Monday, July 30, 2012

"Let her cry...if the tears fall down like rain. Let her sing...if it eases all her pain."

So blogging has been fairly low on my to do list lately. Mostly, that list has consisted of one thing: survival. To be honest, these last few weeks with Margaret have been tough, very tough. And Charlotte, though sweet natured, has been showing more of her toddler two side.

Yet, my little Margaret has been the one to frustrated, fatigue, sadden, and confuse me and make me question many of the things I had learned parenting Charlotte. My mom is so right when she says, “this is why you need a least two children, because no two are alike.” Charlotte was not a perfect baby. We had a lot to go through in the beginning and she definitely had sleep issues. The child did not nap for more than 20 minutes till after her first birthday. I can also remember some very long car rides and more than a few occasions when I wanted to pull my hair out. In general though, she was a good baby. And when all else failed, I could always count on nursing her to bring her contentment. Before Margaret, I thought nursing was the ultimate pacifier for all babies.

How different my little Margaret is!!! She could qualify for Olympic nursing because she does it SO fast. I’m talking 10 to 15 minutes max. Many of you moms may be thinking how fabulous. And for a short stent it seemed pretty great. But the problem, or so I have read, is that baby’s who nurse quickly can take in quite a bit more air making them gassy. Yes, she nurses fast but I spend the next 30 minutes trying to get all the burps out. I counted 22 yesterday. And she still gets very upset from gas. Lately, she has started screaming in the midst of nursing. I burp her but then she wants nothing to do with nursing. This has been hard for me. Yes, nursing did sometimes seem like an inconvenience with Charlotte, but I loved that bonding time. You don’t nurse a child till they are 14 months (she weaned herself) if you don’t enjoy it. Nursing Margaret doesn’t feel like bonding very much.

So I learned quickly that nursing wasn’t the pacifier I thought it to be. What does pacify Margaret? Well, there are times when NOTHING I seem to do calms her. This is hard for me because my tolerance of crying is low. I am beginning to wonder if I prayed for patience while pregnant with Margaret, and this is how God is going to hammer it into me.  When I can get her calm it usually involves patting her back while simultaneously walking/running, squatting, swaying, and making soothing noises. Yes, truly she wants all that at once!!! Honestly, she wants her back patted so much I worry she’s going to burp out a lung. I have thought of calling Webster and petitioning them to put Margaret as a synonym for Work.  I have never worked so hard in all my life and currently the yields are low J

Another behavior I’ve notice is overstimulation. She seems to be very easily over stimulated. When we are with friends or family or in a new place she can get extremely worked up. At first I didn’t recognize the signs, but now I notice that she may not immediately cry but her legs kick jerkily and she sometimes starts to drool. Unless I catch it fast and calm her, a major meltdown will ensue. This is probably why she loves the baby carrier: she is held close, kept in fairly constant motion, and although she can look around she can also just stare at me. I’m a huge fan of baby wearing but then again, I also have need for personal space. And my back could use a break. Bathing Charlotte, while wearing Margaret is no easy task!

My pediatrician tells me that colicky behavior tends to wane around months 3 and 4. And I know that babies change daily. In fact, today has been so much better than yesterday. Yesterday was one of those days were all the work and sleepless nights got the better of me. I was frustrated and angry. I am embarrassed to say that I was angry at a baby but I was. It is very hard when you work so incredibly hard to make someone happy without benefit. I also got angry that every moment I tried to spend with Charlotte, Margaret would go into fits. Charlotte is a joy and treasure to me, but I feel that lately she has had to fend for herself.  

I also have experience a lot of self doubt. Because every time Margaret cries and I can’t sooth her I feel like a failure as a mother. One of my mom’s friends made the comment: “I was never a perfect mother but it wasn’t for lack of trying.” Oh how I can relate to that! Yet, it seems the harder I try, the more I fail. And I feel things are so unbalanced right now. All my time seems to go to this little baby and I wonder where that leaves my eldest and my husband. I also feel guilt because I’m not always enjoying it. I loved Charlotte’s infancy. I loved nursing her, I loved holding her, I loved just sitting and telling her how much I loved her. Margaret gives these amazing smiles but she doesn’t seem happy for more than mere minutes at a time. I will start to try to just enjoy her but then she gets fussy and the pat, sway, and move circus begins.

I keep reminding myself of a few truths: She will not die from crying and neither will I (as much as it feels like I might). Tomorrow is a new day. The days are long but the years are short. Fatigue makes everything seem insurmountable. I will sleep again. I will type using both hands again one day J Crying takes too much energy, laugh instead. I followed my own advice yesterday. After leaving church and putting Margaret in the car seat, I hopped up front. It was then that I realized the entire front of my church clothes were covered in her poop!!! Turns out Swaddlers can’t always contain it all J

Yes, these have been some tough weeks but there have been some very happy moments as well. My dad came to visit and that is ALWAYS a treat.

We also made a trip to Covington to see family and let my brother Henry and sister-in-law Dana meet their new niece.

It was a busy, crazy, wonderful trip home. And it was great for Charlotte. Her cousin Lia is always on the move and seeing her really motivated Charlotte. She wanted to walk everywhere.


We also met the newest pup member of the family, Grizzly.

She is a sweetie.

