Thursday, August 27, 2009

Missing my baby

I miss my son terribly. Every morning, stiff from sleep, I am unable to pick him up for the cuddle we both need to start our days. I am well enough to either pour out his cereal or sit up at the table to eat breakfast with him. I am currently expected to do both. So after breakfast, I spend time lying on the sofa recovering, unable to interact with him in a normal way. I am too distracted by pain. He watches more TV than we ever would in our own home. It is something I am able to do with him, but I'd rather he play, even if it is not with me. When he has his morning sleep, I am not resting, but using the time to dress and wash with agonizing slowness. Then I take more painkillers and try to rest before he wakes, having been soothed to sleep not by me but by his grandmother. He has stopped coming to me. Mummy can't play, get food or give cuddles, so what use is she? All his affection is reserved for Nana, who is doing everything I passionately wish I could. I sobbed today when he voluntarily came to give me a goodbye kiss and wave when heading out of the door on yet another outing I cannot accompany him on.

He is eating lots of food we wouldn't normally have at home, such as tinned meals, biscuits and bread often more than twice a day. The only vegetables he eats are the ones in the individual portions of homecooked food I made from scratch months ago, to have healthy ready meals for him for after the new baby arrives. My supply continues to dwindle, and I can't even be sure that I am well enough each day to stand and defrost the meal and then heat it. And it seems others are unwilling when there are tins of ravioli to be served. He is allowed snacks very close to meal times, when I would normally just try to get the meal ready a little earlier. Instead, he has to wait, and fill up on snacks while such-and-such a job just needs to be finished. His meals are often eaten alone, something I try to avoid. After all, how will he learn to use cutlery if he has no frame of reference? He is often spoon-fed, often in front of the TV. He often eats too much as the TV distracts him enough to miss his full-up signal. He is then praised for finishing a meal. I don't mind if he doesn't eat much of his meals, as he is learning how much he needs, and only he can be the judge of his own hunger. But while we are here, he is learning that people find clean plates a cause for celebration, something which I feel founds my own over-eating. I wish I could avoid this. He is scolded for experimenting with the feel and texture of foods with his hand. He is only learning, and wants to see. Yet....

He is being allowed to get away with much more than at home, such as throwing toys. I cannot leap up to stop him, and he has a much larger audience here. Daddy had a plastic cup launched into his face this evening, hitting the bridge of his nose, after his glasses did. And any reprimands that do not come from me are shouted, loudly, something I try to avoid, along with overuse of the word “no”. Boredom whining and frustration tantrums are not met with a “how can we solve this” attitude that I really do try so hard to present at home, but with “oh, stop your moaning”, not something a 20 month old can easily understand. He is bored, he is used to one planned activity outside the home a day, he is a difficult to entertain toddler. But he is now expected to be happy in the house all day. He isn't.

The worst part of the day by far is night time. Daddy usually arrives to put him to bed. Downstairs, I listen to the delighted squealing in the bath, and try not to think about how he cuddles close for his bedtime milk, folding into your body for his last bit of contact before bed. I have not personally witnessed how he rolls away onto his tummy with his blanket and dummy and sleepily dismisses you from the room for over a month now. Later, I go to bed, and HID goes home and leaves me, to fit the new bathroom before the new baby arrives. In the night, as is usual, I hear crying that wakes a mother instantly. I cannot get upstairs to him, even if he was downstairs with me, I am unable to lift him into my arms for comfort, and sway and nurse him like I used to. I wait, listening to his cries escalate in intensity before my mother wakes and tends to him. I lay in bed, considering each night dragging my body up those stairs just to see that he is all right. I would pick him up, I think. I would give him milk. But a tack of a different generation is used. Without the parents and comfort he is used to, in a strange bed in Nana's house, he wakes even more frequently than at home. HID takes on the night shift at weekends and a few nights a week. Who knows, this change could unsettle him even more. This is the part I hate the most. Trapped in my bed, listening to my son scream out in the night for attention and affection, something a child should never be denied, even at 3am. Yes, sometimes my patience wears thin with a child that doesn't sleep through the night. But he is my son, and I'm always prepared to go to him. The sleepless nights make anyone but a mother (and sometimes her too) have a short fuse, even with a delightful and much-loved small boy who just wants to play.

