesn't nurse for very long OR fall asleep while still latched on. I'd be all ready to pull him off and make him fall asleep on his own, except he beat me to it. He would nurse for 30 seconds, then roll over and drift off by himself. So I called that night a freebie and decided just to scrap the next nights of step one all together.

The second modification we did to Jay Gordon's method is that we decided against having milk be allowed before 11 and after 6. I just thought it would be too confusing. Our Sweet Baboo doesn't go to sleep at the exact same time every night. Depending on the day he's had, and how tired he is, he goes to bed anywhere between 6:30 and 9:30. I just felt it was too arbitrary to assign certain times for him to not be able to nurse, because he doesn't know what time it is, know what I mean? And I get the idea of conditioning their biological clock to not nurse for a certain amount of time, but since his bedtime varies largely, I decided that I am just not going to nurse at all during the night. That way every time he wakes up he doesn't have to wonder if he can nurse yet. He just knows he can nurse when the sun comes up, and not before.

The First Waking:
So last night I nursed him to sleep as usual. Two hours later he woke up and wanted milk. I went in to bed and informed him that the milk had gone Night Night, and he could have some again in the morning. He, predictably, flipped out. He was MAAADDDDDDDDD. He cried, he tried to fight his way through the multiple shirts I was wearing to make this a little easier, he yelled "Milk!" over and over and over. After about a 40 minute tantrum, with me rocking him, singing, rubbing his back, and telling him that the milk was night night and he could drink it again in the morning, he decided he wanted to leave the bedroom. I knew that would happen, because whenever he can't sleep he decides he'd rather play. I decided to bring him out to the living room for awhile just so that he could take a breather and calm down, since he was so upset. I also let him have a sippy cup of water since our house can be dry. He drank it and seemed genuinely thirsty, so I'm glad I did that. I decided to keep the sippy in the bedroom from now on so he can access it at night if he needs a drink, since the milkshake shop is closed from here on out during evening hours.

The Second Waking:
When we went back to the bedroom half an hour later, I reminded him that the milk was sleeping for now and he would have milk in the morning. He wasn't happy. He cried and fussed, but he didn't scream like he had earlier. He was upset for about 20 minutes. This time I decied not to rock him or sing to him (which seemed to just rile him up more) but instead I just laid down and said "It's time for night night, come lay down beside mama and go to sleep." He sat still for a moment, considered this, then came over and laid down beside me. He snoozed for about 5 minutes, then woke up again. He fussed and tried to get milk for another two minutes, but when I asked him to lay down beside mama and go to sleep, be obliged. We slept for two hours.

The Third Waking:
He woke up again at around 2 a.m., but when I said "The milk is sleeping. Go to sleep," he cuddled up and nodded off immediately.

The Fourth Waking:
The next wake up was at 5, and I was tempted to give in since it was close enough to his normal waking time, but I really wanted him to grasp that we don't drink milk until we're up for the day. I didn't want him to be up for the day at 5, so I told him that the milk was sleeping and to go to sleep. He tried to get me to get up, saying "Go, go!" which is what he says when he's ready to get out of bed in the morning, but it was too early so I just told him it was still night time. He was upset for about 5 minutes, and tried physically prying my head off the pillow, but then he realized it wasn't going to happen and decided he'd deign to snuggle his mom and go back to sleep.

The Morning After:
When he woke up next, the sun was coming in behind the curtains, and I said "It's morning! The milk is awake!" He had a big smile and said "Milk!" I let him drink for as long as he wanted. When I looked at the clock, I was suprised to realize that it was 8 am! He never sleeps that late! Makes sense, though, since we had such a rough night. I hope tonight is easier. I'll keep you posted.


The Plague

>> Saturday, January 8, 2011

There is a decision I am years away from making. I know that I don't need to think about it right now, that I don't need to decide right now, that anything could happen over the next few years to tip the scales in one direction or another. I know this. But I can't stop thinking about it. It's consuming my thoughts. I dream about it at night. I go back and forth SEVERAL TIMES A DAY on what my decision will be. I kid you not, in the morning I am set in my resolve to do one thing, and by the afternoon I am equally resolved to do the opposite. This decision is something that other people seem to just instinctively know. But I don't, I really don't. This is the question. This is the dilemma:

Will we have any more kids?

I'm a planner. I like to plan. And we had a plan. A good one. It was that we'd finish school, get established in our careers, travel, buy a home, and then at 28 we would have a baby. Then we'd have another one almost immediately, resulting in two under two.

What is that saying about the best laid plans?

We had our son way earlier than we'd planned. About five years earlier, to be exact. So of course everything else fell out of sync, and the plan went with it. Right out the window. The Hubbs still isn't finished school. Neither of us have started our careers, because I'm home with our son. There's no time or money to travel right now, and we may have our home somewhere between the ages of 30 and 35 (5 to 10 years from now, if you aren't keeping track).

Money is a huge issue. They say it makes the world go round, but it also has the power to stop your world in its tracks, if you don't have it. And we don't. We can't financially manage to bring another kid into the world right now. But even when I do finally find a job, the Hubbs doesn't think he wants to have any more kids while he's in school. Did I mention that he's going for his PhD, and will be in school for 6 more years? That would be one hell of an age gap. Do I want to have my children be six years apart? Do I want to start ALL OVER with the breastfeeding and the diaper changing and the never sleeping through the night for years and years?

Unfortunately, my relationship with my own sibling is fraught, and that plays into my ambivalence quite a bit. I just don't know if I want to bring another child into our home who My Sweet Baboo may not get along with. What if they are like night and day? What if they can't stand each other? What if all they do is fight, and I spend the rest of my life being a referee instead of a mother?

What if Baboo is lonely? What if he has no one to play with? What if our vacations suck because there's no one around to do kid stuff with? What if he doesn't get married and have children of his own, and then the Hubbs and I die and he is just totally alone?

What if I bring a potential enemy of our child into our home? What if I deprive him of a best friend for life? I just don't know. I can't predict how my current child will turn out, and I have no idea who my next one will be either. It is a total crapshoot. I can't have another kid with the expectation that they will be a playmate and friend for my son.

So the question is, do I want another child? Not do I want my son to have a playmate and friend, but do I want another kid?

And the answer is, I don't know.



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