Parenting isn’t always fun

Three days of working from home with the kid, followed by the weekend… and I was spent. Lewis slept pretty well, with the exception of one night, so I was well rested. But sometimes being rested still isn’t enough to handle a teething, grumpy toddler.

My patience was tested. It wore thin. I snapped. I was frantic 80% of the time. There were moments where I was so upset that I could feel it as a physical sensation in my body, and my only safe release was to scream. Which I did.

Kyle may not have been there Wednesday through Friday during the work day, but even with just evenings and the weekend of toddler-madness, he was frustrated and upset.

We know why Lewis was having a rough time. The poor kid is clearly in pain from his canine teeth coming in. And he seemed extra tired, perhaps from growing (he sure has been eating a lot…). So when we weren’t upset, we were empathetic. We know that he is suffering, and we know that he has so few ways to express himself that sometimes tantrums and acting out are all he can do to get through to us. But even armed with empathy, we aren’t always able to muster up the patience we needed.

This is something we’ve been working on – Intentional patience. Patience despite ourselves. And after the most trying week (behavior-wise) we’ve ever experienced with Lewis, I can say that we have made great strides, and I’m very proud of us.

And when we failed at “intentional patience” and felt ourselves losing it, we resorted to other strategies more often than not. Because the frustration is such a physical sensation for me, the gym/working out has been a godsend. Using that as a physical outlet pushed the reset button for me on several occasions over the last week. Kyle even banished me to the gym on Friday because he could tell I was on the verge. And I, in turn, banished Kyle to the golf course on Sunday, because peace and quiet seem to help him. He also took himself on a long drive on Saturday with the windows down to clear his head and push the reset button on his temper.

We love Lewis so much. So, so, so, so much. We even love him when he is throwing tantrums, throwing food, clinging to us, climbing up the stove (when it is on!!!), banging toys against the wall, playing in the garbage can, climbing behind the baby gate while mommy is working, pulling his diaper off, getting into the dishwasher, standing on his ride-on toy instead of sitting, and more.

We love him all the time. But parenting isn’t easy, even when you have all the love in the world. We’re going to keep working on intentional patience, calm interventions, and empathy to accompany that love so we can survive the rough patches.

And we’re going to remember our coping mechanisms, use them when we need to, and encourage each other to recharge when we aren’t recognizing that need in ourselves or allowing ourselves to take the time we need. We’re going to get through this together, and at the end of it all, Lewis is going to know he is loved and understand the rules and boundaries. It just doesn’t happen overnight!

News! Developments!

A few life highlights from the last few weeks:

1. Kiddo has started on his canine teeth. Two days after his 4th molar came in, I spotted the telltale white dots on his gums. It was a short break, but so far he has only been grumpy and clingy during the day and has been sleeping better at night. I guess they’re not as bad as the molars. Hallelujah!

2. My student loans are paid off!!!!

3. Kiddo has learned a whole bunch of animal noises, and he can point to a few body parts if you ask him to, like ears, mouth and nose. Very cute!

4. I think I may have wiped the kid’s nose with my shirt one too many times, because earlier he felt stuffed up, walked over to me, pulled down my shirt, and wiped his nose on it. I have to be more careful about the things I teach him! He is watching.

5. Lewis is so obsessed with shoes, that he must wear his sandals at all times, or else. Subsequently, we have had to introduce “washing our feet” as a part of the bedtime routine, otherwise I end up gagging from the stench while putting kiddo to bed. This routine includes a baby foot massage with lavender soap. I wish I could pull off a similar trick… a nightly foot massage sounds lovely!

That’s all for now, folks!

Sizing up!

In addition to getting his 4th molar today, kiddo has officially sized up in our favorite clothing brand.

I’d say probably 80% of his clothes are from there, so this felt like a major milestone and a huge swap-out!

After noticing how his clothes were fitting, we weighed him this evening and he came in at a whopping 24.5 lbs. This is considerably more than we’ve ever clocked him at. And he is also able to reach things on the kitchen table almost to the center of the table, so he’s getting tall too!!!

