09 March 2009

Plot relocated

Please believe me when I say that the hardest part about having a baby isn't the fatigue, losing your autonomy, having no time for yourself, putting your relationships and marriage on the back burner or being able to focus on nothing else in a 24-hour period except your baby, day after day, although these things are incredibly hard.

No - the really hard part is having to hear your heart's joy scream bloody murder all day long in a flat that looks like it has been leveled by the trampling feet of the four horses of the apocalypse because you are trying to reprogram him out of a bad sleeping habit that you yourself encouraged him to adopt in the first place.

I will say in our defense that it was the midwives and health visitors who made us feel like we were doing a good thing by letting our infant dictate his own routine, though as a certain baby guru wisely wrote: What does a baby know about good sleep practice? He's just a baby!

Is it better to try and break bad habits long after they have been formed in the service of getting through those first few weeks together? We'll never know, but after hours of feeling like we were torturing our first born and taking turns at fleeing to the bedroom for a good cry ourselves, I can definitely say that it might have been worth taking a stab at some sort of routine from the outset.

It didn't occur to either of us that we were jumping into things a little too quickly until I found myself wanting a cigarette for the first time in over two years and Bruce was ringing up his sister in desperation. She said that what we were doing was valiant but that we should abandon our efforts for the time being, at least until after Hartley's jabs (which I'm taking him to get done today and again on Friday) and Bruce's stressful work period (he's having to oversee visits and meanwhile tie up loose ends before his week-long trip to Zambia next Tuesday). Once things are a bit more stable, she's going to come down to help us get the flat organised and then hold my hand while I begin the traumatic process of training him to sleep on his own.

My mother-in-law is coming to stay with us for a few days, I think just to give me a bit of a break and also to offer support, as sometimes the side-effects of inoculations is fever and I've never treated a baby for fever much less heard of the prescribed medication.

Hartley turns two months old on Wednesday, and rather than things calming down, it feels like we've all taken two giant steps back. I think that's just how it is, though, and it's something I'm going to have to get used to. There are lovely new things happening too, don't get me wrong, but they're a bit buried beneath stress at the moment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The primary thing to remember when you're doing the sleep training is that he really is okay (despite the screams) and that you will all be happier and more well-rested once you get him used to sleeping alone/on a regular schedule.