Monday, October 14, 2013

A Day of Natural Disasters

The thing about Texas is: it's always go BIG or go home.  So when it rains, it pours. And it's been pouring here nonstop since about midnight. And that's when my day started. 

I was up feeding the non-sleeping baby that visited last night, and after I got her all settled back in her bed, I started to hear the pitter patter of rain. There was a time in my life where I might have sighed and enjoyed this sound.  There was a time when I loved rainy weather.  But ever since the big hail storm that busted out our skylights two years ago, one of our dogs has gone nuts during rainstorms.  Like scream-bark all night long no matter what you do nuts.  It's stressful and frustrating and exhausting, so now when I hear the rain, I hear a giant anxiety-ridden hellstorm brewing.  I tip toed out of the bedroom and into the living room to turn on some relaxing music.  I hoped that it might drown out the rain, and I could go back to sleep without the loud, high pitched screeches that shortly follow (or precede)  the arrival of any storm.  Too bad that turning on the music actually woke her up, and she instantly knew something was amiss.  She started barking at me.  I calmly told her she was fine, and she needed to go back to sleep.  As you can imagine, she listened intently, curled up, and went back to sleep.


So after several minutes of barking, I tried covering her crate with a blanket, sighed heavily, and attempted to get back into the bedroom in between rounds of the escalating chaos.  Once I was back into the bedroom, I tucked a towel under the door and prayed to the Rain Gods to be gentle on my tired, old soul.  I fell back asleep and woke to a baby crying.  Chalk that up to the victory category, I'm surprised that she either calmed down, or we were all too tired to hear her.  I'm really not sure which.  

The morning proceeded with some baby play, a pleasant breakfast of toast (for me), and oatmeal (for her), with a little casual conversation mixed in.  We mainly discussed the letter "E" and how it sounds so funny to tiny baby ears.  She "EEEEEEEE"ed and I "AWWWWW"ed our way through the meal.  Before I knew it, it was nap time, and boy was I ready for a nap.  

I prayed to the Nap Gods to please be gentle on my tired, old soul.  And, they were.  Baby fell asleep fairly quickly, and I cuddled up to join her in sweet, sweet slumber.  But clearly I offended the Rain Gods with this prayer.  Clearly, they wanted me to know that they were still in charge.  And so, just like that, I woke up to the entire house falling into darkness.  The power went out, the lights went out, the wonderfully drowning white noise machine went out.  And then, the dog went off--loudly, and over and over again.  I flipped on the white noise app on my phone almost instantaneously.  I shushed.  I bounced.  I hoped the nap would be not be sacrificed, but the dog was louder and more persistent.  His timing was impeccable.  One bark after another, his barks broke the silence between shushes until the baby was wide awake and perplexed by the sudden change in... everything.

I surrendered to the chaos.  We played while waiting for our first Mommy & Me Yoga class.  It was warm, dark, and the dog was on high alert, barking at every chirp, every little acorn that fell on the roof, every little cricket sneeze.  I managed to sneak off and grab a sandwich while fussy baby explored a new board book, and before long, we were all packed up and en route for class.  We arrived only 5 minutes late.  Victory.  

Mommy & Me Yoga was fun.  It was hilarious, relaxing, and exactly what I needed.  Baby held out even though she was exhausted.  She was extra adorable, played nice with all the other babies, and seemed extra outgoing where she has otherwise been unusually apprehensive of strangers upon initial contact.  And--you won't believe this--I even managed to maintain my cool when I opened my eyes during one of our poses to find that she had crawled across the room and popped another baby's pacifier into her mouth.  (Yes, folks, The Mouth Spit Strikes Back.  Stay tuned to see what kind of fun and exciting illness we end up with now.)  

Indeed, I was feeling good about my decision to come to class despite the nap disaster.  I was feeling so good about it, I decided that I would drop by Trader Joe's ever so quickly to retrieve some much needed vegan cookies.  (One can only eat so much bacon and still hope to wake up the next morning.)  "Just five minutes," I told Baby, and together we entered the store, tote bag in hand.  I quickly located the cookies and made my way to the check out.  Five minute VICTORY!  I paid and stepped out the door... into a torrential downpour.

