The past few weeks have been somewhat of a doozy. This was really disappointing to me, as I had (or rather, thought I had) Heidi and her schedule all figured out. I hear this cruel phenomenon of getting the rug swept out from under you is fairly common in parenting. I submit that it’s fairly common in LIFE. But anyways.
Around two months, Heidi started to get fussier than normal. The doctor said it was probably a growth spurt and should be over in a couple weeks. But soon she started to have screaming fits we couldn’t calm with our usual tricks. She had gas and little more spitting up than usual. I tried different things: I cut back on some foods in my diet, tried burping her more than usual, kept her awake a little longer so she would sleep better. Nothing worked, and I was at my wit’s end. She was high maintenance every minute.
Sidenote: Can I just say, when this child screams, she has ME convinced I am ripping her arms off. It is blood-curdling, hot-flash-inducing, and completely unreasonable. Everytime she screams like that, I get anxious. I wonder if she’s hurting, if she needs something I’m not giving her, if she’s quite possibly dying right before my eyes. I have mentioned this before in my blog. It’s tough because I have a really hard time just letting her cry. Some moms are good at that but I will say to myself, “Ok, let her cry for 10 minutes.” I hardly ever make it to five. *blush*
Anyways, those few weeks were exhausting. I’d fall into bed as soon as I could get her down to sleep and fed her first thing in the morning, half-asleep and barely able to get my coffee cup to my lips. I began to get frustrated with her, both because I felt she was tantalizing me and because I just couldn’t figure out how to make things better. I might have snapped at her a couple times, melted into tears as soon as Cody got home, and felt irritated every time she fussed. I was reaching my limit with the little one.
One night, as I was putting her to bed, I had her swaddled tightly in my arms, her head leaning against my chest. Her eyes were red-rimmed and puffy from crying, but she had calmed down and was slowly sucking on her pacifier, drifting off to sleep. I had a worship cd playing, one that I play every night before I put her down, and I was singing to her. This is our routine most nights, but this particular night I was willing myself to pray for patience.
As I looked into my daughter’s face, my frustration and fatigue melted away. I looked around her room. The stuffed animals and the dim night light and the sweet pictures. I smelled the baby powder smell, and I listened to the quiet songs on the cd player. I looked back at her face, round cheeks flushed with sleep, a tear still sitting in the corner of her eye. I pictured her smile in my mind…the one that makes her eyes crinkle in the corner …the one that looks like it couldn’t possibly get any bigger, and if it did her head might explode.
I felt overwhelming gratitude for the sweetness of her presence in our lives. I LOVE her being here in our house. I love watching her get bigger and learn new things and favor me over everyone else (YEAH, I SAID IT). I love that she loves to be cuddled and held close. I love her playfulness and newly-discovered giggles. And while all that is joyful, it’s also laced with a bit of fear. I shake inside when I think about anything bad happening to her. Loving a child is so tremendous and yet so vulnerable if you think about it. I truly feel I would be destroyed should Heidi ever be in danger or seriously hurt or worse.
And as I sat there rocking her in the dark, I cried and cried and held her so tightly. Having Heidi has made me slow down quite a bit. It’s made me choose my battles much more carefully. It has shown me nothing is guaranteed, including tomorrow. And most of all, it encourages me to be thankful. I should be thankful I have a beautiful baby that cries instead of cursing how inconvenient it is sometimes. I should be thankful I have a healthy baby that eats and sleeps well instead of complaining that I can’t do what I want to do very often anymore because of her schedule. I should be thankful I have access to doctors, lactation coaches, and medicine instead of whining that my kid is sick. I should be thankful she is growing and gaining weight instead of being frustrated with a growth spurt.
As I type this blog post, she is swaddled tightly on my lap, pacifier halfway hanging out of her mouth, lips curved gently into a sleepy smile as she dreams fluffy baby dreams.
I will be thankful for her smallness because it won’t last forever. I am thankful and amazed at what she has taught me in three short months. And she doesn’t even know it.
”Enter His gates with thanksgiving in your heart and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name!” Psalm 100:4