July 17, 2007

A very nice woman asked if I wanted to write for Work It, Mom!—for cash money, even—and I had to decline because what little free time I had seems to be rapidly disappearing. Riley’s bedtime keeps getting later and later, and although you wouldn’t think an hour or two (or god help us, three) would make that big of a difference, it makes a WORLD of difference. It’s the difference between getting in a workout or not, it’s the difference between a leisurely meal and something gulped on the run while chasing a toddler, and it’s the difference between recharging at the end of the day with some personal time and staggering into bed feeling as though you’ve been hit by a bus.

Life has felt so screechy and tiresome lately, and I know pregnancy hormones are probably partially to blame, but on the other hand: my job is going through a spectacularly boring and dissatisfying lull (which as some of you may know first hand does not actually provide for a relaxing day, it means hours of thumb-twiddling and clock-watching and the sense that you’re experiencing a mental root canal), my house is in complete disarray—the kitchen is torn wide open at this point, allowing us the opportunity to eat breakfast a few feet from the workers each morning—and the dirt and chaos and clutter make our home atmosphere jangley and headachy, and Riley . . . well, Riley is in perhaps the most charming, interesting, and cutest stage of toddlerdom to date, but jesus is it ever exhausting to deal with his curious, emotional, jabbery, full-tilt little self.

Honestly, I would be far less whiny if Riley were going to bed at 7 like he used to. And I know, you’re probably wondering if I’ve realized just how upended life will be when the Secondtopus arrives and we have to give up even more luxuries, such as sleeping—the answer is YES, and I’m frankly a little terrified, because if I’m feeling overwhelmed and crabby NOW, oh my god I am in for a world of hurt in six or seven months.

Not that I’m, ha ha, feeling less than confident about my abilities to handle a newborn and a toddler. Or sort of freaking out about the entire concept of having two children. No, I’m good, just . . . hang on, I just need to sit down for a minute with my head between my legs, breathing into this paper bag. Just a sec.

Now that I’ve summoned the Wahmbulance, let me also say that this is all temporary, because my job will pick up again (it always does), the remodel will have to finish at some point ( . . . right?), and if I’ve learned one truth about kids, it’s that whatever their habits are at the moment will change. Maybe we can even reclaim that lovely, lovely 7 PM bedtime. With Thorazine, if necessary.

Following up on yesterday’s topic involving a blow to the nads and whether or not that can trigger intestinal upset, JB would like to clarify that he didn’t mean it would make someone instantly shit their pants, it’s more of a lingering aftereffect. As for the majority’s opinion that his claim is bogus, his reasoning now involves references to his exceedingly large package of family jewels, and how such an elephantine anatomical gift surely has more sensitivity than the average package.


Well, menfolk, I hear your ball-slapping stories and raise you one toddler infatuated with Mama’s “bee bees”, whose greatest joy lately involves treating my sore hormonal hooters like a Whack-a-Mole game. My sympathy is both sincere . . . and fleeting.


28 Responses to “Keeps on slipping”

  1. hello insomnia on July 17th, 2007 1:45 pm

    With two kids, you and JB will have to play man-to-man defense, that is, if JB’s elephantine jewels don’t get in the way.

  2. Amy M. on July 17th, 2007 1:49 pm

    Free time? What’s that? I can’t even remember what I did with my time pre-child! And that was only 1 1/2 years ago. I remember thinking that walking our lab was a lot of work. *snort*

    Thanks for clarifying JB’s statement. I was confused about how that would cause such an instant visceral reaction…

  3. LauraH on July 17th, 2007 1:52 pm

    Some people find it easier to parent with two children…Okay, why can’t I even type that with a straight face. It sometimes sucks, but you get used to it. Toddler “bee bee” infatuation runs a close second to the “husband loving the new, bigger bee bees” grab.

