(My daughter Lilly and I last year in Greece)
(Lilly and her papa, Leighotn, this summer at the Walker)
While I adore her though, I find my days with her getting so long. Tedious. Boring. We fill our time with play-doh, drawing, reading, changing "baby's" clothes. Changing her cloths. Going outside. Or rather, first she wants to go outside. But does not want clothes on. The after much struggle gets clothes on. Goes outside. Plays in the sandbox. Goes sliding on the neighbor's slide. Runs around all our neibhbors' houses, climbing steps and flowerbeds.
If I'm lucky I get some weeding done in between in our garden.
Then there are playdates, read & play at the library, music & movement classes at the YMCA.
Mornings are the easiest. We have stuff going on then. But by naptime, the going gets rough. She does not want to miss the party. And as days get longer and brighter, she struggles to find sleep at night more and more so too. And I struggle to stay sane. She's so giddy and happy to be up and about. And I'm resenting the situation, wanting her to sleep.
At the same time, I'm so dead tired, I don't know what I'd do if she were to sleep, except pretend I'm all zen about it (which I'm not, I"m afraid). So why am I so obsessed with her sleeping then. Probably because I'm a bad mama and it sucks, right? In this way i flagellate myself for not being as endeared by her as, say, the cashier at the grocery store. I know, she gets her only in small portions, I get her all the time. With some time off, when my husband's with her so I get some time to myself and to write. My husband and I have kind of set it up so each of us gets half the day each to write. It doesn't quite work out like that, because I still nurse every two hours and when I have the afternoon to work, I also take time to put her down for a nap, which can be a one to two hour ordeal (leaving me useless for work during the remaining couple of hours).
In some ways, it was easiest that first year, when I was always with her. I was a mush brain then, but I had will, force to push through, every day. The two of us (my daughter and I) would just make it to five o'clock. We'd go to baby swim class Monday, playdate Tuesday, mama & baby gym Wednesday, etc. Then I'd have dinner to prepare to have on the table by the time my husband was back. And then he could relieve me some, and there was a new energy in the house. After that there was bedtime and if I was lucky, some time for me to sit on the couch next to my husband.
Then last summer, as she turned one, we all went to a small village in the Greek islands, for simple peaceful living. It was a struggle for me at first. To give up my control with our daughter. Then the couple of hours I got to myself here and there began to rejuvenate me. I started letting go more; I recovered some. I became more in love with life as a whole, and with my husband too.
As we came back to the US last fall, I was still flying on that built up reserve for a while as my husband and I set out for split days of writing and "shared" child care. By January, I felt depleted. Still nursing every hour during night, I was driving through red stop signs and couldn't think clearly during my work time, especially if it was in the afternoon. I started nighttime weaning then, encouraged by a friend who told me about another friend of hers who'd weaned while bedsharing (like we do) and thus still providing comfort that way. It worked, but it has been an on and off process till now; whenever there's a trip somewhere else or illness in the house, we're back to frequent nighttime nursing for comfort. And then after that, it's on again, the weaning process, telling her the boobs get so tired, they need to sleep, but then they'll be so happy to see her again in the morning.
So I'm tired. So tired of being my daughter's mom. I crave a break from it all. Or even just an adult date. My husband and I have had just three dinner dates so far, over two years in time, the first last fall when his mom came out to visit, then this past spring break when we visited her, and then again this spring for my birthday, when our daughter was with a good friend of mine that I child swap with (since this past spring) on Tuesdays and Thursdays so we each can go to yoga (none of us have been in six weeks though, because first illness hit our home, then hers).
So now I've made sure we have things to keep us busy every day this summer. But of course, it's all in the mornings since afternoons are so unpredictable (when, if, will the nap happen? and for how long will it happen if it does happen?). So I still find myself entering summer dreading it somehow while I found myself indulging in it more last summer (true then too, I remember that the long evenings with her got tedious; but we were in Greece, everyone let their kids be up, it was social and interactive every night). Even if we're now we're liberated from the Midwest's winter hibernation, the going can get tough.