Rope.

No sleep. And no patience. And no energy.

I’m so tired. I’m tired of being a bad momma, and a bad wife, and a bad housekeeper. I’m tired of being a bad friend.

I can’t remember ever having a day as bad as today. I love my kids, I do… but something has to give soon, before I have a mental break.

I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know how to move beyond this. I feel like we’ve sought help and asked all the right questions, and nothing changes. I feel like there is something wrong and no one is noticing. I feel like this is NOT NORMAL, and everyone keeps brushing it off as normal.

Ronan is not a normal kid. He’s sweet, and funny, and kind… but he also is very strong willed, and doesn’t ever want to veer from the path he has chosen. He has no regulatory ability, which means when he starts getting over-excited, he can’t calm himself down. When he’s over-excited, he loses his ability to discern what may or may not be appropriate, what may or may not be safe. He becomes very dangerous, to himself and others. But he doesn’t see it, and he can’t calm down. He also has no inhibitions. You can’t interrupt his “go” mode. If he is in the middle of reaching out his hand to touch the hot stove, it doesn’t matter how hard or loud you yell, you can’t interrupt the process once it’s in motion. He’s always immediately sorry afterwards, he genuinely regrets his action – but he’s unable to stop once he’s pushed play.

I feel like we have tried everything possible for sleep. Earlier bed times, later bed times, melatonin, different blankets, different rooms, different lighting, chiropractic care and reiki. We’ve tried skipping naps, longer naps, more physical activity, less TV, letting him stay up in his room until he’s tired, leaving the door open, letting him sleep with us… we have really tried everything short of drugging the kid.

Ronan’s occupational therapist believes that a night-time disruption of this nature is likely neurological. It’s not behavioral – he’s not rebelling or being awful – he can’t help it. With all of the other systems that he seems unable to regulate, it doesn’t seem like a stretch that he’s also unable to regulate his sleep cycle.

Moving forward, we’ve had some blood work done to find out if there’s anything physical going on (like low iron, or environmental factors.) Ronan’s OT is recommending a neuro consult. I guess that’s where we go from here.

To top it all off, Ruby is coming into her own. She has figured out that she is in control of her own body, and we can’t force her to do anything. She wants what she wants, and any “no” is met with an all out, back-arching, tonsil showing mega-fit.

Pregnant mama with no sleep is at the end of her rope. There is no more rope. We have exhausted all rope.

Please send rope.

Moments.

When Ronan wakes first thing in the morning, he wants to be held for a while.  And he gives kisses.  Lots of kisses.

Any moment when Ronan is asleep and I am awake.  Like right now.

Holding hands with my husband while we’re sitting on the couch enjoying a show together.

Walking out of the grocery store realizing it was a really good trip.

Waking up to hearing my boys laughing in the living room.

When I tell Ronan it’s nap time, and he starts heading up the stairs on his own.

Sleeping on clean sheets.

Each and every time Ronan comes out with a new, recognizable word.

Any diaper change that doesn’t involve screaming, kicking or rolling over.

Long showers that can involve shaving.  Or just standing there.

Watching Ronan on the monitor as he sits up, looks around, pulls his blanket up over his head, and lies down again.

Quiet conversations with Brock centered around cuddling.

Lying in bed at night the last few minutes before I fall asleep, laying both of my hands on my belly.  She never lets me down, this little girl.  She kicks me into oblivion.

I live for these moments.

My Every Limit.

No one tells you it will be like this.

You are testing my every limit, child.  Every single one I have.

The hitting.  You smack me with that look on your face.  I say don’t hit.  Dad says don’t hit.  We tell you hitting is not nice, and if you hit we wont play with you.  And you look at me… and hit.

The biting.  Who taught you to bite?  Where did you learn to use your teeth in such a manner?  Every hug is suspect, every cuddle is questionable.  I never let your face near mine without double checking for the smirk that means you are about to bite me.

The whining.  Momma doesn’t whine.  Dad doesn’t whine.  We never taught you to whine.  I’m convinced that it’s genetic, and I’m getting what’s due because of how I was as a child.  But it drives me crazy every moment of every day.  I tell you, “I don’t understand you when you whine,” and “Tell me what you want without whining,” or even, “Just ask ‘please!'”  The whining really makes my nerves grate, brings me to the end of my rope.

The misbehaving.  I know that is what you are supposed to do.  You misbehave.  You are learning limits.  You are testing what you can and cannot do.  But when you scream because I take the chip bag away, and then I tell you to say please if you want one… and you say please, so I give you a chip… and then you proceed to shatter it into a thousand pieces into the carpet?  It makes my brain go to crazy mush.

What happened to my happy, easy going, contented baby?  Who is this control freak that flips out every time I urge or encourage him in a direction that he doesn’t want to go?

The ALL OUT screaming fits that happen when I draw the line?  They have gotten old so quickly.

Ronan, you make me terrified that you are ‘that kid.’  The one that other people stare at and whisper about.  The kid at the baby gym that all the other moms hope stays away from their kids.  The one that everyone hopes their kid is never like. That kid in the grocery store, that kid in the mall.  The kid I’d hoped you’d never be.

I HATE looking around and wondering if I’m ‘that mom’.  The one that can’t keep her kid under control.  The one that can’t stop him from throwing a fit.  The one that thinks her kid is capable and ready to handle something, and is quite clearly shown that he isn’t.  I’m that mom that thinks she’s done a great job raising her sweet, loving, well behaved boy… but I really haven’t.

