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Why severe sleep deprivation and reasoning with a 2-yr old toddler is a deadly combination....

Posted Jan 14 2009 8:55pm
I don't even know where to start....should I start with how I had a huge emotional breakdown during Landon's appt on Friday with our pediatrician? Or should I start with how I gave Cole and Bella baby formula mixed with sugar-free Quik this morning before breakfast and didn't think anything about it until they both took a sip and spit it out and declared war on Mommy?? Or maybe I should start with how I scared the living daylights out of the babies at 2:30 am when in the middle of burping Landon, a huge, hairy spider landed on my shoulder out of nowhere, making me scream like a crazy woman (in the light of the morning at 6:30 am, I could see this ugly spider had spun a web and was dangling from it, living completely rent-free in our home)?? It all sounds like a bad movie, doesn't it??? Awwww, but it's not a bad movie...it's just the reality of my life....

The breakdown in the pediatrician's office.....everything was going fine until I started talking to Dr C about the babies having bad gas after every meal. Was it the breast milk or the formula? We need to figure this out and quickly because I'm not sure Tim and I can handle one more sleepless night with the babies fussing over gas...mostly, just because we feel so bad for them and so helpless to do anything to relieve their discomfort. Dr C suggests I hold off giving them anymore breastmilk and just feed them formula exclusively so we can see if it's the BM or the formula that's causing the problem. It could be the dairy or the veggies I'm eating, or the herbs I'm taking to increase my BM supply (catch 22's totally suck!!) that is causing them gas or it could be the milk proteins in the formula.....if after 5 days on just formula alone we still have gas issues, then we know it's the formula. If we don't have the gas issues, then we know it's something I'm eating. But when Dr C finds out I'm only making about 5-6 ounces of BM a day, he says it may not be worth altering my diet so drastically for just that small amount. His wife is a lactation consultant so he knows more than the average male when it comes to breastfeeding. He says "if you're exclusively breastfeeding, I might say that altering your diet so drastically would make sense but for such a small amount of breast milk, in my opinion, it's just not worth it....you're spending so much time pumping milk for them and you're not able to enjoy the babies as much as you'd like to because of it". Now I'm on the verge of tears because FINALLY someone understands where I'm coming from...when I want to be holding my babies, I'm having to spend time pumping BM...when I want to sneak in a nap, I'm having to spend time pumping BM....when I should be washing dishes, bottles, laundry, I'm having to spend time pumping. Tim has been wanting me to stop pumping but only because it inconveniences him....I tell him "you just don't understand how I feel....and the guilt associated with not providing BM for the babies...even just a small amount is better than nothing". He clearly doesn't understand. But Dr C seems to understand...and finally he says "you know, if you're looking for permission to stop pumping, I'm giving you permission....don't feel guilty about it...you've done a wonderful job of providing milk for them during the most critical time while they were in the NICU but now they're home and they're both gaining weight appropriately so you've done your job and you've done it well....really, if you feel like you NEED to give up the pumping or you WANT to give up the pumping and you're looking for permission or someone to say it's okay and you've done your job well, I'm telling you that...." and with that, I had my first emotional breakdown right there in the pediatrician's office. And we're not talking just getting a little teary-eyed or just a little quivering of the chin, we're talking full-on crying episode with snot running out of my nose and everything....oh yeah, it was a beautiful sight...thankfully Dr C is one of those pediatrician's who is also very human and he could completely understand my emotions. His wife is one lucky woman. Anyway, so I blabbed and cried to him about how guilty I was feeling but, yes, the endless pumping was slowly driving me to the brink of insanity for only a lousy 5-6 ounces a day...not even enough for 2 full feedings anymore. I was starting to have to supplement even my breastmilk bottles with formula at this point now that both babies are eating more. But at the same time, I was feeling guilty and torn because even though the pumping takes a lot of me emotionally and physically, I want to continue to do it because I think it's good for the babies. So he suggested continuing to pump but freeze the milk so it can be used once we determine what the gas is coming from. I had talked with the LC earlier in the week about stopping the pumping and she told me not to go cold turkey but to slowly discontinue one pumping session at a time until my milk is completely gone....I had been doing that but then the horrible guilt came over me and I added more pumping sessions back in. In the meantime, we've switched from the Avent bottles to the Playtex nursers and I'm gonna try gripe water again (we did this with Bella and it seemed to really help her...who knows if it was more of a placebo effect or if the gripe water really worked but it's worth a try again!). The mylicon drops don't seem to make a difference, from what we can tell. Oh and Landon now weighs 6 pounds, 11 ounces....woe, the little dude is putting on some serious weight these days....also got a clean bill of health on everything else...yeah!

Giving Cole and Bella formula instead of milk....this morning, after getting maybe 3-4 hours of sleep, all broken up of course into chunks of time during the night, Tim got up and took a shower and I took the kids downstairs to give them their morning cup of milk. Without even thinking, I grabbed the formula out of the fridge, poured into their sippy cups and heated it in the microwave. Then I mixed in a tablespoon of sugar-free Quik into the formula and handed them each a cup. They both took one sip and looked at me as if I was trying to poison them. Here's the conversation that took place:

Bella: Eeeeeeww, this milk is yucky....
Cole: Yeah, it's yucky....
Me: Just drink it...please....
Bella: But I don't like it....
Cole: It's yucky...
Me: Mommy's too tired to argue with both of you....please drink your milk...
Bella: I don't like it, I'm not drinking it....it stinks....
Cole: It stinks...

