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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Baby Lag

I’ve hit the wall. The wall of tiredness. I.am.exhausted. Exhausted in a good and happy way, but never the less, downright shattered.  Feeding through the night is tiring business.  The last couple of nights have been particularly hard. EB seems to be ravenous from 3.30 am and then seems to want to feed, poop, feed, poop until the sun rises.  Struggling with wind he doesn’t want to go back into his moses basket either, just to sleep on Mummy, who he prefers to be sitting up so he can lay his head on her chest whilst she rubs his back.  At around 5.30am, Pip arrives in our bed and asks for his milk.  Trekking downstairs to a freezing cold kitchen extension that doesn’t have central heating is too much, so the microwave placed in the corner of the bedroom whirrs into action, and I pray the ping won’t wake EB, if indeed he is asleep.  At 6.30 am Husband gets up and starts to get ready for work, and so the day begins.

The beginning of my day is now very different. Bye bye luxurious hot shower. Hello to a new world; chucking on the nearest set of clothes, pulling my hair back into a pony tail, splashing some water on my face and a quick tooth polish before breast feeding a baby with one arm and trying to encourage Pip to eat his porridge with the other.  Then a rush to get out of the house and get both of them in the car without Pip being unforgivably late for pre-school.  All things that a million other mothers do every day with the polish of professionals, but frankly, things that this newbie is struggling to get to grips with.

By 2pm each day the failing winter light makes me feel as though it's night time.  Lights have to be on indoors.  I feel disorientated.  It makes the tiredness even worse.  Baby lag does indeed feel very like the similarly named jet lag. Yesterday I had to take EB to the midwife clinic. "Please confirm your name," the nice administrator asked at reception. I stared at her trying to compute what she had said. "Midwife" I said blankly.  "No dear, your name".  My brain felt foggy. I looked at EB and said "Mummy, can’t remember her name". I was only half joking. Finally, my brain clicked into gear again, working in tandem with my mouth and I was able to communicate.  The woman on the desk clearly thought I was bonkers.

Tea and cake are high on my list of coping mechanisms right now. As is fresh air.  It makes me feel human, I pray that it won’t rain all day on the mornings when it is precipitating heavily.  It’s no wonder they recommend Vitamin D supplements for post natal women and babies, getting enough sunlight in these winter months can be difficult if there is a monsoon hanging over west London.

Late afternoon and Pip’s bath and bedtime are the times of day I am finding hardest.  I want to spend time with Pip after picking him up from pre-school, to do something constructive; but the tiredness just saps at me.  Today wasn’t so bad, constructing a lego castle was time spent enjoyably for both of us whilst EB slept, but some days it isn’t so easy, particularly if EB is struggling with colic.  Likewise, bathtime/bedtime for Pip can go either way. If EB is asleep, then it’s just like it’s always been, we can cuddle up and have stories together. If he’s awake, and crying, then it’s hard, hard work. Trying to get a small boy out a bath and dry him whilst holding a windy, crying baby requires the arms of an octopus and the patience of a saint, and reading a story to the soundtrack of screams, is nigh on impossible.  Pip has been a superstar and hasn’t complained once, but I do feel sorry for him when his special time at the end of the day is compromised by a crying sibling and a stressed Mummy trying to be all things to all little people.

Post 8pm when Husband has returned home from work and Pip is in bed,  I soothe my aching, milk posseted self under a waterfall of hot water.  Something as simple as taking a hot shower feels so good by that time of day.   Thank goodness for the full freezer that makes preparing dinner a doddle.  Between my batch cooked efforts and trips to the local ‘Cook’ store, we haven’t had to worry about preparing much at all, which is just as well, as otherwise we’d be living on take aways.

Despite feeling more exhausted than I can ever remember feeling before, I am blissfully happy. That said, I am limping towards Christmas and grateful that some respite is in sight.    Husband will be at home for a good chunk of the holiday period to help out ( change nappies/ burp colicky babies/ play games /read stories) and has also been appointed head chef with the task of preparing a delicious lunch on Christmas day. Visiting Grandparents will hopefully also step up manfully to the challenge of pitching in and helping out. I’m looking forward to having the extra help and recharging my batteries.  Nearly there, only five more sleeps ( or lack of sleeps) to go.

10 comments:

  1. So reality has finally kicked in, when those blissful first few days of newborn baby eventually gives way to pure exhaustion! We all know it, but we somehow never see it coming....it will go, eventually...promise! You will soon get the hang of having 2 little ones looking for your attention and their needs to be met. I've managed three and if I can do it, anyone can!

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    1. Yes, reality bites! Total respect to you for having three. I cannot begin to imagine what hard work that must be :0) x

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  2. I don't envy you, but you sound to me, exhaustion aside, that you are doing really, really well - keep eating the cake, it's your fuel right now and you need the sugar for breast milk production! Little A was very similar during the first month - she would wake up regularly for snacks from about 4.00 am on wards, not counting the rest of the guzzling earlier on in the night. Sounds like such a brand new learning curve right now and one I'm sure you will master over the coming months - very handy that Pip is 3 and a half - means he will understand the situation a lot better than had he been two years old. And I am very taken aback that you are able to still write so beautifully being so busy and tired - but I am guessing this is a bit of a sanity saver right now as well as a continuum of normality. I'll send some cake in the post! XXX.

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    1. Thanks for the cake. Is it lemon drizzle by any chance?
      Even though I'm tired and finding time to write is difficult, you're so right, it is a bit of a sanity saver/slice of normality. I'd much rather do this than watch TV/ read a book in the small few spare moments I do have. It sort of helps make sense of it all. x

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  3. I read through this and kept nodding and nodding - this is my life to a T! The night feeds, the struggle to get out of the door for pre-school, the bath/bedtime craziness when both children need you at once - yes, yes, yes! I was going to write about all this but can't seem to find the time to put finger to keyboard - now I don't have to, I'm just going to direct everyone to this post :D Happy Christmas my dear, so glad I found your blog this year x

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    1. You're my baby lag twin! Hope it all goes well for you over Christmas and you get some rest. Hopefully we'll both start the new year bright eyed and bushy tailed (or not...). Happy Christmas x

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  4. I know the feeling, I feel I am constantly juggling the baby, Alex and housework whilst burning the candles at both ends. At least it should be better for you once you have another pair of hands to help out over Christmas x

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    1. Good luck to you over Christmas. Hope it's a lovely one for you and your new addition. x

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  5. Came over from Bod for Tea's blog. She said you describe it well, and she's right. You really do.

    My children are 15, 12 and 8, but I do remember that exhaustion - those days and nights when you'd sell your right arm for a few hours' sleep.

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  6. It sounds like my day only that the trips to nursery will start tomorrow...You are doing really well though!

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