This was probably one of the hardest parenting weeks I’ve ever experienced (with the exception of our hospital stay). What started with a small cold that spread around our household over the weekend quickly turned into lots of whining, boogers, and sleepless nights. I can deal with the first two, but Clara refusing to sleep all night every night completely burnt me out.
When Clara turned eight months old, she entered the dreaded sleep regression. Getting her to sleep at night had already been a challenge, but then she started waking up 3-4 times EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. Oh yeah, it was like living with a newborn all over again. At first, we were able to get her to go back to sleep relatively quickly, ten-minute awake time at the most. But as time went on, it just got worse and worse. Nothing would make this child sleep.
About two weeks ago, her pediatrician became concerned there may be something more going on than just a sleep regression. Because she just waking up, she was waking up screaming bloody murder. Was she in pain? Was something scaring her? We had no clue. At her doctor’s recommendation, we took Clara to see a chiropractor last week. Maybe an adjustment would help her sleep, we’ve tried everything else, haven’t we?
She took her first adjustment like a champ! Seemed like she actually enjoyed the entire process. She immediately went to sleep on the way home and remained sleepy throughout the rest of the day. I tried not to let her sleep too much since I wanted her to get a good night’s rest. I was so hopeful this would work. It did not.
She was WORSE you guys! Woke up more times that night than she EVER HAD! Ok, maybe this is just a fluke. It was a rough night but we got through it. We moved on and she was slightly better the next night. Then she caught her cold and it set everything off again. I couldn’t blame her for not wanting to sleep when sick, she was congested and miserable. Lots of snuggles and movies on the couch for Mama and baby. I couldn’t complain about that too much.
This went on for about three days and I didn’t mind, but I was running behind on my work. I have a deadline approaching for a huge project I’ve been working on for the past two months. Wednesday morning came and it was time to take her back to the chiropractor for another adjustment.
This is where it turns into a sob story (literally). The previous night, Clara didn’t sleep hardly at all. She was up eight times. Yeah, I counted. She cried all morning before the appointment and screamed the entire ride to the office. By the time I pulled into the parking lot her face was splotchy and her eyes were red. She wasn’t the only one crying on the ride over. I was so exhausted and so overwhelmed that I cried in sync with her. I got my shit together and went inside. Held it together long enough to speak with the doctor and get Clara ready for her adjustment. Then she started screaming again. She wanted nothing to do with it. She screamed through the entire adjustment and I couldn’t keep my composure together any longer. I started bawling. Right there in the middle of the office in front of everyone. I couldn’t help it. Seeing my child so upset and not having any clue how to help her is so heartbreaking.
So, there we were, Clara and I crying together in the middle of the office. Talk about embarrassing! Oh well. I tell you what, I needed that cry. I’m only human and I can only keep it together for so long. We got through the appointment and left. Clara instantly fell asleep and I contemplated a lot on the drive home.
Ok, I swear, here’s where it turns into a happy post. I promise I’m not out to just complain about my life. I decided after having that good cry, I was going to shift my focus to all of the GOOD things that happened this week. Even though Clara was sick, she was still being such a goofy, sweet little ham. She is expanding her vocabulary every day and has recently learned, “Uh Oh!” She drops something and looks down and says it. I laugh every time. She climbs on everything and makes sure I see what’s in her hand after she grabs an object off of the table. Clara loves posing for the camera and making the silliest facial expressions.
When I started focusing more on the good rather than the bad, I started to feel so much better. Yes, it was a hard week. But I survived. I didn’t handle every hard situation in the best way possible. But I learned a lot about how to handle those situations in the future. I also realized I needed to get back to taking care of myself. Working from home and taking care of Clara 24/7 has made it very easy for me to completely forget about myself. Seriously, I could go three or four days without even thinking about showering. Gross, right? The other day, I had just enough shower time to shave one leg. Just one.
Today was a turning point for me. I had Mike drop off Clara at her Grandmother’s house for the day and I went to get my hair done. I knew I wanted to get some highlights and my usual trim. However, an hour before my appointment, I decided I wanted to change my look and chop my hair off. At least that’s what it felt like to me. My hair reached my waist, and it was NASTY. Dry, split ends, heavy, couldn’t do a thing with it. I have been rocking the mom bun since before I even gave birth. It was time for a change in my look and my attitude about life. Today was a new day and I needed to do something to solidify that. I made today about me and went in excitedly nervous. I had my hair stylist add highlights and toner to my hair, and then I had to her chop. Eight. Inches. Off. My head.
Guys, I haven’t had that much taken off at once EVER. This was so not like me. This was such a last-minute decision and it needed to happen. I knew I had lost myself this past week, but it wasn’t until I saw the new me in the mirror that I realized I had lost myself a long time ago. Nine and a half months ago to be exact. Today was about me. Today I was able to gain a whole new perspective on my life and feel so much better for it.
-The Upstate Blonde