Life in the Rhino

February 18, 2014

Why do they call it the Rhino Cruiser? Wouldn’t it be more appropriately named the hippo cruiser? I’m just sayin’. . .

We are 3 months into wearing this brace, and I’m counting the days until it comes off. The doctor sent me home with the advice that the first 3 days (nights) are the worst, to be strong because she won’t remember this, and it will prevent surgery in the future. I had already done what any good mother would do, research the pants off this condition, and most of what I read said the same thing. The first week or so is rough, but after that smooth sailing! I thought positive. It could be worse, much worse. She doesn’t need surgery NOW, so we aren’t dealing with a spica cast. And we don’t even have to wear it 24/7, just nighttime and naps!

The first night was awful. In fact, we didn’t even make it the whole night in the brace. She didn’t cry she screamed, kicked her legs, and arched her back. Constantly. I thought she would tire herself out, but she was persistent. My husband wanted to take it off by 1 a.m., but I held off. Eventually, I did give in because I needed SOME sleep before I tackled the day with my brood of three. It was close to four in the morning. This went on for weeks. I got use to sleeping in the recliner with her because that seemed to be the only position she was comfortable in.

The last week we wore the brace at night I was up with her 3 times an hour before I would go to sleep with her in the chair. With my back throbbing, the circles under my eyes growing, and my patience weakening, I decided enough was enough! We switched her to wearing the brace during the day. Of course, day wear brings it’s own challenges, but she’s adjusted well. I wish I could say this solved the sleeping issue, but so far it hasn’t. Now she is so accustomed to sleeping in my arms, that the crib with all it’s space is scary for her. I’m still up with her 5-6 times a night, but it has only been a week, so I’m hoping it will get better. (At least it’s easier to cuddle without her legs spread eagle, and I’ve even been able to take her in the bed with me — being able to sleep on my back feels ahhhh-mazing.)

Despite my motherly thorough search of the inter-webs, I haven’t found much of anyone in my situation. It seems like the brace was no big deal for most everyone else. If you’ve stumbled across this blog searching for someone who shares your level of about to lose it insanity brought on by this brace, know you’re not alone. It sucks, but we’ll keep at it with our fingers crossed for 41 more days.

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Last night went something like this: baby down at 8:00 (an hour past schedule) child 2 down by 8:30, child 1 at 8:45. 9:00, rock baby for 2nd time. 9:40, feed/rock baby. 10:30, rock baby. 11:15-2:45 feed/sleep with baby in recliner. Wake up with aches in lower back. Pray to the gods of the universe that she won’t wake up if I put her in the crib. Get a glorious hour and a half nap at the edge of my bed because child 1 and 2 have taken over our bed. Wake up at 4:15, mildly impressed with the baby for making it that long. Simultaneously acknowledge how good it feels to lie horizontally and how jealous I am of husband, who is on his 5th solid hour of uninterrupted, horizontal sleep by now. Feed/sleep with baby in recliner until 5:45 when her beautiful smiles shout at me, RISE AND SHINE, MAMA!

Sound awful? This wasn’t even a bad night. On a parent sleeping scale of “that was awesome,” (which I will define by over 5 hours of sleep, getting interrupted only briefly 1-2 times) to “I’m going to cry,” (defined as I would probably feel better right now if I just had never even tried to fall asleep) it was somewhere in the range of an eye roll. 5 out of 10. Mediocre.

I suppose we were lucky with our first two, since they slept through the night starting at 3 months or so. I remember being able to get them to bed, have a nice dinner, get a workout in, cleaning, homework, etc., and still be able to get a solid block of sleep in (gasp) a bed. My husband and I would hear other parents complain about their sleepless nights, and we’d think, “yeah, maybe we’re lucky, but they should just do routines like we do!” Surely, that was their problem. Well, we’ve since eaten a large portion of humble pie. It obviously had nothing to do with us or anything we were doing, because we are still us, doing what we’ve always done plus any and every suggestion we can find. It’s all for nothing, because this girl just won’t sleep unless she can hear the hum drum of my heart beat under her chubby cheeks. Just MY heart beat, daddy’s won’t do it, thank you very much! And so here I am eight and a half months deep in sleep deprivation looking for a better word to describe the out of control “crazy” desperation I’m feeling.

Oh well, someday I know I’ll miss this too.

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Magic is 2

February 12, 2014

A friend posted a link titled, “why my kid is crying” where people send in images of their baby/toddler crying and the reason why. (Ok, that was pretty self explanatory.) Kids are funny, but often as parents we’re too stressed out trying to get through the day that we lose perspective of the humor (or necessity?) behind tantrums. Anyway, I made it my own project, and here is what I came up with.

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The great thing about this project was that it made me stop in the midst of chaos to grab my camera, and take a moment. It MADE me gain perspective of the situation. Instead of, “oh my gosh, just stop crying!” I was more sympathetic, or at the very least, less irritated. Because who doesn’t feel like kicking and screaming on the floor when they can’t have their cookie?

With my new shift in perspective, I am starting to see how magical this age really is. Frustrating, exhausting, impossible at times, yes, but magical. Yesterday as soon my sweet toothed toddler got his fairy treats (we have good-night fairies visit our house and leave treats if little ones are sleeping on time. This morning it was a few mini m&m’s.) he jumped back in bed with his puppy, a beanie baby multi colored dog he can’t seem to go anywhere without lately. He feed the treats to his puppy, then himself, happy as could be. These are the moments I am happiest to give my children, and I’m so lucky I have the chance to soak them in.

Later that day he played dress up with his sister. As I listened from the other room, I overheard these gems: “I will be a prince. And you will be in a tower and I will help you.” And, “I’m a prince to save you and Charlotte and mama.” Music to my ears. But the best part of the day was during our happiest moment time. Usually when the question gets to him, he says something generic like going to the park, or playing a puzzle, even if we didn’t do that during the day. But this time he said, “when we was playing and Gwen was helping my buttons.” There are no words, just a happy heart!

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