We don’t leave the house because I can’t handle you in public.  We stay home, and feel stuck and isolated, but I’m too afraid to leave.  But the longer we stay here, the more you test my limits, my sanity, my ability to cope.  Sometimes I’m not sure what else I can do.

And everyone tells me it doesn’t get any easier.

My Scariest Moments As A Mom.

You know, the first time you dropped your kid, you felt like the worst parent in the WHOLE world.  When you finally had the guts to tell someone that it happened, they laughed at you and told you some story about when the same thing happened to them.  And somewhere along the way, you start to figure out that kids aren’t really breakable.  However, it doesn’t make any of those moments any less scary.

This might make you think I’m the worst parent in the world.  But it’s real.  Something I need to get out there.

1. When Ronan was around 2 months old, I was carrying him in my sleepywrap.  I was doing errands around the house, having a good old time, holding my baby.  I felt invincible.  My fussy kid was happy, and I was getting things done.  I needed lunch, so I stuck some leftovers in the microwave and walked away.  A few minutes later, I went back to the beeps, pulled the door open, and smacked Ronan directly in the back of the head with the microwave door.  He cried for 30 seconds… I cried for 30 minutes.

2. One afternoon, before Ronan was able to sit up on his own, I had him sitting on my lap at the edge of the couch.  His legs were thrown sideways off of mine, facing towards the right.  I was holding onto his stomach and his back.  I went to grab my phone, to my left, and let go of him with my right hand, reaching across myself.  He overbalanced forward, and toppled off of my lap onto the floor.  I honestly cried because I couldn’t say I had never dropped my baby anymore.  I think my pride hurt more than Ronan did.

3. When I first went back to work, early mornings were really hard for me.  Ronan would wake at 7 am.  I would put a bunch of toys in the bed, line the free side with pillows, and go back to sleep.  This worked for several days, where I would come in and out of consciousness, notice him playing quietly right beside me, and be content.  Until one morning, no different than the others, where I gave him his toys, lined up the pillows and drifted out – only to wake up to at THUD… scream.  I didn’t even have enough time to figure out what was going on.  I JUMPED out of bed, ran over to the other side, picked Ronan up and sat on the edge of the bed.  We cried together for a long time.  From that moment forward, if I needed more sleep, we came into the babyproofed living room, and put a pillow on the floor.

4.  I used to love bathing with Ronan.  There was that point where he was too big for a baby bathtub, but not able to sit up on his own yet, so normal bathtub baths were a little difficult.  To bridge that gap, we would just bathe with him.  Always with the other person home, that could help us get the baby out of the tub safely.  One night, Brock was at soccer practice, and I decided to try it out myself.  We bathed, and it was fun.  It was easy!  When it was time to get out, I had two towels at the ready.  But do I get him out first, and set him on the floor?  Or do I get out first, then grab him quickly?  I decided to stand up with him wedged between my legs, and wrap my towel around me, then pick him up and wrap him in his towel, THEN step out of the tub.  Only, his balance wasn’t as good as I had counted on.  He leaned to the right, and I scooted my leg closer to re-balance him… and sent him too far to the left.  He grabbed onto my leg and swung around, landing on his back, face up in the water – eyes wide open, and face terrified.  I reached down, scooped him up, held him while he coughed out the water, and swore to NEVER bathe alone again.  Not long after that, Rona could sit on his own, and we started sitting at the edge of the tub only.  Of all of the things that have happened, this is by far the scariest to me.  My memories of it are the most vivid.

5.  A few weeks ago, Brock broke the baby gate leading up to the stairs.  We hadn’t had a chance to buy a replacement yet, so we had a kitchen chair turned on it’s side to block the stairs.  I was washing dishes, and keeping my eye on Ronan over the counter – he was playing quietly in the middle of the floor, babbling away to himself.  A minute or so later, I noticed he wasn’t making any noise anymore.  I heard a laugh that sounded REALLY far away.  I BOLTED into the living room and prayed that he was only on the second step.  I found him on the second to LAST step, laughing as he chased the cat up the stairs.  In my mind, over and over, I could picture him tumbling down the stairs.  It happened SO fast.  He was fine, and I was thankful his dad had spent the last several weeks teaching him how to go up the stairs.  This one still makes me a little breathless.

6. I gave Ronan a slice of apple, one of his favorite treats that he usually gnaws tiny little bits off a little at a time.  I set him down on the floor, and turned around to pick up.  He was happily eating, and I was getting a few things done.  I walked towards him and noticed that he had dropped the apple on the floor, and AT THAT MOMENT he started coughing the huge hunk of apple he had nearly lodged in his throat.  I picked him up and let him cough it out, and realized that there is a reason we ALWAYS supervise Ronan while he’s eating.  We’ve been VERY lucky that he’s never choked on anything, and I had assumed that he would eat his apple the way he always had.  But those little teeth in the front are made for biting of chunks, and he decided to try it that day.  I only imagine what would have happened if he hadn’t been able to cough it out, if I hadn’t noticed him at exactly that moment.  I don’t like to think about it.

I try not to feel guilty for these things… I try not to let them make me feel like a bad mom.  I’ve learned some very important lessons from them.  But they don’t go away.  They’re stuck in my head forever.  Hopefully to never be repeated.

What is the scariest moment you’ve had a mom?  How did it change the way you do things with your little one?