I have a special set of skills. Skills that can make it seem like I have my crap together when I really don’t. What are these skills you ask? Makeup, hair styling expertise, a bright unwavering smile, all around bluffing in everyday conversation. Now you may be asking, why a person would need such a set of skills? I am the queen of, I don’t want to talk about it and not asking for help until the hole in my boat has caused it to all but sink. I will bail that water alone until I am standing on the bow of the ship.
Last night, I found myself inside my hole-ridden canoe, on the bottom of the ocean. My two-year-old refused a nap so hard that I had no choice but to give up. I was yelling at her for every little thing that normally wouldn’t be a big deal to me, but I had had it. I was at the end of my rope, or so I thought. It turns out the end of my rope, the sinker of ships, was really my one-month-old baby girl.
Bedtime came, and my older daughter had exhausted herself so much that she didn’t even put up a fight. She came and gave me my goodnight kiss, sweetly said, “bye Momma,” and off she went to her room with my husband following behind her with all of her precious possessions that she can’t possibly sleep without. There I sat with her sister, rocking furiously. Once she was asleep I could get some shut-eye.
Before I could swing my legs into bed she was up, and so the story went on this way. All. Night. Long. I try not to wake my husband to console her at night because he works outside of the home and general, when she wakes up she wants to eat and that would be a job for my nipples, not his. She was up not less than every half an hour and we knew the only way to survive was to rotate turns changing her diaper, rocking, and repeating until the sun came up.
I started to lose it. Tears streamed down my face as I silently rocked her in her nursery with the sound machine whooshing and the glow of her nightlight warming the view of the room. Could I really go on like this forever? Of course, this night would not go on forever, but it felt like it would. It didn’t. At some point it was morning and the smell of sweet caffeinated nectar of the gods filled the house and sanity was restored.
I am on the other side and I am here to say: it does get better. Each stage has its own challenges but we are better for them. Newborns are hard, but two-year-olds can be even harder. Tell someone it’s going to be okay today. Let them know you survived. Commiserate over a glass of wine. Just let them know they aren’t alone and they will survive this stage whatever it is.