Musings on Motherhood, Year 2

The second year of motherhood was quite a ride. Definitely not good for my blogging… I’m sorry I’ve been away, and especially I’m sorry I haven’t responded to the questions left to me in the comments. I just haven’t been checking in at all.

J’s sleep patterns got all messed up at 9 months old. He used to sleep for 45 min, wake up for 15 min, rinse and repeat, through the night, for weeks and weeks… It got gradually better but at 18 months he was up every three hours, still. It was only when he was almost two that he started to sleep through the night every now and then. Now, at 2 years and almost 3 months, he still wakes up once a night on most nights.

It’s been a heavy road. I never knew I could be so tired (and I know I said this in my one-year-motherhood post but even then I didn’t know how tired I really could be…) After some weeks of waking up every 45 min, it was really hard to go to bed at night because, well, what’s the point? You’re going to be up soon anyway… Since then I’ve been having a hard time falling asleep. Apparently there’s something called parental insomnia. It’s slowly getting better but I was tossing and turning past 1 am again last night.

Last year September our friends invited me for a baby-free sleepover. I left J with daddy and spent a night in a house with no kids. I told my mom about it a few days before, and she said “don’t be surprised if you can’t sleep. You’ll miss him.” Wrong. I slept like a log for 9 hours straight, and I really did NOT want to go back home the next day. I would have gladly stayed for a week.

I’ve had really, really low moment in my tiredness. I’ve been rocking J back to sleep the 17th time at 5 am, thinking, if I only knock his head against the wall hard enough to knock him out I might get some more sleep…

I’ve shaken my child in frustration when he was taking an hour or two to fall asleep for a nap – he’s always been a good napper, and that’s been my source of sanity, so on the days when the naps didn’t happen or took forever were the hardest.

I’ve been standing at the platform, looking at the approaching train, thinking, just one good push on the stroller, and I’d be able to sleep…

I know, in the sensible side of my brain, that I would never be able to sleep again if I did any harm to my child. And I would never, ever do such a thing. But I did want to be honest about this, just in case there’s another mom out there, struggling with the lack of sleep and the sometimes violent thoughts that come with it. You’re not alone. And we are not alone. These thoughts are surprisingly common. (I recommend a book called What Mothers Do, it’s a great read for any mom, it helps to put many things in perspective.)

Last year in July I started working. I work part time from home, and it’s taking up more and more of my hours during J’s naps and early evenings when he’s gone to bed. I don’t get to nap anymore, and that was really hard at times.

And last fall J and I went to visit my parents for two weeks. My mom asked me to come, she knew how tired I was and wanted to help. She knows what it’s like – I was a lousy sleeper as a child, and learned to sleep through the night on my own when I turned 5… The plan was for her to take care of J so I could sleep.

Great plan. But things don’t always go as planned… We were all sick during the visit, and J wouldn’t let go of me. That, plus the jet lag, and I was more tired when we came back.

I’m so very glad I’ve had friends nearby when my parents are so far. Channing, you’ve kept me sane… And Joanna and Jenny, thank you for always having the time to talk in the phone even if I haven’t seen you as often as I would have liked. And then there’s my most awesome group of online mama friends – you know who you are. ❤

There are many positive memories from the second year as well. I still love my son more than anything else in the world. I’m constantly amazed at how much more love fits in me, and it seems to grow each day. Sometimes I look at him and just want to hug him forever… And most of the time he doesn’t mind. 🙂

As precious as the first year was, the second was better. I’ve never been a baby person, and that hasn’t changed. I enjoy J’s company more now that we can do things together. We can play, build, and run, and it’s so much fun! He’s a curious child who wants to know what everything is and how it works. He’s obsessed with trains, planes and musical instruments. He speaks two languages and knows when to switch. And he likes to joke and tickle me and daddy, and make us laugh.

J loves to help around the house. He helps with the dishes, vacuums, mops floors and hangs the laundry out to dry with me. Tidying up his toys is another matter altogether – that only gets done if the vacuum cleaner is coming out next.

J loves hugs and kisses, and needs lots of cuddles when he wakes up. He loves carrots, apples and blueberries, and the beef stew daddy makes. He could probably live days on peanut butter and yoghurt. He won’t touch eggs, rice, potatoes or chicken. Or anything green – it’s his favourite colour so he won’t eat it, I guess…

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So that’s how it’s been, and I’m sorry I really haven’t had the time or the energy to write, ever… I have recipes I want to share, and some craft projects I’ve been making, but those can wait for another post. Which I’ll try to write in the next little while, really.

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