Ever get that feeling - the one where you're not sure you're going to make it through okay? People tell you it's a phase, it'll pass. They tell you it'll get better. They assure you they've been through it and survived. And yet still, you can't help imagining the possibility that actually you might not survive and that this might be IT for the next 18 years.
My problem is twofold:
First, I'm sleep deprived. Have been for 8 months now. And as I'm sure you know, sleep deprivation has a nasty habit of making every problem, big or small, seem like a catastrophe. Like, the dog gets in my way and I'm yelling at him for deliberately trying to trip me up; I forget to respond to an email in a timely manner and I'm lying awake at 1 a.m. fretting; I forget something at the grocery store and I'm cursing my carelessness; I drop a spoon on the kitchen tile and the sound is like a drum in my ear; a small disagreement feels like a major argument.
Things are not being seen in a normal perspective.
My baby, who's almost eight months, still isn't sleep through the night. I'm not talking once-a-night wakings here. I'm talking three, four, five times a night, people. Not good. My braincells are waving farewell one by one and jumping out the window because they've had enough of floating around unstimulated in the empty cave where my functioning brain is supposed to live. And also, I really don't want the circles under my eyes to get any darker. There's only so much Touche Eclat can do folks.
This morning I tweeted about my sleepless frustration and Rachel from Really Rachel tweeted back, telling me she'd experienced the same thing and eventually turned to a method called controlled crying to get her daughter to sleep through the night. And, she said, it worked! She then wrote this post, detailing the technique. And tonight, I'm trying it out. Thank you Rachel! I'll let you know how I get on.
Second problem is my toddler's new pastime: throwing tantrums.
Matthew is one of those kids who makes parenting look easy. As a baby he was unusually content, hardly ever fussing, ate well, slept through the night at two months. Seriously. I thought I'd died and gone to baby heaven.
That's why, when the tantrum monster reared it's ugly head two weeks ago, J and I were shell shocked, gobsmacked and completely clueless as to what to do. We'd never had to read up on discipline, or google terrible twos. Completely unprepared were we.
Two weeks later, some helpful books, some advice, lots of googling, we're a little better equipped, but still fairly clueless. And my hair is beginning to turn grey and fall out. Okay not really but like I said, the sleep deprivation makes me do weird things and blow things out of proportion.
These are the two main problems:
1. Any time he doesn't get what he wants - whether it's a glass of chocolate milk or drawing on the dog with red ink - the someone-is-being-murdered-in-my-house screaming begins, and goes on at intervals like a banshee being rhythmically prodded with a spear.
2. Every diaper change is a wrestling match, - him writhing to escape, me trying to hold him down with one hand while changing him with the other, him wailing, me trying to keep calm and not doing a good job.
So basically, what we have here is one toddler frustrated at not being able to communicate and do the things he wants, when he wants, and one mother who has about this much patience left (imagine me demonstrating a very small amount with my thumb and forefinger).
So far I've done distractions, time outs, ignoring (when we're at home) and taking him home straight away if we're out in public or at someone's house.
I need advice people.
I know there are lots of experienced mums and dads out there that've been through this nightmare. And there's nothing better than real advice from real parents. Any two cents are welcome.
Anyone who says the terrible threes is worse than the twos immediately has their comment deleted. Just kidding, but please don't say it.
I need a light at the end of the tunnel.