Oh, so, it's a good thing that my car was ALL the way on the other side of the parking lot.  I paused.  I ran through the scenarios in my head.  How was I to get this baby to the car without drenching her?  There was no one to pull the car around.  I had no umbrella.  I certainly couldn't hand her to a complete stranger so I could pull around.  "Well," I said to her with a smile, "here we go!"  And into the downpour we went.  I was walking quickly, apologizing with each step as I watched mom's shielding their babies from the rain.  

I'm sorry, Baby.  Rain slapped us both in the face.  I quickened my pace as she began to cry.  I'm sorry, Mommy's so sorry.  I held her tight and quickened my pace.  That's when I heard it.  A loud, boisterous laugh.  Her eyes were closed, her mouth was open, and she was... laughing.  I smiled.  We giggled together as we were pelted relentlessly by one rain drop after another.  The car was in sight.  I climbed inside toweled my poor little Baby off as she smiled, bewildered but bemused. 

Even on a day when it all seems to be going wrong, the important thing to remember is: everything is all right. I'm here. She's here. And even if doesn't all go perfectly, we're experiencing life together and loving every second of it.

That's the happy lesson I was ready to hold on to for the rest of the day.  The smile and pat-yourself-on-the-back lesson learned I was going to go to bed with.  And if that's the smile that you want to close with, you might as well gather up your warm and fuzzies and head on out.  Because, if you haven't figured it out the pattern yet, what goes up must come down.

While I was basking in the glorious life lesson I just bottled up, Baby fell asleep, just moments before I pulled into the driveway.  Having built myself back up, I was confident that I could get her from her car seat and into the house without waking her.  The power was back on, so I ran into the house, dimmed the lights, turned the white noise back on, and ushered the baby in.  What I didn't consider is the fact that she hadn't eaten in a few hours now, and, as soon as I picked her up, she realized this.  Once again, where other babies would have grown sleepy with the meal, she downed it like a can of spinach and then burst into action with renewed "EEEEEEEE!"  That is how we ended up with a 10 minute afternoon nap.  That is how I ended up on the couch, exhausted and beat down, wondering how I had failed so miserably so many times in the course of just one. single. day.

The door bell rang, and the dog exploded.  My sweet neighbor was there, needing to borrow some tin foil.  I politely invited her to enter while I retrieved it, wincing that anyone other than my immediate family was witnessing the absolute DISASTER my house was in.  Especially today, with no naps, and every single toy in play to appease a fussy, exhausted baby.  I walked into the kitchen and Baby started screaming.  Apparently, we were feeling apprehensive of strangers again.  I came back, scooped her up, retrieved the foil and handed it over, smiling, all while my nutso dog announced the beginning of World War III.  The neighbor left.  The hubby arrived and took over baby duty.  I melted back into the couch.

It wasn't until Baby was almost done with her bath and ready for her bedtime feed that I realized how I had really and truly failed.  I forgot her medication.  I forgot to give her the reflux medication that I give her religiously 3 times a day.  And now, she would have to wait half an hour to eat when she was already starving and exhausted.


She fell asleep before it was time to eat, and so I had to settle for a dream feed.  I hope that she actually ate something.  I hope it was enough.  

Baby is now restlessly sleeping.  I'm hoping, again, that my slip up with her medication doesn't result in a reflux flare-up tomorrow.  I'm hoping that she manages to relax enough to really get to sleep soon, and that we are not up every hour for the rest of the night.  But mostly, I'm hoping that I can forgive myself for a day gone wrong so that we can have a better day tomorrow.  Hopefully a day where we don't have to be anywhere and can do nothing but maintain her schedule and make sure she gets everything she needs when she needs it.  

I'm hoping that I can let go of my mommy guilt and go back to that wonderful moment where we were both laughing and running through the rain, holding each other tight, and embracing whatever the world threw at us.

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