  4. Josh on July 17th, 2007 2:00 pm

    Fleeting sympathy is all we would ever ask. You’re a doll. (seriously, I have JB’s back on the ballzini’s argument, especially with the clarification, and the size stipulation. It’s a blessing and a curse) And don’t worry about the secondtopus. You are one of the coolest mom’s ever, and I’m sure much less capable women than you have sucessfully raised more children than two at once. You can handle it. As for the bedtime thing, you might have to switch to an enforced bedtime. I grew up with one of those. And when my parents had trouble getting my brother to sleep, my dad took his bleary eyed wife on the brink of collapse to our pediatrician and presented the problem to him. He said something along the lines of “My, that’s a very serious cough your child seems to have.” He then prescribed some big ass bottle of nightime cold medicine. It worked like a charm. See if you can’t get some thing along those lines.

  5. Pete on July 17th, 2007 2:01 pm

    It does get better with two vs one but that takes a few years before they become playmates. After that we had a few years before the ‘he’s on my side of the car’ routine. One suggestion is to potty train Riley as early as possible. Two in diapers suck and is expensive.

  6. Tessie on July 17th, 2007 2:16 pm

    Ack, the dreaded “extended work lull”. After a while with absolutely nothing to do I always get all panicky, like “I’m TRAPPED…get me ooooout of hereeeee!”

  7. rebecca on July 17th, 2007 2:17 pm

    I too am exceedingly nervous about the whole “managing both a newborn and a toddler AT THE SAME TIME” thing (especially the initial lack of sleep… oh man, am I ever dreading that. Well, I guess it will all work itself out – it always does.

  8. Joanne on July 17th, 2007 2:38 pm

    At around 20 months or so, our boy started to want to stay up later, but we still put him to bed at the same time every night (8:00) Sometimes he’s up for two hours, sometimes he goes right off to sleep. But I hate the thought of him dictating his bedtime to me, so we do the same thing every night. I figure when he’s 10 or whatever and tells me ‘I’m not tired’, I’m not going to let him stay up, why start now?

    We are having another one too, in January, and all I can hold on to is that at least I know what time this one is going to go to bed. I can’t stand to think about that lack of sleep that’s coming!

  9. Jan on July 17th, 2007 2:58 pm

    Joanne is SO right. He may have outgrown the 7:00 bedtime, but 8:00 is very appropriate for a toddler. Remember, the adults are in charge at your house. OK, stop laughing hysterically. It’s true. And if it’s not true now, trying to start when he is in elementary school is too late. I can’t tell you the number of parents I have had in parent conference who mumble “We just don’t know what to do with him.” Whaaaat? Who is IN CHARGE at your house!! Just a suggestion from a mom, grandma and elementary school teacher.

  10. sundry on July 17th, 2007 3:11 pm

    Oh, I hear that — I have no problem with discipline, really, it’s just that if we put him down and he screams from the bedroom for 120 minutes, that’s even less relaxing than just having him bumble around the house, you know? But yeah: we definitely put him down before 8, he’s just been . . . resisting. Loudly. For hours on end.

  11. Swistle on July 17th, 2007 3:17 pm

    My twins (2 years old) go to bed at 7:00–but it’s not unusual for us to have a temporary sleep crisis where somebody doesn’t think it’s a good idea and expresses him- or herself vocally and thrashingly on the subject for some time each night from the crib where he or she is imprisoned. I’ve been known to occasionally use a “supplement” (*whispering:* benadryl) to, um, help get bedtime back on track. But it doesn’t work with all kids, or work very well even when it does work–probably a good thing, since otherwise I’d be tempted to put it in their dinner every night. I mean, technically we’re the boss–but it’s hard to boss somebody to sleep. We’re so desperate for Kid-Free Time, we pop them in their cribs at 7:00 whether they like it or not–but it’s hard to focus on relaxation with wails in the background.

    A new baby adds a crazy adjustment time, but then things start improving a little more every week.

  12. victoria on July 17th, 2007 3:47 pm

    OK, no kids, I have no idea what you’re up against, but if you make him go to bed at 7 pm and he screeches ragefully or whinges mournfully and splits your eardrums/breaks your heart for 2 hours until he exhausts himself, isn’t that awful statge supposed to last like, 2 weeks, tops? (I’m thinking of Heather Armstrong’s sleep training of Leta which admittedly was so traumatic that it DID send Heather to a mental hospital but after the insanity, literally, was past, the CIO thing seemed to have worked & Leta now goes to bed every night at a reasonable, fuss-free hour). Oh, but wait, Riley’s a lot older than Leta was when they did CIO with her. Does CIO not work with older kids?

