I am neither a patient nor an optimistic person by nature. I tend to see the glass as half empty most of the time, which I don't really like about myself, but I haven't been able to change it. And it's not necessarily a bad thing -- I'd rather pleasantly surprised when things go better than expected rather than being constantly disappointed when things don't live up to my expectations. However, these qualities are not really what I would call desirable traits when it comes to motherhood.
I am less patient and more cranky the hungrier and more tired I am. And as a mom, I am frequently tired and hungry. Pair that with Baby Jekyll and Hyde over here, and I spend a lot of my time trying not to blow up.
Lorelai is awesome. She really is. She is an amazingly smart, funny kid, and when she's in a good mood, she's my favorite person on the planet. But when Baby Hyde comes out, we have a problem. Because I too am a bit Jekyll and Hyde, and when both Hydes are out at the same time, everybody'd better stand back.
She woke up screaming -- SCREAM.ING. -- at 6:15 today, and did not stop crying until we got downstairs and I gave her some water. Now, she has a water cup in her crib, which I fill every night, so I'm not really sure why she didn't just drink that water if she was that thirsty. But it apparently wouldn't suffice this time, and when we got downstairs she beelined for last night's cup, which was still on the table, and started reaching and wailing harder. I rinsed and refilled it and tried to get her to ask for it -- "water", "cup", "please", anything that wasn't screaming -- and finally just gave it to her when she refused and just cried harder, sitting down on the floor and flapping her hands at me as the tears rolled down her cheeks. (Don't you dare feel sorry for her. It was not REAL crying, it was big fake toddler tears, and if she'd just asked with words like I know she can the first time, I wouldn't have withheld it at all.)
I know that I need to not give in so easily, that I should have waited her out and made her ask before giving her the cup, but see above RE: not a patient person. When she wakes crying in the night (she never wakes nicely, it's always with violent crying), we really want to let her sort it out herself, but the problem there is that she WON'T. She will just escalate and escalate until finally we cave. We even try to just wait for a break in the crying, long enough to open the door when she's not actively wailing, because we really don't want to enforce that if she cries long and hard enough we will go get her. But usually there's not enough of a break to really count as a break.
It's very frustrating because I know she's manipulating us, and she has done so since she was a tiny wee thing, too tiny to be intentionally manipulative (now, I'm pretty sure it's intentional). But I can't just leave her in there to cry until she vomits. It's not a matter of thinking it's cruel to let babies cry, because I know that some kids DO need to cry it out, but if the crying escalates and doesn't ever subside, it's obviously not going to work. Every few months we try it, and it always fails. (With the middle-of-the-night wakeups, that is -- she can cry for a few minutes before falling asleep initially without it being a big deal.) But I know that this pattern of cry-cry-CRY-CRY-CRY-CRY-CRY-CRY-CRY-CRY-"okay, fine, I'll get you" isn't really helping or fixing the problem.
And I've been really, really tired lately. I know I've said before that I'm a person who needs 10 hours of sleep to function where most people need 8, but I can function on less sleep as long as the bulk of my sleep occurs between 4 and 9 am. I can't do that with a baby, though, because with her, sleeping in till 7 is a rare luxury. (Kevin is wonderful and gets up with her on weekends, but still. It's been 15.5 months of waking up at 6:30 or earlier almost every day, often with multiple middle-of-the-night wakeups, and let's not even talk about the shitty sleep I got during the last half of my pregnancy.) It's catching up to me, and I'm finding myself being less and less patient with the midnight and early morning screaming wakings.
I've always said I don't particularly like toddlers, and this is why. Lorelai's doing exactly what she's SUPPOSED to be doing at this age -- testing her limits, rebelling, pointedly ignoring me when I ask her to come here or stop doing something she knows she's not allowed to do. I get that. I don't LIKE it, but I get it. But when you take my already-limited patience, top it off with general mom-to-a-toddler exhaustion, and then throw in a particularly screamy morning?
The kid's going to find herself going to live with gypsies, is all I'm saying.
(I tell her frequently, "The dog is behaving better than you are. It is a sad, sad day when DestructoDog is looking at you like he wants to cram a chill pill down your throat." This morning, I brought her into bed with me so I could try to wake up a bit more before getting upright, and she was still yelling, and he looked at her, sighed, put his head back down, and then kicked her.)
I'm not really looking for advice, because I know that some kids are just shitty sleepers and they do this kind of thing and there's nothing you can do about it. I know that her mood swings are partly because she's her mother's daughter and partly because she's a toddler. None of it is really something that can be "fixed" with anything besides time. And I do feel bad that I come to this space so infrequently these days, and when I do it seems to always be to bitch about something, but the thing is, when we're having a good day, I don't want to be spending my time online, I want to be spending it with her. Maybe one day soon the good days will outnumber the bad and I'll be willing to give up some of my rare baby-free time to tell you all about the funny things she did that day, but for right now? I just need a place to vent, and to hear other moms say "God, I've been there, and it SUCKS. But eventually it gets better. And if not, she'll be going to college in about 16 years, so there's always that to look forward to."
At this rate, she's going to an out-of-state school, just so I can get a decent night's sleep for once.