There were a few meltdowns of toys but by the end of our visit the girls were playing well together. And they both had a blast playing with Papa.


Lia is so cute it kills me!


She is hilarious too. Love how she is patting Charlotte's head :)


Time for Hop on Pop.


Hop on Pop is now a flop!


So sweet!

The trip back was, in a word:…actually, I probably shouldn’t say that word. It was bad. Everyone was tired and in the middle of colds so we all cried most of the way. However, we survived and the colds seem to be tapering off. Charlotte also cruised for the first time when we got back. She is cruising more and more everyday.

Margaret wants the shimmy, shake, and pat routine so I best go. Let me say this though. It is incredibly hard work now but I love my girls. I love being a mom. I could not imagine doing anything else.

Who could not want moments like these:

Charlotte trying to get Margaret to talk on the cell phone!

Yes it is work.

But it is also JOY



MK said...

I so empathize with you. Duncan was very similar. I could share stories but I don't think they would make you feel any better other than I can tell you the good times now that he is 6 are sweeter because we struggled so much at first. Margaret is showing you that she is smart and aware of her surroundings and wants a say in her life. She'll be a CEO or entrepreneur or great mom someday. She will be a leader.

Elizabeth said...

Oh Esther, I would drive over to your house right this second if I hadn't promised dinner to my fam.
I know the kind of baby you're talking about with Margaret. Laura Beth was that one. Oh man! I need to call and say I'm coming to relieve you. I know about that patting and shimmying and shaking and carrying on. Oh wow. Plus LB spit up in volumes the milk that she consumed - and quickly too - just like you said.

It was so good, though, to see all of you at church yesterday!

Ann said...

I don't have enough ways to say I have been there! It's okay if you don't just love those newborn can even say it outloud, might make you feel better! But it will pass, I know you know that....but it feels like it won't when you are in the middle of it. How old is Margaret? Bc colic peaks at 6 weeks. And then I have always found very gradually gets better and by 3 mo. a screaming fit with no way to console is almost completely gone. Wish I could drop my kids somewhere and come help:)

Susan B. said...

Hi Ess! Thanks again for the pics of your cuties and your thoughts. Guess if it were my baby I'd let her cry it maybe that's why Jesus never blessed me with any?! Anywho, I think MK is on to something...Maybe MM just has a strong personality and will some day be a preacher or missionary to some far off African country. She complements Charlotte's mild temperament. You're very blessed and hope you get to enjoy more of it before it gets away. Love always! Aunt Choo Choo

Henry said...

Sorry things have been tough lately. The calling of a being a parent is not an easy one, but, as you know, it is a rewarding and joyful one when we trust in God's provision (of which I need to be reminded daily!).

One of the things I have observed that is difficult for parents, especially for mothers, is learning how to teach a child they are a part of something bigger. Certainly a child's needs must be met; they must eat, they must sleep, and they must be shown affection and discipline. But we must also teach them they are part of a family.

Teaching them this often seems to run counter to our natural inclinations (sometimes we make them the center and other times we may neglect them to one degree or another). The fact is, we cannot do this apart from God's help.

I will pray for you and Ben that God would give you strength for each day, but that also that He might lead you and Ben in teaching your daughters that they are part of something truly wonderful that our Creator established long ago...a family.

Love you all tons and hope to see you again soon,


Dana said...

I have to admit that I've been much more anxious about meeting Lexie and the work of caring for 2 children under 2 years old since Margaret was born. No offense to Margaret... I love her tons. :) But it makes me feel exhausted just thinking about all that you do day-in and day-out! It was so nice of y'all to come to Covington! We owe you a trip to Scottsboro, long overdue actually. It was so awesome to see Charlotte's progress!!!!! Also, I think you gave Lia too much credit with re: to "patting" Charlotte's head. Haha! Love the Hop on Pop pictures! That would make a great collection for a collage frame or something! Will continue to pray for rest, energy and peace for you all! Love you!

proud great grandma mimi said...

Loved this post Esther. You are an amazing Mom. Who else could bathe one child while wearing the other? That just cracked me up. You are doing a fine job, and you and Ben have two beautiful girls with very different personalities. I would love to squeeze them both right now. Love you all 4.

Kathy said...

Thanks for taking the time to post so we can know what you are experiencing and pray intelligently. My first child was a collicky baby with loud cries and screams. It's hard to discern how to help crying babies or ignore the crying. I found that timing the crying fits helped me realize the baby was not crying as long as it seemed.

Meghan said...

Oh my goodness, I am just reading this, and it kills me for you! Man, that is so rough. I know you love your girls, but I am sure you could use a break from the crying!

I wish we lived close to each other because I would love to give you that break. I'd be willing to take a turn driving the whaaaa-mbulance and let you get a pedicure or even just take a long shower and a nap.

You're a great mama. You will survive this!! But getting mad, crying, and being OVER IT sometimes does NOT mean you're not a good mom. It means you are HUMAN. haha I know you said you feel guilty, but please do not feel judged. You aren't.

Your mom told me something that my nana told her: "Those who have children will understand, and those who don't never will." I'm learning it applies in many, many facets of my life as a mom, and I'm sure that it does in this one too. You don't even have to explain because anyone who has had a rough night with a newborn is reading your post and thinking about if that night stretched on for weeks...and it makes me shudder. I'm praying for it to ease up!!