Last night for dinner I had a 2mg Valium tablet. And I washed it down with a glass of red wine. Now don’t go getting all worried about me – if I had a real problem, I wouldn’t be writing about it here for all the world (well, some of it at least!) to see, would I? I’m just sharing my honest account about how frigging difficult parenthood (in my case single parenthood) is some days, and how there are times when it comes very close to doing your head in.
What I have is a toddler who – for some unknown reason – has spent the past couple of days driving her mumma na-na. Not all the time, mind you. She’s still her happy, gorgeous, cuddly little self when she wants to be. She eats her food happily and never grizzles – when she’s at day care. She goes to sleep when she’s meant to – while she’s at day care.
But for the past two nights, putting her to bed has been a revolting drama. My delightful child who has always gone to sleep within a few minutes of going to bed, has turned into a screaming, thrashing nightmare.
We haven’t changed our bed time routine. It’s still the same. The only thing that’s changed is that for the past three days she’s only had one daytime sleep. And it’s obviously not long enough to get her through the rest of the waking hours. So she’s probably over-tired. And explaining overtired to an overtired toddler doesn’t work. In fact, nothing seemed to work. Nothing I tried. Nada. Not one thing. At all.
I put her to bed and left her there for a while crying. I went in every little while to rescue from the floor puppy and bunny, who she sleeps with – along with her dummy – and put them back into her bed. I laid her down and patted her back. I tried to soothe her. In the end last night, she fell asleep in my arms sitting in armchair in her room (and is is where she finally fell asleep again a little after three this morning). But this is not something I’m keen to encourage (as much as I love the extra cuddles and kisses).
That all sounds so simple, but when dragged out over an hour, accompanied by fever pitch screaming, at the end of a working day, when I still had a million jobs to do – it was anything but simple.
At one point I closed my bedroom door then my ensuite door and turned the taps on so I couldn’t hear her screaming. I stomped my feet and had my own little tantrum. Because I needed to. Because I don’t understand what’s wrong. Because it feels so unfair to get the crap end of the stick. I know I signed up for it, and all parents feel it at some point, but I just feel really put out by it at the moment.
Bubba had been perfectly fine when I arrived at day care to pick her up, only for her mood to go downhill in the four minutes it took to walk home from there. She was happy to see the dogs, and wanted to be put down. But then wanting to be picked up. Until she was up that is. Not wanting anything she wanted a moment before.
On Sunday she had a complete melt down out of the middle of nowhere in the middle of the market. I was that mother, the one who can’t control her screaming thrashing child.
Then there’s the middle of the night. The past two nights we’ve had 60 and 90 minute screaming sessions (at 3am and 2am). Again, I tried everything I could think of to appease her and help her. Very little worked.
This, from a child who eats only food that I make, which is mostly organic. Who doesn’t eat anything processed and doesn’t eat sugar. I really hope this phase is physiological and not behavioural.
I know this is a bump and it too will pass. Her inscisor teeth will come through and the pain will go. Or she’ll wait a little longer to fully transition to one day time sleep so she’s less over tired.
Or some other miracle will happen.
By the time I finally got her to sleep last night, my nerves were frayed. The poor dogs were on the couch as close to the back door as they could manage – probably for a quick exit should their mumma totally loose her marbles. I had a mountain of things to do, because my family are coming for dinner tonight for my mumma’s birthday.
So I did what I knew was the right thing for me: I ignored the fact that I should be cleaning the house (and the floors – which look a lot like carpet there is so much dog hair on the floorboards!), and instead I put on some music, had my baby valium and a glass of wine, and cooked.
So tonight, even if everything goes to hell in a handbasket while I’m trying to put Bubba to bed, at least we’ll be enjoying risotto with root vegetables, sage and marscapone and following it up with my made-up-in-my-head version of key lime pie with maple crust. And we’ll be washing it down with a glass of French bubbles.
Even if the floors are still a mess.
Happy birthday to my Mumma!