Thursday, September 16, 2010

it was a principle-abandoning kind of day

Up for bid: one toddler. Bright. Energetic. On the small side, but chances are she'll grow. Considering all reasonable offers. Good luck trimming her toenails, brushing her teeth, or GETTING HER TO STINKING FALL ASLEEP.

Which brings me to a point.

Last week, Zoralee had three nights where she slept for a 6 hour stretch. The nights weren't all in a row; they were separated by nights of multiple wake-ups. However, those three blessed nights had me thinking we were turning a corner. But over the past few days, it's like we're in newborn stage again, and every two or three hours she's awake.

&^#@ ?)!

That makes the next day rrrreally rough - somewhat on her, but mostly on me. Add up several of those days, and for everyone's safety, it's best if Zoralee and I spend time apart. I'm not usually much of a temper loser, but - I've said this before, I know - having a baby made me understand why sleep deprivation is used as a torture device. You eventually just stop caring about stuff - how much tv your kid watches, what germs they're picking up by drinking hot, stale water from the outside toys, who's asking about the national security secrets you've been protecting with your life for 30 years. Eh, whatever.

A person just can't face small challenges reasonably in this state. For example, usually if Zoralee says, "Mama, I'm drinkin' juice. I'm drinkin' juice. I'm drinkin' juice. I'm drinkin' juice. I'm drinkin' juice. I'm drinkin' juice," I can turn off the verbal faucet with, "Ooooh, you're drinkin' juice!" Simple. I just repeat her words back to her, and she knows I get it. Easy. But when you're sleep deprived, you don't think that way. Instead, you start to feel hot all over and you say, "Zoralee Rena, if you tell Mommy one more time that you're drinkin' juice, I'm going to find every ounce of juice we have in this house and pour it outside on the grass, and you will never have juice, ever, ever, ever again until you're fourteen years old. I will also call every juice maker in the world and tell them to quit making juice altogether, so that it's not even an option when we're at the store. Capice?!"

It's days like this I can totally see why some people choose not to bear children. In fact, even on happy days, I understand. You won't find me trying to talk couples into having children. I'm excited if they are excited to procreate, but if they're dead set against it, I say, peace be with you. Because being a parent means things like freedom, sleep, and energy just evaporate out of your life, and this is not without effect. Of course, the payoffs are out of this world, and no doubt I have yet to see the best ones, but it's a long, hard road. There's no getting around it.

I sure hope we can get pregnant again soon.

Ai-ai-yai. And I do. I'm serious. Which is further proof that humans exist in varying states of skitzophrenia, not as a psychological malady, but as a part of their general makeup.

But seriously, more than ever, I am convinced by this experience that people need close community like children eating Popsicles in the Texas heat need washrags. Parents need breaks! Children need breaks! Modernity and technology allow/force two or three people living in a house together to be locked into the you-me zone for far too long without interruption. I can see where having a larger family would help to alleviate this strain. Right now, we live in a sterile bubble, devoid of family and close friends. Oh sure, we're meeting a few people, but it's not anywhere close to the same.

[insert mental image of a baby laughing or a puppy chasing a ball, or whatever brings you back to that cozy place]

* * *

Okay, it would be disingenuous to leave on a sour note, when I do have a Pickle whom I so love. Not that every day comes out even, but there were some happenings to counter-balance the other stuff.

  • Zoralee is on a little kick of shaking my hand and saying, "Nice to meet you!" I have no earthly idea where she picked it up. She certainly hasn't witnessed much of that transaction in Texas. Hello. WAIT. POSITIVE THOUGHTS.

  • As I opened the shower door to step out, I was greeted by Zoralee, who said, "Mama, good job takin' bath-shower!" She also sometimes says, "Pretty legs," or "Pretty bum." or "Pat the bum! Pat the bum!" Today she told Jason he had pretty ears. This is a win-win conversation, always. You can't go wrong with compliments as random and sincere as hers.

  • She asks me to sit on the step outside, and she brings me her toy dishes, one at a time, similar to how I serve her food.

  • She ate a lot for dinner - chicken stir fry with broccoli and carrots and quinoa. Thank you, child! I hope, hope, hope your little belly is full enough to keep you contentedly asleep for ten hours. hahahahahahahaha. hahaha. ha. ha. Okay, six.


Rena said...

Oh, I wish I could be there to help absorb some of her attention. She definitely is a high-maintenance little person, and with the isolated environment you're in, it's mostly on you to do the maintenance :) Hang in there though, it won't last forever. Someday (like when she's a teenager) you'll look back fondly on the days when she wanted to have long conversations with you.

