The fact that I am not drinking heavily blows my mind. Both kids and Honey have been sick for the past few days, it's been freezing cold, and no one is sleeping. Peanut has been melting down every other minute or so it seems. She wakes up during the night several times for water, a tissue, or just a blanket check. I know she is jealous of her little brother, especially lately with all the holding we are doing. Pumpkin has somehow completely forgotten how to put himself to sleep, sleep in his crib, and sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time. Needless to say, I'm not thinking clearly, which limits my creativity in getting back on track with bedtime routines.
We decided to pull out the books and stuff we used to help us come up with a plan when Peanut was just starting to get into a sleep routine. We wanted (and needed) to encourage her to sleep for the same reasons we need Pumpkin to sleep - we will lose our minds if we don't have some sleep ourselves. I especially, am feeling the effects of sleep deprivation. Combine that with the lack of exercise, decreased sunlight, and general overwhelmedness of being a parent of two little ones and it's a recipe for disaster. My patience is so thin it may not even be there, and I am just scowling and angry all the time or so it seems.
As I started to skim the familiar tomes (I used these for my clients for many years as well) I realized that we were missing Pumpkins cues entirely. He wakes up, I feed him, change him, we play, and then he gets fussy. We had been assuming he was either just fussy, hungry or both. I think there was also an element of "plugging him up" because we were dealing with our older one's tantrums and stress and it was easy to stick a paci or a boob in Pumpkins mouth while we dealt with the tantrum. Turns out, he was tired. Yesterday, at the first signs of sleepiness/crabbiness, we brought him into his room, turned the lights down and the music on, and snuggled him up until he began to close his eyes. Then before he was out, we put him in his crib and told him how we knew he could fall asleep on his own, and we would come back if he needed us, but we were sure he could do it. The first time was a little rough, but it has gotten easier. Last night we got him to sleep in his crib part of the night and today we have had successful napping! The naps are still too short, but he falls asleep on his own and he is in his own bed.
Peanut is not such a success story. Last night was the worst yet - two hours from the beginning of bedtime to what we thought was her sleeping. She woke several times for various and sundry needs, and decided at 5am that she was awake. Then she wanted to eat, but she didn't, to pee but she didn't, to sleep, but she didn't, to play downstairs....you get the idea. Lots of screaming and crying, and generally being a sleepless two year old. She had no idea what she wanted. I'm sure she wanted some love and attention, but honestly I was so stressed from the lack of sleep and annoyed with her demands that just snuggling up was the last thing on my mind. At some point in our morning, she looked at me and earnestly told me "it is OK to be angry, it's OK to be mad, it's OK to be annoyed sometimes". How can she be so sweet and caring and so....TWO at the same time?!
I had been reading up on postpartum depression because of the frustration and intense mood swings and irritability I have been experiencing. I have discovered that there is something called postpartum anger - which I am sure I do have. Everything makes me mad, and it's mad mad, not ramp up mad. All of the things that should help alleviate it are the things I know I should do but haven't been able to work it in to the day - exercise, eating well, taking time for myself, meditating, talking to friends... I did make an appointment with a therapist which I hope will help some. I do have a mother's helper who will be here twice a week beginning tomorrow, so hopefully that will provide some help. It's funny that so many people have offered to take one or both of the kids so I can take a break, but I never think to ask for help, especially when I am in the throes of a very bad day. I know I need to take advantage of these offers.
So now both kids are napping, and I am realizing that I could use this time to my advantage. What an afterthought I have become. I am so used to waiting for the other shoe to drop...