Or at least feel assaulted. When it seems like there is no reason and you will never be able to move on your own, or do any movement other than holding and bouncing. Sometimes I lay on the floor and just set the baby on my stomach, because my arms can’t do anymore. Or just rock in the rocking chair because rocking is more what I need than even what baby needs. I hold him and the screaming is ringing in my ears afterward for hours.
Of course there are reasons–spit up, vomit, just tired again. And I remember from my first eventually patterns set in, you get better at guessing and their own bodies just get more comfortable. This week has been hard because I thought that those patterns were settling a bit, and now they are all off again and I keep thinking I might do something, then the baby screams.
Yet, despite the past few days, we still manage. Yesterday my arms were writhing from holding the baby all day. Soon as dad got home I handed him off and was ready to take off on a walk. But my toddler starts yelling no, and I realize she hasn’t had any time with me all day and really she hasn’t complained. She did watch videos all day except for a short stint outside. So I invite her along, with the firm promise to walk the whole way because I cannot carry her. And then we have fun. We sing–skid-a-mar-ink-a-dink-a-dink and Baby Beluga–skip, run, race, pick flowers, play hide-and-seek, play tag at the park. Which ends in a meltdown because another kid at the park joined in and tagged me. And even after all that fun, in that first moment of meltdown my first reaction is, why can’t I have a kid who will just play? Why is a small amount of the unpredictable–just another kid playing too–a disaster? When I feel that way I know it’s my own stress, not her, and that stress stayed incredibly high all night and through this morning despite the fun of the walk.
And then, magically, the baby stays happy for a half hour then stays asleep for an hour. And then I’m helping her with a new app to breed birds, helping her figure out the numbers and instructions which ends up being fun for both of us. Then we are doing stickers, drawing “instructions” for our next project: mixing rice and food coloring and glue and seeing what happens. And I’m even cleaning up a bit and cooking! And the baby is cozy and relatively calm. And then we’re rough-housing and baby is smiling and watching in wonder as we tickle and tumble.
A homeschooling friend just posted a schedule of her day. It’s funny coming at homeschooling somewhat backward, starting with unschooling, never intending to do school at all. It looks so pointless, honestly, and miserable on both ends. Everything scheduled down to the minutes, projects assigned, singing timed. After the emotional misery of the last few days it looks utterly miserable. I can’t imagine having the energy to instruct and order. I know that ritual and patterns can be comforting for some kids. But when the baby is finally asleep and my daughter and I are giggling about some pretend fish, when she decides on her own to turn that off and walk over to pick Mr. Wuffles from the bookshelf so we can giggle about aliens and cats, then we’re doing art projects and then she pulls out the yoga mat and starts doing her own versions of yoga, and now back to a video which gives me a minute to write. . .then I can’t imagine it any other way.