My mother is almost 50, she didn't plan at this age to be getting up three or more times a night to tend to a crying baby. She didn't make the decision to be running around after an energetic toddler all day, coming up with new and exciting things to do each time boredom strikes. She did not expect that I would be so ill in my second pregnancy, no one did, or I would have put it off for much longer. No one has asked her to do all our washing, cook all our meals, change all the nappies and an endless list of other wonderfully caring things she does, completely unasked, and, it must seem, thanklessly. I am so very lucky and grateful to have her. I just wish I was doing it my way. It isn't just the parental-style issue. I miss it. I want it so badly that each time they leave the house, and I am alone, I cry bitterly with the agony of spending all day with a child, but not really being present for him. Daddy must miss him too, he isn't seeing him nearly as much as if we were living at home. But I have totally crumpled. And with each day, the pain increases, and I am doing less and less with him, for him. As a mother, it's killing me.

One thing that struck me today: he learned to walk just as I was losing the ability. So although he has been walking for some months now, and is able to walk distances in the park and so on, I have never seen this. I have never walked with him outside. I haven't had the excitement of seeing a dog in the distance with him, or having a bus drive past us.

I cannot explain how desperate I am to get better. I don't want to be a burden on my mum and husband, and all the friends that are helping us. I don't want to be in pain. I want my son's routine, discipline, eating and sleeping habits to return to normal. But so much above all of that,I want to go back to being the mother I was, and I want to stop missing out on my son's toddlerhood. I want to teach the new words and play the new games. I want to show him the world. Me. Not anyone else. I am missing that so much. I am missing being a mummy so much. I am missing him so much that I ache.

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At 9:12 pm , Blogger Coding Mamma (Tasha) said...

You poor, poor thing. I only have a miniscule part of this (cannot pick Rosemary up; cannot bend down to her or easily sit on the floor with her; cannot run around with her; have to tell her off when she starts climbing over me) and I hate that I'm missing out on those things. I hate that she gets to go off for long walks in the countryside with Chris and my sister and swimming with Chris and I can't go with them.

You have it about fifty times worse, and I can totally feel your pain. I hope you have your new baby very soon and have a speedy recovery, so you can be there for your boy again.

He will be fine, though. It won't take long once you're back on your feet to bring you back up to Number One place in his life and his heart. And he won't remember these few months. (I know that doesn't really help, sorry.)

Thinking of you.

At 9:27 pm , Blogger JK said...

Oh allgrownup, hang in there! It's not long now and then you'll be back to normal. Your boy won't come to any harm from a few weeks of having things done a different way from how you want to do it. Soon you'll have a little bundle of joy tucked up all cosy in a sling while you run round after your boy.

At 7:30 pm , Blogger Yummy Mammy said...

Sending you a big hug xx

Hang in there, not long now and then it will all be a distant memory.

BTW - I think we may be from the same area of the world, although I'm living in exile in Dublin at the moment, but hopefully not for long

At 10:17 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel for you, your post was so moving. Not long now and you'll be home with both your son and your new baby and able to enjoy being there for them.
I wish for you a speedy recovery form your 'C' .
Your other post too, about not needing gifts but needing cooked meals or someone to take your son out, was super. A great idea nad well put.
All the very best.

At 8:36 pm , Blogger Sandy Calico said...

Oh you poor thing, my heart goes out to you. Fingers crossed you'll soon be back at home running round after your two babies xx

At 10:40 pm , Blogger clareybabble said...

Oh how crap have I been, only just reading this!

Hope you're ok. I hope this is all over for you soon. When it is, you'll have lots of time to make up for not playing with your son. He still loves you just as much!

Wishing you lots of luck xxx

At 10:34 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor you - your post brought tears to my eyes, I can only imagine how frustrated you must be feeling. The only good thing is, at least it's finite, and there is an end in sight. xx


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