Sunday, February 15, 2009

Packing It Up

Last night was every bit as difficult as I'd expected, which means today Stephen was exhaused and I slept waaay too late. Gracie slept in with me, and it threw off all her naps. I tried taking her to Target to get her outside, but it turns out she doesn't really do any better unless we're physically outside getting fresh air (although I did realize that all our best days have happened after long walks outside, reinforcing my determination to NEVER have another winter baby unless we move to San Diego). I am not sure tonight is going to be any easier than last night, but I am trying to THINK POSITIVE.

While she was playing on the floor this afternoon, I was packing away NB and 0-3m clothes that she's outgrown. I'm not sad about her being bigger- I still say you couldn't pay me to relive those days. Instead, packing her stuff away makes me sad about reality vs. our expectations. I know that nobody expects to have a difficult baby, and there's no way to prepare for it, but it was really extra-shocking for me. I mean, I've been taking care of babies since I was eleven years old. I've been doing it for a living for the last twelve years. Gracie, though, man she threw me for a loop. I expected to be tired, I expected it to be hard, but I honestly never expected to feel like I suck at it. And most days, I feel like I suck at this.

Don't get me wrong, Gracie is SO much easier now, and her fussiness is significantly better, but she still cries a LOT. She's just hard to be around a lot of the time, to be completely honest, because it's hard to be around a constantly crying baby. Since we know that, we find that we isolate ourselves, because it's just easier when it's the three of us...but then that's not exactly fun, either.

So, I feel sad sometimes. I see other babies sitting sweetly in their strollers at the store, or think back to babies in church, or babies in restaurants, and I'm bitter and sad that Gracie can't handle that. Then I feel guilty for feeling sad, because the gorgeous, healthy baby I have wanted for as long as I can remember is here, and I'm pouting because she's difficult? Nice, mommy.

I also have moments when I wonder if Gracie is really that tough, or if someone else would be able to handle her just fine, and it's just me being a spaz and Stephen following my lead because he's never been around babies before. Most of the time I know that's not true, because I DO know babies and she's TOUGH, but I definitely have times when I feel like it's just all me overreacting and not just taking her in stride.

So as I packed away her sweet little Christmas dress, and her sleepers, and the pink and purple onesies she never even got around to wearing before she outgrew them, I thought about packing away all that sadness and guilt. Her newborn experience wasn't what I'd expected or wanted, OKAY ALREADY, be done with it and move on. It's a nice thought, but it's not that simple.

I swear I'm trying, though.


Laura said...

Oh Kathy! Big big Hugs. You are doing a fantastic job with what is a difficult situation. Motherhood isn't easy for anybody, but I can't imagine going through as many sleepless nights as you have. Gracie is a beautiful thriving child who is growing and learning because of all the hard work and love you've put in.

Take one day at a time, enjoy the smiles and coos and know that one day you'll realize how this has made you stronger (cliche, I know).

Sending good thoughts your way. Hang in there, we're here if you need us.

Jessica said...

Hopefully, this difficulty while she's little means that you'll have an easy time once she hits 13.

While Penelope and Abigail are sneaking out of the house and obsessing over boys instead of doing their homework, Gracie will be studying calculus and preparing for college entrance exams.

And even though Penelope isn't colicky, I still sometimes feel like a failure as a mother. I also wonder what I'm doing wrong that's going to mess her up later on... like if I don't lovingly gaze into her eyes at every feeding she's going to resent me or it's going to cause an eating disorder when she's older. You can drive yourself nutty with stuff like that.

HUGS - you're an awesome mom, and Gracie is lucky to have parents who are so understanding!!