Saturday, January 05, 2008

1/5/08 The Party

Another wet, windy, miserable day! I love it.

I took The Three to the Y this morning, where one Childwatch lady exclaimed at just how well Katrina walks when she's pushing something around. Yeah, no kidding! She's 15 months old today. It's time, girl!

Then I took Julian to a little birthday party for one of his buddies from Tonya's. I thought it'd be nice to have some time alone with him, but mostly, I yakked with other moms while he played with the birthday boy (who refused to join the group for photos). I was struck by how the one girl there was so calm and quiet, and stuck close to her mother. It was fun, and Julian had a great time.

I'm mad at his friend Kyan's mom though, because she and her family are moving to San Diego this summer (that's Kyan in the orange jacket next to Julian). Not only am I going to miss her, but it sounds like paradise down there! Julian loves Kyan's mom, always giving her hugs and kisses, and he talked all the way back from this party about how he can't wait for Kyan's party. Kyan is a really sweet little boy; when he was a baby he'd crawl right up to me and sit in my lap, and I fell permanently in love with him.

Katrina had just gotten up from a nap when we got back, and she was an absolute disaster. I've only ever seen any of my babies in a state this bad a few times, and they were always sick. I have no idea what's wrong, though the recent slight fevers make an ear infection suspicious, though she showed no other signs of one.

And when she's unhappy, she is downright violent, flailing both arms at me with all the might her tiny limbs can muster. I tried taking her for a drive, since usually that busts her out of tantrums (oh god, can I use that word already?! aghh!), but she cried and screamed the whole way. I abandoned my plan and took her home -- it was too nasty to be out driving anyway.

Still having no idea what to do, and tiring of the relentless abuse, I gave her some Motrin, then let her suck water out of the dropper again and again. Anything for a few minutes' break from the crying! Then I took her into her room to get her satin blankie, just to comfort her, but she practically lunged for the crib. OK, whatever! I put her down, and she was calm, if not entirely quiet, for about two hours.

Then she was great the rest of the evening, and ate five containers of leftovers I had in the fridge as MREs* for her (mashed potatoes and broccoli, butternut squash, cream of wheat with banana, spaghetti, couscous and spinach, then yogurt).

It was interesting talking to the mom of the one girl at the party today. She mentioned that she had to get home, because her husband couldn't put their 2-year-old down for naps; and she'd also mentioned that her older daughter, who's almost 5, gets up at 4 or 5AM, which means mom is up too. By that measure, I'm really spoiled: the boys get up and usually don't bother us (though they've been waking Katrina, which is almost the same thing); and since 4 months old, anyone can put Katrina down.

It makes me think back to all the guilt that Dr. Sears and Mothering magazine lay on me about rocking and nursing babies to sleep -- what if my first baby had been like Katrina and just didn't do that? And frankly, doing those things with the first baby had lots of nice warm moments, but on balance, my memories of the whole sleep thing are painful almost to the point of bitterness. For every warm sweet "bonding" moment, there were hours of pacing a crying tired baby around in the middle of the night, and months of frustrating chronic sleep deprivation. I know it works well for some families -- certainly co-sleeping and no cribs and nursing to sleep did for my sister's family -- but next time a new mom expresses any angst about their baby learning to sleep on their own through some carefully monitored crying, I'll be all for it. I reject the guilt! And so does ornery Katrina, who now actually laughs sometimes when we walk in her room at naptime, thrilled to be lying down with her blankie.

Another event: we made to 15 months, but that's it. I'm done nursing. No more going through the motions; Katrina's hardly nursed for weeks now. I guess I'm supposed to feel sad about it, but now I'm wondering why I didn't stop this farce a long time ago. Another minor source of anxiety and conflict gone! Life improves step by step! And speaking of improving life step by step....!


*MRE = "meals ready to eat", for military troops

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