The Older New Parent’s 3 Main Food Groups: Caffeine, Ibuprofen, & Wine

I know we got insanely lucky with the mini, lucky I was able to conceive naturally after my 45th birthday, lucky she was born totally healthy and amazing. So god knows I’m not complaining here. But let me complain for a second.

It seems she’s hitting her terrible two’s a year early. I suppose I could be grateful for her advanced development, like some parents are when their kids walk early. (“She’s only one! And she’s already in her terrible two’s!”) Instead, I feel like my head has been blown off and I’m walking around with shards on top of my neck.

Two weeks past her 1st birthday, and she’s terrorizing us. In Japan, they use the term “house-[something]” for a family phenomenon, like “the house-dog” (“uchi no enu”) where we would say “the family dog,” and it’s clear that the mini has suddenly become…the house terrorist.

She was sick last week, and while thankfully she is no longer ill, she has held fast to a little peccadillo she developed when she had a fever: insisting on being rocked to sleep between the hours of 2-5am. And then being rocked while she’s asleep, too. So she wakes up and cries around 2, and then after I rock her and her breathing slows and that peaceful half-smile of slumber has stolen across her face, I start to bend over the crib to put her down. And she immediately tenses her entire little body, limbs stretched in rigid protest even though she is seemingly still asleep, and the minute she touches down on the soft mattress of the crib, she is up and wailing the saddest–and loudest–song of woe. So that’s how we spend our nights now. Like a Mobius strip of rocking and refusal.

This has gone on for a week, and this morning we were out walking to do errands and I looked down at my torso and I realized I had become one of those mothers I always swore I’d never be: the kind who walks around with some kind of unidentified–but clearly bio-hazardous–substance strewn across her shirt. What bothered me even more is that I couldn’t muster the energy even to care. I just shifted the lining of my coat to cover it for a second and then left it there all day.

It’s now late afternoon and the mini has finally gone down for one of the naps she has also been refusing to take all week. I’m coughing and sneezing and exhausted and so tired I couldn’t eat today, once again fueled mainly by my new three food groups: caffeine; ibuprofen; and, once dinner-time hits, wine. I’m craving sleep and a nap, and my knees and back and my right hip are killing me from the baby carrier. But I’m also 47 and my baby is just past 1, and I want to be around for her when she gets older. I want to be on the other end of the phone line for her when she is in her 40s and she has a child who has momentarily derailed her. So instead of sleeping, I’ll wipe the bio-hazard off my shirt, roll out my yoga mat, and try to keep my aging body as young as possible. All while keeping my eye on the monitor, of course, and praying with all I have that the house terrorist doesn’t wake up from her nap.

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9 thoughts on “The Older New Parent’s 3 Main Food Groups: Caffeine, Ibuprofen, & Wine

  1. Oh, gosh! You perfectly captured that thing little ones do when we finallllly think they are ready to be let go of and placed in bed. Ugh, back to this? Love the three food groups, the biohazard. Beautiful sentiments, desire, and the exhaustion to put off sleep for some wine. (And yoga! Wow, good on you!)

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  2. Admiring your fortitude to stick by the yoga despite exhaustion and bio-hazardous remnants! Your post made me laugh and also feel I should appreciate my own mother more for those early years! She had me quite late (42) and had to contend with my older brother at the same time. Will text her a random message of appreciation after I write this. ^^

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    1. Thank you so much, Ri! Of course, the minute I finished writing the post, the mini woke up, so no yoga… So sweet of you to text your mom. I cannot imagine how she did–or anyone does–it with two! All my best to you (and your mom).

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  3. Ha ha! I hear you. Little one and I spent a couple of nights earlier this week on the couch downstairs in a ball after me singing and /or pulling babes in the wagon… at 3am. The realities of living with a sick child, eh? By the way, have you tried co-sleeping? This might give you some relief… I also love BabyCenter.com for weekly tips and advice. They also have UK and Cdn versions. Often the info is just what I need to get me through another day.

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  4. Thanks, Hilary! We co-slept for a month or so, but the mini is a wild sleeper and our bedroom is so small we cannot fit more than a double-sized bed in it, so it’s crazy crowded with the three of us in that bed. And tx for the BabyCenter tip. I use them all the time, too!

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