Yes, I pulled the plug yesterday. I had to walk away from my screaming 7.5 months old, because I could not take anymore. The poor little guy has been teething lately, and although he has been a trooper (with a lot of patience from us, and some good homeopathic treatments), he has not been able to sleep well through the night in weeks and he also has a hard time napping. It does not help that he has always been very alert a curious, so napping was already a challenge – but lately it has been worse.
The night before, he woke up every 2 hours, whining and whimpering. Every time he woke up, I soothed him and rocked him back to sleep with infinite patience. He finally really fell asleep around 4am in our bed. I had to wake up at 6 to get ready for work. With my 2 hours of sleep, I made it through my work day in zombie-mode. My eyes were burning and itchy from the lack of sleep, my legs felt heavy and my lower back was aching from basically carrying my son all night. I. was. exhausted.
I got home, only to be greeted by no food for lunch (thanks, husband), a grumpy Papa Bear and a tired but smiling Baby Bear. I took in the situation in about 10seconds and decided it would be best to proceed in checklist-mode: 1) get out of my work clothes, 2) freshen up, 3) casually make small talk with the Grump, 4) fix myself some lunch, 5) stay positive. It all kind of worked out, until step 5. You see, Baby Bear usually takes a nap right after lunch. It’s kind of our thing, he sleeps and I get some snooze time, too. Sometimes it takes a bit longer to get him to go down, but he usually sleeps. Except yesterday.
Despite how tired I was, I remained patient. He did not cry, he just did not want to sleep. So I thought: “Ok, it’s all good – we’re gonna go for a looong walk, and that should do the trick since he’s been up all day.” Boy, was I wrong. Our walk started off easy enough, and Son was good. He had his binkie, he was comfortable – enjoying the breeze and the surroundings. He was sleepy and I could see his eyes getting heavy and slowly closing. That’s when he started whining. It was normal enough at first, and I kept walking thinking that we would eventually sleep. Wrong again. He started crying… and then screaming. You know the cry, with the biiiig tears and the biiig sobs. The cry that makes you look like the worst parent in the universe in the eyes of passer-bys. Yes, my son went there. He would go on for about 5 minutes, then stop, then pick it right back up. It went on for 40 minutes, the time it took me to turn around and go home. Halfway home it started raining, only adding to an already stressful situation. I was really becoming overwhelmed, between my screaming, inconsolable, baby, the rain and the crazy drivers in our city.
When we got in the elevator in our building, I could feel the tears welling up. My son was still screaming when we walked in our apartment. But it was like I was in a different dimension. All I could see was the mess in our place and his big tears. I started crying. I felt so hopeless. So with every ounce of strength I had left, I unstrapped my son from his stroller and carried him to his bed. I slowly put him down in his crib and gave him his binkie. And I walked away.
I pulled the plug.
I went and cleaned up around our place a bit. He was still screaming his lungs out. I was still crying. I just needed to distance myself, allow myself some time to become recentered and focused. After I finished cleaning up, I went and sat by his crib.
He was still crying, and so was I. I looked him in the eyes and softly asked him to stop. I was begging him. I was feeling lower than the ground. I was tired and stressed. I started thinking about Baby 2, too. How was I supposed to take care of 2 babies, when I couldn’t even get one to stop crying? And right on cue, Son stopped. He came to the edge of his crib and looked at me. He gave me his biggest, cutest, smile and made kissing noises. I like to think that it was his way of telling me I would be ok. So I smiled back, wiped my tears, got off the floor and picked him up.
He gave me a big open-mouthed, slobbery kiss on the cheek. You know the one. The one that makes you wonder if he’s kissing you or trying to eat your face. That’s my favorite. I whispered a soft “thank you, Boobah” in his ear. It tickled, he giggled, and just like that it all went away: all my anxiety, my exhaustion. Gone.
I squeezed Son tight and he put his head on my chest, opening his arms wide as if trying to hold as much of Mommy as possible in his little embrace. I felt a little pinch in my heart. As I breathed in his baby smell, he fell asleep, reminding me that nothing was better than Mommy’s arms and forgiving me for pulling the plug.
We had a rough day, yesterday. But just as my patience and confidence were running out, Sonboy reminded me that I could do it. The beauty of our babies resides in their unconditional love for us. Right when it gets so tough that we think we’re not going to make it, they give us a look or a smile that gives us all the love and confidence we need to keep going.
Thank you, Baby, for not giving up on me and for being such an amazing kid. ❤