And I loved the reminders of the cute things she does. What a bright, shining little light you've created! Let me know the high bid and I'll top it! Then, when you're rested up I'll send her back. :)

Christi said...

You nailed it again.

Man, I wish we were neighbors.

Here's a little thing I say to my boys when I'm at my wit's end: You are being so...developmentally appropriate. But if you say developmentally appropriate like a swear word it kinda makes you laugh and feel better.

Anonymous said...

It is true all of it! I am leaning toward the large family direction...because Lillian (my more developmentally appropriate child) and her attitude change immeasurably when I watch my friends little baby on Wednesdays. All of a sudden she is not the "baby" anymore and she puts on this wonderful garb of "I am a big sister and need to help show you the way" and she just rises to the occasion. Where is this child hiding the rest of the time? Community dude. You and I have always been on the same page there...
You are doing awesome and it gets better every day (or maybe WE get better). Transitional phases suck. Albeit good for us and such, still suckola. Praying you will meet some kindred spirits there my friend. This makes me miss you and wish our girls could keep each other busy while we did some cool crafty thing together :)
Love to you

Mis & Steve said...

I loved your post! It reminds me to be more patient and understanding when my day doesn't go exactly how I planned. I don't regret having this little one but there are days when I miss my old life. I also continue to wonder when she will start sleeping thru the night! Some of my friend have babies that sleep 10 hours and are almost the same age as Maggie. I look at them and think how in the world did they get so lucky. I am happy with three hours in a row.
When are you coming back to Portland. I would love to see you and Zor and pick the brain of a mama with a toddler.

ms emili louann said...

Thank you. I love that I'm not the only person who gets all hot and itchy when my precious son repeats the same phrase over and over :)

AND YOU'RE RIGHT! It would only take repeating it back and acknowledging the child, but sometimes... you just don't have one stitch of energy to oblige. *sigh*

Yes. Let's enjoy them, and all their developmental appropriateness. For too soon, it will pass...

Shana said...

oh man oh man oh frighten me. oh geesh. See this is what happens and then we hold off some more....I don't know if I'm cut of for it. oh geesh.

melissa said...

Ah, yes. I say, ditto and amen. Sometimes the acknowledging the juice feels like a power trip I JUST CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE.

Amen, sista. To all of it. AND, good luck on the sleeping. And the getting pregnant. =)

Rachel Clear said...

Sis, I feel so sad. I mean, I admit: I read your post out loud to mom and Cam and we had a good laugh. But THEN I felt sad for you, because I know that it is really hard, draining, and oh so awful to be sleep deprived and never able to just be.

You do an amazing job, you really do. And I know you'd never REALLY say that thing to Zoralee about juice.

I love you.

tamie said...

Yay for you maintaining some semblance of sense of humor in the midst of INSANITY!!!!

Dude. Community. Seriously. Seriously!

Thanks for writing about parenting in a way that helps me be a ton more gracious to parents. And for writing about it in a way that both helps me feel not crazy for often not wanting children, and also for writing in a way that makes me feel like parenting can be wonderful. YOu're a genius writer, a genius parent, and a genius human being. Now, if we could just get you some sleep.

lori said...

Your words and thoughts are like cool breezes to my soul, friends! Thanks so much for taking time to read, and then to respond. I feel lucky.

Actually, the last few nights have been better, so maybe that rough patch is over for the time being. Zoralee even napped for three hours yesterday(!!!), which allowed me to get an hour and a half nap. I woke up and the word that immediately came to mind was, "glorious."

lori said...

And Shana - - oh no! Don't let my rough patch posts deter you. You and Adam have put a lot of thought into this, and I know you would looooove parenthood! Yes, you ARE cut out for it! I think most people are cut out for parenthood, or they become cut out as time goes on; it takes a whole lot more adjustment for some than others. But you two have been around kids so much to where you wouldn't be going in with your eyes shut. Therefore, I surmise that much of it would come easier to you than you think.

Plus, you have such a built in support system with your family. And that, in my opinion, is CRUCIAL, quite possibly the most crucial consideration of all.

Love you!

handfull of johnsons said...

Man, I love you. And I've missed your blog. Even though I do have neighbors and near by friends and sleep, my kids still bug me. Is that okay?
The one I've never understood is the parents who are about to send their kids to school and say, "BUT I'M GOING TO MISSSSSSS THHHEEEEEMMMM!" I just quietly smile and don't comment. In my head, "Peace be with you." I think breaks are great. Without them, I'd be crazier than I already am.
And I'm so glad they do the cute things like tell us they like our ears, to make up for the hard things they do. We love them good and we love them ugly, because they are ours!! Thanks Lori!

Luke and Daphne said...