A doozy

Yesterday was a doozy. I waited to write about it because I didn’t want to be too “hot” and complain too much, but I do want to document it because… well… even the not great days are worth remembering, I think.

It was Halloween. The day started out with me exhausted and frustrated at Ellen’s sleep habits, admittedly not a good place to kick off from. Then Lewis yelled at us and defied us about everything from wearing socks to eating breakfast to how he walked down the stairs. Kyle carted him off to daycare screaming his face off because Kyle put his shoes on for him when he wanted to do it himself. Toddlers, amiright?!

I zipped off to a doctor’s appointment, Ellen in tow, got a suspect mole frozen off, and headed home. That was the last easy part of the day, because then Ellen started to scream.


She spent her entire day screaming. The only time she stopped was when I was working extremely hard at getting her to sleep. The only way I could get her to sleep was if I was rocking, bouncing, or patting her, and if I put her down for even a second, or stopped “working” at keeping her asleep, the screaming restarted.

At some point during all the screaming, I looked into her mouth and saw a white cap – that’s right, my 2 month old is teething already. Seriously. And she’s worse at teething than her brother, which I didn’t even think was possible. At least he kept his issues for the night time and we got a break during the day… and he waited until he was 6 months to start the madness and sprout a tooth. Miss Ellen is out of the gate early. But at least the screaming is explained and we know what we’re working with. Phew!

At some point in the afternoon, I decided that I would toss Ellen in the bathtub. She stunk, and she likes baths. So it was a win-win – clean baby, and a break in the crying.

Then she shit in the tub.

In case you’re not familiar, baby poop is not solid. So, we had a nicely blended poo/soap/water cocktail mixed up.

At that exact moment, Lewis’ teacher texted me and said that he had skipped his nap. She had tried everything, and recommended picking him up early and doing a car nap if we could swing it, because he was exhausted and she wasn’t sure he’d make it through trick or treating.

Sure. That sounds like excellent advice. Let me just scrub the poop out of my baby’s hair and armpits, and neck folds, and toes. Then I’ll clean the bathtub… and you know what? I’m just going to throw away the poop covered infant tub-sling. And the washcloth. Then, sure… I’ll pick the toddler up early. Except wait, the baby is screaming again, and I need to feed her, and she just pooped again so she needs a new diaper, and it is already 4pm so I’m not sure when exactly this “car nap” is going to happen.

I called Kyle. And hallelujah, praise the lord, he said he could leave work early and do a car nap with Lewis. BUT he gets stuck in traffic and doesn’t get to daycare until 5, and we’re supposed to be at our friends’ house for trick-or-treating by 6. Again, not sure when the “car nap” is supposed to happen.

Kyle comes to get me and Ellen, which results in Ellen being awakened from her lap-nap. Oh well, let’s go. We pack up and take the loooooooooong way to our friends’ house. Lewis does not nap in the car. Instead, he screams about how he “really, really” wants his bike. We appease him with candy (parents of the year? definitely). Ellen stays awake the whole time because of the screaming.

We arrive at our friends’ house, I take Ellen out of her car seat, she starts to scream, and I try to feed her. She eats a little, but mostly is distracted. She seems to get enough, though, because she won’t take the breast again. Did she really get enough? Because she won’t stop screaming.

Everyone else eats pizza. I walk around with the screaming infant.

I eat one slice of pizza in about 90 seconds flat, while Kyle holds the screaming infant. I take the screaming infant back and continue to pace while everyone suits up in their Halloween costumes.


They all leave to trick or treat, and Ellen and I stay behind. She screams and screams until she discovers her fist, which she chews on. She finds comfort in this, and the screaming stops. I begin to cry, both from relief and from disappointment.


I was exhausted, and so, so sad. I missed out on trick or treating with Lewis, and Ellen never even got to wear her costume, which I will now be returning – unused – to the store. Some first Halloween…

These babies will never exist again. These exact versions of them are here just for a blink. And I missed a blink of Lewis’ life yesterday while tending to a blink of Ellen’s.

I felt literal pain while Ellen was feeling pain. Not even Tylenol cut through her suffering, and I seemed to be the only thing that came close to helping her, until she found her fist. I would give up a million dollars to help one of my babies weather their suffering. I’d give up anything to help them.

But it is such a tricky feeling to have give up a moment with one of my babies to help the other. What do you do when what you give up for your baby is…your other baby?! I was where I needed to be, but my soul was torn. I had to triage my babies and decide who needed me most. Ouch.

That was…hard. I wish I had a better word to describe it. I hurt on so many levels yesterday. Parenting is painful sometimes. They don’t really tell you that.


The good news is that Lewis was a champ. He rocked trick or treating (or so I hear) even without a nap. He had so much fun that he wouldn’t stop talking about it the whole way home! My heart broke a little bit again when he asked if I would come with him next year… and he kept asking me if I was sad I didn’t get to go this year. But he had fun with his friends and with Kyle, and that’s what matters.

And Ellen is amazing. She’s just a tiny little baby. If she needs me, I’ll be there. She’s doing her best, and I’ll give her my best.

I won’t even go into the night we had last night after arriving back home. Suffice it to say that Ellen slept great, but Kyle and Lewis did not, so I didn’t get much sleep – like always. And Ellen has already had one blowout today and seems to be on another scream-unless-you’re-holding-me kick. And Kyle left on a 2 day trip so I’m going to be on my own with these two teething demons angels.

Sorry. I said I wasn’t going to complain. But man, some days are rough, you know? I’m looking forward to when we come out of this rough patch and can look back and laugh. I’m sure I’ll laugh reading back through this someday. I’m sure.

One thought on “A doozy

  1. I can understand your feelings as I have gone through the same phase with my two children born almost three years apart. But here in India we mostly live in joint families with in-laws, So when mothers of the new-borns are in need of some rest, the grandmothers or aunts take over from the mother. This way the baby gets attached to the others in the family too and after some time mothers find themselves not too engaged with the newborn. But trust me this is only a passing phase and in few years you will find the two siblings playing and spending time with each other and you and your family cannot stop laughing at their naughtiest antiques while trying to keep a straight face.

    Liked by 1 person

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