Thursday, February 4, 2010

Winter Blues

I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed and down in the dumps lately. January, thankfully, brought visits from my dear sister and from Arwen's dear sister, otherwise I'm not sure I would have made it through the month sane. February threatens to do me in, what with the snow coming AGAIN and the COLD and my complete and utter inability to go anywhere before Nate needs to be down for another nap.

Oh, the napping. It generally occurs only in my arms, and please don't lecture me about how I am spoiling my child. I don't believe a baby can be spoiled, but I certainly believe he can become accustomed to having things a certain way, and I am all too aware that he is accustomed to napping in my arms. He's in the crib right now, after I held him for just over an hour, and I am nearly giddy with the thought of having a few minutes to myself. I know we are going to have to start putting him down "awake but drowsy" for naps, but I dread what will happen when I undertake that project. His nighttime sleep is far from perfect, but it has been much better (in general) than in the past, and I fear screwing up the nighttime sleep if he doesn't get adequate naps.

I keep telling myself that things will get better in the spring, when we can get out of the house for walks with far more regularity. (Poor Sadie will be grateful, too. David looked at her the other day and asked whether she had put on weight. I fear that she has, because we don't get her out nearly enough these days and compensate for our guilt with table scraps.) But I don't want to go through Nate's babyhood always looking forward to the next phase. He's so sweet and adorable RIGHT NOW. He prefers me to any other person in the world. He loves to look around at everything going on around him. He smiles all the time. He laughs. He babbles to us. He grabs his toys and wants to put everything in his mouth. He lights up when I sing to him. Seriously, how can I not be perfectly content with things just the way they are?

Perhaps it's because I'm still so tired. Certainly it's because I so rarely get to see other adults. I had lunch last week with some girlfriends from the Hill, and a couple of them are moms who work outside the home. I had Nate with me, and I was slightly envious of their ability to enjoy their lunches without bouncing their babies in a sling, dropping food all over him, and worrying about whether he was going to start fussing any second. I absolutely don't want to go back to work, but I do envy their time in the adult world.

I'll tell myself, though, that they envy me in some ways, even if my days are an endless string of sameness. They may get plenty of validating grown-up interaction while I hold my baby for yet another nap. But I get to smell his sweet baby hair and watch his tiny lips purse or break into one of those funny sleeping smiles. They may have lunch in restaurants regularly, but Nate gets his lunch straight from me, all the time. I know it is a huge blessing to be able to stay at home with Nate and spend so much time with this amazing, hilarious, constantly-changing little person. And on days when that doesn't feel like enough, I'll remind myself that spring really is just around the corner.


Arwen said...

Oh, sweetie. I love how you recognize the hardness and the loveliness of what you're doing within the some paragraph. Sort of the paradox of human existence, isn't it? A metaphor for life itself, if you will.

Spring is right around the corner. I'm praying for you!

(Also, just realized I'll be there in just four weeks. Cannot wait!)

Branwen said...

Lauren I love this post! You say it all so well.
By the way, you are definitely not spoiling Nate by letting him nap in your arms, it's all about doing what works for you and what you know your baby needs. You're doing a great job!

Praying that you'll get more sleep and find some relief for the Winter Blues!

Lisa said...

Babyhood is so like that! I know there are competing camps on this, but even though I was against the idea of cry-it-out at first, I was so frazzled with the constant holding and neediness by my daughter's third or fourth month that I had to try it. It was hard on everyone for two days. After that...bliss. She learned to go to sleep on her own without fussing and began sleeping through the night shortly after that. Ahhhh...the days of a two-hour nap in the morning and a two-hour nap in the afternoon, plus 11 uninterrupted hours at night...I sometimes miss those days. Even though it was limiting because we couldn't go anywhere and stick to the nap schedule, she was a much HAPPIER baby once she started sleeping well. It took two awful, terrifying days of cry-it-out, but it was so worth it in the end, for all of us.

Sarah in Ottawa said...

Oh - winter can be such a yucky time. SAD runs in my family (and of course, my ancestors chose Canada in which to settle - long, dark winters, though it could be far worse) so I can completely sympathise! You are doing a magnificent job, and spring is coming (despite the crazy amounts of snow in DC right now).

Something that has helped me (and will help you, too, as a bfing Mom)? Vitamin D supplements (most people are deficient) and Salmon Oil (EPA and DHA are vital to brain function and they're found here in spades). The oil is especially good for preventing plugged ducts, too.

Thinking of and praying for you!