Thursday, March 22, 2007

3/22/07 The dreaded afternoon

This morning after (our last!) music class, I took Julian and Katrina to Portal Park again. I have almost no photos of me and Katrina, so asked Kristi to take some, and she got a couple great ones!

These are scrappers. (That's a term I just made up for photos worth scrapbooking.) Thank you Kristi!

But once again, a nice morning yielded to a rough afternoon. Katrina was in desperate need of a long, solid nap, but woke up barely 30 minutes into an afternoon nap, crying and miserable. I checked her diaper, went through the usual futile motions of soothing, and put her back down, wide awake and screaming. I didn't know what else to do. So I anxiously paced and listened intently. More screaming. Julian was oddly cooperative about taking a nap, so I got him ready and read him a book, trying to disguise my tension and frustration. Still screaming.

The trouble with letting a baby cry, aside from the fact that it's intensely stressful and upsetting, is that you just don't know if it's gone too far, or if it's about to be effective. You invest so much effort into enduring it; for all you know the baby is about to give up. Or, for all you know, you should have gotten the baby a long time ago since it's hopeless and you hate yourself. But, of course, Katrina renders most options moot, since pretty much nothing I can do will soothe her. I can work hard at distracting her, but I didn't have the emotional energy to bounce her around for the next four hours.

Finally, after 50 minutes, she slowed down and finally settled down, for a good hour and a half. I was almost nervous to go see her when she woke up, feeling guilty and traumatized, but I was greeted with a beautiful beaming smile, of a happy baby who'd gotten a good nap. If only she could have told me two hours earlier that I'd end up stumbling upon the right thing.....

Man, babies can be hard. Shouldn't I be an expert by now? It seems the more experienced I am, the worse I am at it.

After the hard-won afternoon nap and a good long deep nursing, I have what has become one of my favorite parts of the day: playing with her on my bed, alone, with no little boys buzzing around. She's smiley and cooey and makes all sorts of sweet sounds, and I have fun making up ways to make her laugh. So afternoons are not entirely a bust.

Yesterday, Gabriel and I had fun helping Katrina practice sitting up. I put her on the floor with my legs on either side of her, then Gabriel and I counted how long she'd stay up until she started to topple. We got up to 10 once!

This message brought to you courtesy of the remaining few minutes of post-afternoon-nap baby happiness, and a small plastic bowl that's quite fun to chew on.


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