  13. sundry on July 17th, 2007 3:53 pm

    I definitely hope it’s a stage, Victoria — it’s not so much that he breaks my heart, it’s more that he drives me CRAAAAZY in there blatting away. We’ve often let him cry when transitioning through different sleep stages, so this is really nothing new . . . it’s just stressful, especially when he slept SO WELL just a little while ago (at 6:30, sometimes!).

  14. rebecca on July 17th, 2007 4:59 pm

    I had to weigh in again about the sleep thing… it’s so frustrating when you put them in their cribs and hear them hanging out in there for an hour. We generally put my son down around the same time each night (7:15 pm, but sometimes I miss the 6:30 bedtime!), and I find that it totally varies: some nights – often several in a row – he’ll stay awake for an hour and a half talking, and other nights he’ll fall asleep almost immediately. I think it’s definitely a stage.

    Two of the most frustrating things as a parent are that you can’t make them eat, and you can’t make them sleep. Grrr.

  15. ShannonJ on July 17th, 2007 5:12 pm

    Hm. Molly (now 3.5) has had an 8:00 bedtime since she was about 1.5, I think. She has always, always, always resisted sleep (except in the car). Don’t know if that is because we gave in to her crying as an infant and pre-toddler, or if it’s just that she is in daycare all week and doesn’t get enough of us – whatever, it has always been stressful for us to get her to bed and naps. We still stick with the 8:00 bedtime and have had to sit downstairs, directly under her bedroom, and listen to her cry “Moooooommmmmyyyyyy” or “Daaaaaaadddddyyyyyy” over and over and Over and OVER. Like you say, past a certain point it’s more unnerving than actuallly heartbreaking. It is getting better, but we did let her start coming downstairs for a while after her bath and watching some PBS to settle down. Thank you, Berenstain Bears. It seems to have helped – she still doesn’t want to go to bed, but she’s not quite so keyed up. So, after all this rambling (thanks for listening), I guess maybe what I’m saying is that I think what you have there is a phase. If Riley has been a good sleeper in the past, he probably still has it in him. I think a little break from the normal bedtime routine is a good thing, it may take some time to figure out what works for you but something will.

    Not sure what to tell you on the second kid thing – it definitely adds a twist, but since the next one probably won’t have a regular bedtime for awhile, you’ll have some time to figure things out. When Josh was born, my husband took over the bath/bedtime duty with Molly for a week or so while we all got adjusted. It wasn’t too bad (at least for me!)

  16. Naomi on July 17th, 2007 5:18 pm

    I think Riley will probably get better when the sunset is earlier. He is probably just thinking it’s toooooo early for bed the sun is still up. Try getting him to bed 5 minutes earlier every second night and before you know it he’ll be back to a 7pm bedtime.
    My kids have always had a 8pm bedtime. Other parents wonder how I get my kids to go to bed when it’s still light (sunset round here in summer is about 9.30pm) and the answer is easy. “8 O’clock, time for bed”. Now they even start begging to be put to bed if I haven’t gotten to it by 8.15 or we are out. I have NEVER insisted that they lie in teh dark and go to sleep though. They are allowed to read or play with toys in bed until they fall asleep, but the MUST stay in their rooms.

  17. Josh on July 17th, 2007 6:34 pm

    So I asked my folks what that medicine was and they said the active ingredient was Codine. So try and get something at least that strong. I remember Dimetap (sp?) working on me when I was a kid, if you can’t get prescription strength sucubus tranq. Mostly cause it tasted delishious and I would happily gulp down more than one dose if allowed.

    As for the screaming, I know from other applications that egg shell foam works wonders if you line the walls with it. It absorbs all kinds of noise, seriously. My room mates and I put it up in our old music room to mute the practice noises so you could hear the TV over the screaming electric guitar and drums.