Sigh… he’s so big. My tiny peanut is gone and this gigantic human boy is left in his place.

I don’t want to turn him back into a peanut, because I love him just the way he is, and even more for each inch he grows and each pound he packs on and each new trick he learns.

But sometimes I miss the old version of Lewis and wish that tiny Lewis and big boy Lewis could be here at the same time. Oh! How full my heart would be then!

This messy boy with the crazy hair is the proud owner of FOUR…

This messy boy with the crazy hair is the proud owner of FOUR MOLARS. That’s right, my friends. All the molars have popped through as of this afternoon. Hallelujah! 5 weeks of sleeplessness, screaming, and suffering (for all of us) are over!

In the moment

Lewis’ sleep issues and our busy schedule have been forcing me to live in the moment. I have been incapable of dwelling on anything, or looking too far ahead, because I’ve been so darn tired. It has also meant less blogging, since I’m too busy living.

Other than the whole exhaustion thing (and now a raging cold), it has actually been a nice lesson. Living in the moment, being present with my child, and being focused on the “now” is a lovely way to go about life.

It has meant that we closed on our refinance, spent time with family, did a whole lot of chores, got out of the house, exercised, worked, ate meals together, etc. without feeling stressed or hurried. We were just there, doing life.

If I pause for a moment and try to look at what is coming, we’re looking pretty good. Lewis’ 4th molar is making its way through, which means the light at the end of the sleeplessness-tunnel is very close. I will be paying off my student loans this Thursday. I will be attending my best friend’s bachelorette party after all, meaning I get a much-needed weekend away. And I connected with some moms in the area last week, and we have plans to meet up again next month.

Not too shabby. Now excuse me while I go back to living my life, instead of telling you about it. πŸ™‚

My silly goose

Lewis has been hilarious lately, with the exception of his aversion to sleep. Below are some highlights of his new, fun habits.

1. He has started calling pretzels “choos” because we always say “chew, chew!” When he eats them. He sometimes needs the reminder with crunchy snacks. But the message is clearly being misunderstood.

2. They take naps on mats on the floor in the wobbler classroom at school. So now when we’re playing, sometimes he’ll throw a blanket on the ground, lay on it, and say “night night”. Over and over. So cute!

3. He wants to wear his sandals at all times. Just woke up in the morning? Grabs shoes and demands they be put on his feet. Just changed his diaper? “Shoe? Shoe?” They do make his feet stink, so wearing them all day long feels a little unnecessary. But he screams if you won’t put them on! And as soon as they’re on he is happy as a clam.

4. He has learned to fist pump and chant USA while watching the Olympics. His pronunciation leaves something to be desired, but he gets pretty into it!

5. When the Olympic gymnasts jump or flip, he busts out laughing. He thinks it is the greatest thing he’s ever seen.

6. We discovered he loves showers. So much so that he walks into the shower stall with his clothes on and just waits for us to get the party started.

I’m sure there are more adorable and amusing things kiddo has been up to. But I just got him down for a nap and I need to take one myself. 4 hours of sleep last night is just not going to cut it. So the list ends there for now!

I have been up 1.5 hrs now with the kid.

2 failed crib transfers and building frustration as I start attempt #3 to get the kid back to sleep and into his bed without him waking back up again.

I’m digging so, so deep to try to find some patience. I know I must have some left somewhere in there. But it is buried so far under this pile of fatigue and frustration that it is quite difficult to unearth.

Positivity

I am enjoying a positive mood spike lately which I hope sticks around for a while. I feel like everywhere I look, there’s something to feel good about.

It all started on Saturday when we went swimming. Watching my son enjoy the water filled my ex-water polo-playing soul up to the brim. But it was my first time in a swim suit since giving birth, and I was nervous that I was going to feel uncomfortable in front of people with so little clothing covering my new body, and that that would take away from the experience with my son. But I was pleasantly surprised at how fabulous I felt! I was in a one-piece, but I think I would have felt equally awesome in a bikini. And you know what? That’s how I should feel. Even with the stretch marks and a few extra lumps!

