These last few days have been hard. The husband said they have been the hardest in a long time. Both of us are struggling.
The boy has decided to give up napping, despite my encouragement. He will fall asleep but wakes whenever you attempt to put him down. He has also decided that he would much rather spend the nights screaming than sleeping. Last night was the worst. Even though the husband and I took turns lying with him, he still preferred to yell. Nothing we did made any difference.
Maybe he is teething? His top two eyeteeth have come through and the bottom two are still waiting to break through. Maybe it is developmental? Maybe he hates his crib?
In my darker moments I am convinced the boy is trying to see exactly where my breaking point is. I imagine him calculating how far he can push me before I collapse on the floor in a fetal position. Yes, I know he is seventeen months old. That is just how my mind works.
I did cry this morning. Walking away from the museum I pushed the boy in his stroller and sobbed. We had left our friends sitting inside after I realized that the boy had no plans to end his bout of hysterical crying. I bundled him back into his snowsuit and left, apologising to our friends and the museum staff for the ear shattering sounds they had been subjected to. My bra still undone from when I had tried nursing him.
More than anything else I have been feeling angry these last few days. Angry that I don't know what is wrong with the boy. Angry that nothing I do seems to comfort him. Angry that I feel overwhelmed and helpless. Angry that I am angry.
I wrote the following on Monday. I wrote it for me. I wrote it to help myself work through what I was feeling and what had happened. I wrote it to remember.
In case some of you have been here or felt this, I am posting it for you.
I try not to yell at the kids. I don't like to raise my voice because then I feel like I lose credibility with the girl when I tell her not to yell. Today I did something that felt worse to me then yelling. I screamed.
I went to put the boy down for his nap at the regular time. I should have factored in the short ten minute nap he had in the stroller on the walk home from school because he resisted that nap with all he had. I should have just stopped and reassessed but I was too single minded. I should have....I should have.
At first I thought the napping routine was going great. We were snuggling and he was nursing. Then I heard a slam. I steeled myself for the sound of the girl heading down the hallway to our room. Since she has figured out how to turn the doorknobs she has started wandering the halls instead of quietly reading books in her room. I don't mind as long as she doesn't disrupt the boy by opening his door or yelling at me from outside his room, which is what she choose to do today.
I had some stern words for the girl through the door and back she went to her room. Slam went the door. Eventually she was quiet and I guessed that she was asleep. But not her brother.
I tried everything. I was frustrated. I put him in his crib and I left. He cried.
I went back. I tried again. He finally feel asleep and I lay him in the crib. As soon as his body hit the mattress he woke crying. Again, I left. I had to walk away.
I listened to him cry while I perched on my bed. I felt guilty. But at that moment, it was better for everyone for him to be crying by himself then for me to be with him. I was that angry with him. Angry enough that I didn't trust myself.
Eventually, I went back. I tried to get him to lie down in his crib but he kept standing up and reaching up to me. It was the tears that got to me. My anger abated for a moment and I picked him up. I sat down in the chair with him, prepared to rock him but not nurse him. Nursing was what he wanted.
No, I said over his cries.
I can't. Please, I can't.
I'm just too broken, I whispered.
No! I was holding him and he was crying and I felt done.
I can't, I screamed. Loud enough to startle him. Loud enough to startle me.
He quieted. His crying turned to sobs and sniffles. I rocked him until he feel asleep.
I sat with him for awhile before I gently lay him down. He woke up immediately. Crying just as hard as before.
I gave up. I felt so much anger with him for not sleeping when he was obviously tired. I was even angrier with myself for losing control. For behaving in a way I didn't think I ever would. It was just for a moment, but that moment held an intensity I have never felt before.
I picked up the boy and took him to the girl's room. I woke her up and we all headed downstairs to somehow fill the hours until the husband got home.
All I tried to do was not to yell.