  18. Nataly on July 17th, 2007 7:20 pm

    Hi there! I wasn’t the woman who asked you to blog for Work It, Mom!, but boy was I hoping you’d be able to do it:) I love your blog and I hope things do calm down just a bit in the future that you might change your mind – we’d love to have you!

    CEO of Work It, Mom!

  19. Erin on July 18th, 2007 3:02 am

    I am within 48 hours of going from one to two kids. Under 2 years old. I am **terrified** and also excited and also wondering what in the hell we were thinking. Send a life boat STAT!

  20. Claire on July 18th, 2007 5:11 am

    I hear you on the job issue; my position in a University has extreme lulls and then periods of non-stop action. Personally, I’d rather be extremely busy because, as you said, then I’m not just watching seconds tick by on the clock.

  21. Anonymous on July 18th, 2007 6:19 am

    If it’s any consolation, I just had my second baby – the first is 17 months old now. And it is not EASY so far, but it is actually a lot easier than I was anticipating. Something about having to kick in and care for a toddler helps distract you from all the exhaustion or something. I don’t know. I was much more a mess when the first was a newborn.

    Of course, I’m only a few weeks into it, and a personal meltdown could be imminent. But hey! So far, so good.

  22. Erica on July 18th, 2007 6:23 am

    My younger daughter (now 8 years) is on a lot of medication for various issues and had (and sometimes still has) a problem with sleep – as in she NEVER wanted to. It was nothing for her to scream and generally go nuts until after midnight and then be right back at it by 5 AM. She was on a prescription for a while, but it was really unreliable so the doctor suggested half a dose of dye-free children’s benedryl (saving the other half-dose for about an hour later if it didn’t work) and all was lovely and wonderful. She (at ages 4-5) was in bed by 8/8:30 with no screaming tantrums. It didn’t “knock her out”, it just took the edge off so she could realize she really was sleepy.

  23. omu on July 18th, 2007 7:31 am

    My lil guy has allergies (for real!) and Benadryl is a godsend in more ways than one. I think my husband is on to me when I say G’s allergies are bothering him and give him Benadryl at bedtime, but hey, if mama’s happy he should be too. It’s not like he’s the one who gets up with him at night…

  24. JMH on July 18th, 2007 8:11 am

    Comment on the codeine…my son NEVER sleeps in the car (even on long trips out of state) so when he had his tonsils out in April, I saved some of the pain medicine w/codine in it to use when we fly to FL this summer (it is about a 3 hr. flight) So, a few weeks ago, we had to make a 2 hr. car trip, so I thought I would try the codine med. Unfortunatly, it had the OPPOSITE effect and my son was H.Y.P.E.R. the whole day. No nap + wild 3 yr. old trapped in a car= crazy mommy !! I heard Benadryl is better…

  25. hilary on July 18th, 2007 8:22 am

    Regarding the bedtime, are you still doing two naps? Typically toddlers at this age switch to one nap, and the late afternoon nap may be messing with the bedtime. I hated the idea of going to one nap, but I actually prefer it. It’s 2 – 3 hours of peace in the middle of the day, and we have more flexibility to do things in the morning and afternoon. (and once we switched, or daughter’s bedtime was earlier) It might be worth a try if you haven’t switched to one nap yet. I hear you on the nighttime winding down – everyone breathes a sigh of relief when our almost-two-year-old goes down around 7 or 7:30. Good luck! Sleep issues….more frustrating than food battles.

  26. dorrie on July 18th, 2007 8:35 am

    FEELING YOU!!!!1
    Mine were 22months apart and I was so tired when pregnant with number two I thought I would die. Of course, my house wasn’t all pulled apart, either, so you win there.

  27. Selfmademom on July 19th, 2007 7:12 pm

    I know what you mean about being bored at work. I hate that feeling. When I’m slow at work I try to just remember that I can get other stuff done that I can’t when I’m busy. I hope that made sense. Good luck with the bedtime. We’re experiencing later bedtimes here too, and oh boy. That’s tough.

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