So I smelled it, thinking maybe the milk had gone bad or something....sure enough, the minute the smell hit my nose I knew it was formula. I apologized profusely to them and they both looked like cats who had swallowed the canary...imagine Mommy apologizing to the kids for a change?? More wasted formula...it's only formula, money grows on trees, right? I say this because Tim is just as sleep deprived as I am and so far, I have discovered him leaving out the bottle of formula from the fridge for hours so it has gone warm and I've had to toss it....both times, a $40.00 of ready-to-feed formula, down the drain....part of me wanted to wring his neck, part of me felt bad for him because I know I'm functioning just as well as he is (or should I say, not functioning...)

Okay, so now onto the spider....so I'm sitting there at 2:30 am, in the nursery, on the floor with my back against one of the cribs, both babies each laying in a boppy pillow facing me and drinking their bottles. The room is just dimly lit by a nightlight. Landon needs to burp so I put him over my shoulder and start patting him on the back and all of a sudden I feel something tickling my other shoulder...but my hands are busy so I try to brush whatever it is away with my chin, thinking it's just some hair that's gotten loose from my ponytail. But it keeps tickling me and then I feel whatever it is on my arm....no, it's not a piece of hair...what the hell is on my arm???? I put Landon down and hold my arm up to the nightlight....OMG, it's a freakin, huge hairy black spider!!! I have no idea how long this spider has been on me or where it came from but it's enough to make me scream, waking both babies up completely startled and frightened. I finally get them calm and happy again and as I continue feeding them, I wonder where the spider went....in a panic, I brushed it off me but couldn't figure out where it went. All I know is I wanna get the babies fed, burped and swaddled in blankets again and get the hell out of that room....God only knows how many friends that spider has....is it obvious yet that I have spider-phobia??? I know there's a name for "fear of spiders" but I'm too darn tired to think of what it is...oh yeah, it's arachnophobia...I think....my college roommates, Jen and Shannon, can vouch for the fact that I have an unusually irrational fear of spiders. Every night before beddtime I'd check under the bed for spiders....and for a wierd psycho man who might have broken into our apartment at some point without us noticing and hid under my bed, waiting for us to turn in to bed and kill us in our sleep.....yeah I said it was irrational but I digress....

In the morning, when I got up to do the 6:30 am feeding, now that the room was light from the morning sun, I could see the spider had spun a web in the corner of the room and he must have gotten across the ceiling somehow and then came down on part of the web and landed on me.....and there he was, in the light of day, sitting up there all proudly on his web, looking down at me....he's the Jason Voorhies of spiders, coming back to life again and again....I could've sworn when I brushed him off my shoulder that he had fallen to the floor, dead. But somehow he got right back up there on his web, as if to say "you haven't seen the last of me, little lady...just you wait until the next 2:30 am feeding...."

So now here's the point I was trying to make about reasoning with a 2-yr old while being severely sleep deprived....last night, we were putting Cole and Bella to bed and going through our normal routine...hugs, kisses, "love you's" and lights out, goodnight, sleep tight, oh and don't come into Mommy and Daddy's room until the morning (this is the part they often DO NOT hear)....so I go to give Cole a hug and a kiss and I say "Mommy loves you"...he says "I love Daddy"....okay.....I say again "Mommy loves you", he says "I love Daddy". I ask "do you love Mommy?", he says "no, I love Daddy". Now normally, I know not to make a big deal out of this...he's just a child, he has no idea how a comment like that could affect me. Had I not been sleep deprived, I probably would've just let it go and said "okay, that's fine"....he's certainly entitled to his feelings, even though I know deep in my heart, he does love me. But no....I get all hurt and bent out of shape and I say "so you don't love Mommy? Well, next time you want Mommy to get you some Dora gummies or a cup of juice, why don't you go ask Daddy since you love him and not Mommy?"...he just looks at me like "what's your problem??". I walk out of the room and go to our room, where I sit on the bed and cry. Why doesn't my son love me anymore? Then I hear Tim call out "Sweetie, Cole wants to hug you" so I go back and hug him and he says "I love you, Mommy".....great, I just guilted my son into telling me he loves me. Now I have yet another thing to feel bad about.....

Are things really that bad? No, they're not...but sometimes things seem a million times worse than they really are when you haven't had much sleep. It's not the end of the world if I can't make 30 ounces of breastmilk for the babies, it's not the end of the world if I decide to stop pumping, it's not the end of the world if Cole tells me he loves Daddy instead of me, and it's certainly not the end of the world because a spider lands on me at 2:30 in the morning when I'm so tired I can't see straight....it's actually kinda humorous when I think back to everything that's happened in the last few days. So I just gotta remember to lighten up....this is only temporary....before I know it, Cole and Bella will be 5 and off to kindergarten and Landon and Garrett will be going through the same things that Cole and Bella are going through now...and I'll think back to when they were tiny babies, like they are now, and wish I could turn back the hands of time. I won't remember the sleepless nights or the millions of stupid mistakes I made (well, knowing me, I will remember the mistakes....) but I'll remember how sweet the babies were and how much I loved holding them in my arms. I'll remember how much I loved rocking them to sleep, feeling their warm breath on my neck and wishing they'd stay this little forever.
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