I had one of those days yesterday.
I’m sure you’ve heard of them. You know, the ones where a stay-at-home mom can’t get anything right? Where she doesn’t shower, get dressed, or leave the house? It’s true, the rumors you’ve heard – it DOES happen.
There was a melt-down around 11 am. Ronan was exhausted. He was crawling around the living room floor and whining. He’d crawl up to me, and bury his face into my leg, and moan. He was literally screaming, “I need to SLEEEEEEEP!” in baby talk. So, I picked him up, took him to his room, and nursed him to sleep. We don’t do that very often, and it’s usually a nice and easy path to a good nap. This time, the moment I laid him down in his crib, despite nursing, he was wide awake.
Now, Ronan has this neat trick. We’ve been trying for almost 2 months to put Ronan down “drowsy but awake” every single time we lay him down. We’re trying to encourage him to learn to fall asleep without being held or rocked. But if he’s TOO awake when you lay him down, he just arches is back, throws his arms up in the air, and starts trying to get up. So, we pick him back up, rock him again until his eyelids start to droop, and put him down again. Typically I have to do this 2 or 3 times before I get him to stay down and fall asleep. I usually keep my hands on him for a little while so he doesn’t feel like I’ve just left him.
Yesterday? I put him down the third time with his eyes already closed, and he jacked them WAY open, turned over and grabbed on to my arms. I picked him back up. Rocked for another 5-10 minutes, laid him down, and he flipped onto his belly and started crawling. The fifth time, as soon as I put him down he started crying. The sixth time, I rocked until I was SURE he was asleep. Then, when he arched his back and pushed away from me, I tried to hold him down. Yes, I kept my hands on him forcefully as I said through gritted teeth, “You’re EXHAUSTED Ronan. GO. TO. SLEEP.”
And then I realized what I was doing. I was trying to hold my WIDE awake child still and will him to sleep. I had spent over 30 minutes trying to get him to sleep for his 45 minute nap. I was getting so upset I couldn’t see straight. I started crying and crying. I brought him downstairs and told him spitefully, “Fine. Stay up forever. I don’t care.” I felt like a horrible mommy, and thought that someone should immediately come and take him away from me; his dad, social services, maybe even the goblin king.
After that, a funny thing happened. Ronan would crawl over to me, and pull himself up on my arms. He’d lay his head on my shoulder, and smack his full-on open mouth against my cheek. He’d laugh and smile at me. He’d make me laugh and smile back at him. And everything was okay again.
What can I say? The kid can be frustrating beyond belief sometimes… but he’s still so amazing I can hardly believe he’s mine.