I have been working out with my new workout videos pretty consistently, which I’m sure has a lot to do with how I felt in the swim suit, as well as with my overall mood. Those endorphins are so magical! I haven’t really noticed much of a difference on the scale – only about 1.5 lbs – but I feel like I look like I’ve lost 5 lbs already. My shape is changing faster than the scale is, and that is making my clothes fit better and bringing my confidence up.

We’re looking at closing on our refinance this month, and that means that we have no mortgage payment this month. Additionally, we’ve got some extra cash coming in at closing and from a generous gift, so I have been re-working our budget with the extra cash in mind. I think we’re going to be able to kiss my college loans goodbye this month, which is about a year before I had originally planned. It will be so liberating!

Combined with the lower mortgage payment and less daycare expenses, ditching the student loan payment is another positive impact on our monthly budget going forward. We always feel so stressed by money, and I can feel some of that stress melting away. Feeling less squeezed is going to impact the mood in our family every single day! And our budget forecast for the long-term into the beginning of 2018 is now looking so shiny and bright that I almost need sunglasses to look at it!

AND it is the olympics. I love watching the olympics. Watching people achieve their goals and live their dreams is about as inspiring and mood-lifting as anything else I can think of.

To cap all of it off, I got a full night of sleep last night for the first time in quite a while. Lewis isn’t done with the teething game, but at least I got to recharge for one night. Now I feel better prepared to be up with him tonight, if he needs me.

Not a bad report, for a somewhat soggy Monday in August!

 

With each additional night of night wakings, getting up gets harder. Keeping my eyes open feels impossible.  My patience gets thinner. My days get tougher. My energy stores wane.

This won’t last forever. I think I can I think I can I think I can.

Good news

Two bits of good news on this tough day:

1. The second of four molars has peeked through Lewis’ gums. That just leaves 2 more, and I can see the little white spots below the surface indicating they’re on their way. So… maybe there is an end in sight.

2. Our home appraisal came back where we needed it to! It was just at the minimum we needed, not a penny more, but we’re so relieved! We can move forward with the refinance and the deep, long term savings that come along with it.

Screaming baby is asleep at the moment. Hoping that after his nap he will no longer be “screaming” baby so the rest of the day can be easier. But I’ll revel in the bits of good news for now.

The return of night wakings

I have been up with Lewis 4 out of the last 5 nights, if my count is correct. It might be more.

Sometimes we’re up twice.

I’m over it. I enjoyed regular, predictable, consistent sleep much more. Once you’ve left the regular night wakings behind, it is really hard to go back.

So there’s only one thing I can say: Molars, go to hell. You’re ruining everyone’s day. And night. You’re jerks and you need to stop it.

Wobbler

It’s official! My little buddy is a wobbler!! Lewis moved up from the “infant” classrooms to the “wobbler” classroom, where he should be for the next year or so, before moving on to “toddlers”.

He started in his new class yesterday, and I was quite nervous about how he’d do with the transition. He is so bonded to his old teachers in the infant classroom, and I wasn’t sure how he’d do with all the new teachers and new surroundings.

No come-rescue-your-child phone call came during the workday, much to my delight, and when I arrived to pick kiddo up, they reported that he only cried twice – once when they had to come back in after being outside, and once when his favorite infant class teacher came to visit and then left. Not bad!!!

He is still a little funny about which things he’ll eat because he isn’t the biggest fan of chewing, so he refused some of the provided food (guys… they provide food in wobblers! huzzah!), but that wasn’t the end of the world. He just ate a lot of bananas and crackers with hummus. And today I left a few pouches to cover the eventuality that he refuses more food today. Hopefully these pesky molars that are slowly slowly slowly working their way out will help him get over his chewing-aversion!

I couldn’t be prouder of my little munchkin for transitioning so smoothly. He’s getting less and less nervous around strangers, and is getting much more social and interactive with other children. It is such a delight to watch him come out of his little baby shell and turn into a “wobbler” butterfly.