Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Am Not A Baby!

I think when we were watching S grow, we noticed the nuances because all our attention was focused on her. With Baby R, our time and attention are divided, and so while I noted that she's started shaking her head "no", fully walking, saying new words like "sock" and "kitty", and freaking out when she saw Santa, I silently checked those off in my head without relishing each moment. And in the last week, it's as if she's been trying to get my attention to say, "I am not a baby anymore! I'm a toddler, dang it!" She's hit the independent stage where she wants to do it all herself. She wants to purely self-feed - "I don't need or want your help, Mommy." She fights being buckled into her car seat; she asserts herself when playing with toys instead of letting Sissy take them away without a fight. I am proud of her and excited to see this shift, but I'm also sad to see the baby-stage end.

At Bunko last night, a friend brought her 3.5 week old baby girl. So precious. So tiny. So... quiet. It was nice snuggling with her and soaking in her baby-ness, but I was surprised that I didn't feel the usual urge to have another that tends to happen when I'm around newborns. We are still debating having a third baby. I was really thinking we would in a year or two. But after last night, I felt content with having two. And I don't want a third to feel even more neglected - I struggle with splitting my attention between two as it is. The possibility of three is still on the table, but I would be happy if things stayed as they are, too.

Especially when I think about how our nights have been the last week. Ugh! Baby R is having a growth spurt. Sunday she ate every hour. And not just a tiny snack. An entire banana. A whole serving of yogurt. A full string cheese. Every hour! She would toddle over to the refrigerator and pull on the handles. She inevitably woke up in the middle of the night. She pointed to her door. I knew she was hungry. I also knew she wanted yogurt. I took her downstairs to the kitchen, put her in her highchair, and got a container out of the fridge. I even gave her her own spoon and some Cheerios on the tray to distract her while I fed her. I loaded the baby spoon, and directed it toward her mouth, hopeful that she was tired enough to not fight it. Nope. She wanted to feed herself. She squealed, turned her head and flapped her little arms in frustration. I retracted the spoon. Spoke to her soothingly, and tried again. Same reaction.

I'm all for letting toddlers learn to self-feed. The sooner, the better. But we just started when she turned 1 a month ago. She's at the point that she can dip the spoon in yogurt and lick it off. But she doesn't get much, so she usually puts her whole hand in and sucks the yogurt off. Inevitably, it drips down to her shirt (the bib went by the wayside a long time ago). Then at some point she manages to get it in her hair. So my approach is to strip her down and let her feed herself half-naked before bath time.  It works great for dinner. Not so much in the middle of the night.

So I tried one more time. Then I told her she could either let me feed her, or she could go back to bed. So back to bed she went, screaming. I told DH what had happened and if he wanted to try in a few minutes, he could. After about 10 minutes of her not settling down, he took her back downstairs. I heard the screams and smiled wryly to myself. So back to her crib she went. I knew it was for her own good, and she would be fine, but it still breaks my heart to hear my babies cry. So here's my Motherhood Confession for WMW: I had to head downstairs and turn on the TV for an hour til she was sound asleep. I wussed out. I left my DH upstairs to listen to her scream and make sure she didn't really need our help (like getting an appendage stuck in the crib bars). I am a wimpy mean mommy; I enforce the rule, then run away.  But I say, whatever it takes to make it happen. Last night. No middle of the night feeding. First night I can remember when I slept UNINTERRUPTED ALL NIGHT. If only I hadn't had a cough that woke me half a dozen times. Sigh.


Ebonie said...

Coming over from WMW - I hate hearing my son cry, too. But sometimes, they have to cry it out.

My son is like your little one - he's very, very independent and throws fits when he doesn't get to do something. I'm hoping he outgrows this soon, but we shall see. :)

Liz said...

It can be hard, but I know what you mean. Sometimes they just like to be difficult or are trying to push their limits, and you have to be firm.

Julia said...

it's tough. sometimes i have to turn on the tv to drown out the sound, but like you, it's how we do things. maybe she IS hungry, but maybe she just wakes up and wants to try her new-found cool thing to do!

good luck, girl. it's tough, it really is. but it will be ok.

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

Uninterrupted sleep? Victory!

Congratulations - from all the moms I hear talk, I know that's quite an accomplishment!

Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points said...

When Child A was needing to learn to put himself to sleep, he had to cry it out.

I was too stupid to turn on the TV.

I sat there and listened.

Only took two nights.

If it had taken three, it's possible that he would still be being rocked to sleep.

And he's in high-shool now. ;)

Jennifer said...

I love the way you say, "wimpy mean mommy"! I think that would describe me much of the time...I am all for Love & Logic and I know how important it is to follow through but I like it more when it's my husband following through :)

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Thanks for the support, everyone! Lori, I tried to do CIO with S, but after 2 hours of screaming, her cries changed to the one when she would get stuck on her tummy and couldn't flip back (which she hated). We went in to flip her over, and she instantly fell asleep, completely defeating our attempts. I couldn't do it another day.

With Baby R, I started out putting her down drowsy but awake (like they suggest), and she's never fussed more than 5-10 min. at bedtime. I can handle that. But for some reason, she's been doing this middle of the night thing for a couple of weeks and screaming for an hour at a time, and that I can't take. Sigh. This, too, shall pass.

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