Afternoons have gotten hard enough that today, when Katrina went down for a nap, I didn't spend any precious baby-free moments working on Julian's nap, figuring she'd be up in about 40 minutes anyway. I needed to make the most of every second.
Sure enough, 35 minutes into the nap, she woke up crying. But, she was crying in such a way that made me think she'd go back to sleep, and she did. Incredibly, she wound up taking a nearly 2-hour afternoon nap, a major blessing. She was still crabby and demanding afterward, but at least I had a little less crabby and demanding time. And some good time too.
Meantime, not napping Julian was a huge mistake. He and Gabriel drove me crazy, fighting, bugging each other, bugging Katrina, not listening to me, and countless timeouts. Between Gabriel's defiance, Julian's screaming and Katrina's grumpiness, today was downright traumatic. I was really an awful person today; shouting, snapping at seemingly the tiniest thing, barely able to crack a smile at the numerous cute and fun things kids always do.
At 4:30pm I couldn't take it anymore, and demanded to Julian that he go upstairs for a nap. To my amazement, he immediately cooperated. His attitude went from petulant and obnoxious to agreeable and sweet as soon as he realized he'd get some one-on-one time with me reading to him. This only intensified my guilt.
I really have to do something drastically different. I'm not doing anyone any good being so stressed and on edge, and the boys are picking up my snappy manner. It's intensely stressful for me having to carry a baby around all afternoon -- even just sitting down is met with wiggles and cries. My wrists and elbows feel swollen by the end of an afternoon. And that's with a light baby. I don't know how Lacy does it.
My guess is that much of Katrina's afternoon misery is simply boredom. Gabriel was much the same way, needing to get out a lot, but since he was my first baby, I could make quick baby-entertainment trips. Going to Trader Joe's counted. With the other two in tow, it's a lot harder to do such things without it turning into a huge production, especially with Julian napping.
Meantime, I need to prepare myself : practice some deep breathing, and find ways to gather myself for more hours of walking around carrying a grumpy baby while constantly nagging the boys to quit fighting, keep their hands out of each other's faces, stop fighting, leave Katrina alone, no fighting, and once and for all do NOT grab Katrina's feet when I'm carrying her! And STOP FIGHTING!!!!!!!!!!
Tonight I went to the Y again, mostly for stress management and stretching, since I really did a number on myself yesterday and am a little sore. Relief turned to disappointment when I realized the pool was open, and not crowded. That's exactly what I needed, a swim! Next time. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe thinking about going to the Y will help keep me from flying off the handle. I'm going to need a lot of strength for another afternoon like today.
This morning there were a few fun moments, though every few seconds during this sibling-love scene were peppered with, "let go of her hands let go of her hands let go of her hands LET GO OF HER HANDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" She's usually fine, but I'm never sure when Gabriel or Julian are going to go too far.
A crummy camera-capture:
I can't believe I'd ever think this, but sometimes I can't help but to wish that Katrina's brothers loved her just a little less. Please let me forget I ever said that. I hope they will.