THE MAMA FILES: An epic, headache-fuelled whinge ahead.

THE MAMA FILES: Little miracles.
THE MAMA FILES: An epic, headache-fuelled whinge ahead.

So Mr Chick goes back to work on Monday. For months he’s been tag-teaming it with me and as of Monday it’s going to be all me, all day. Probably without the mini-morning sleep in I’ve come to rely on like a crack fix, but if he has to be in an office somewhere by 9am I can’t see that happening from now on.

I don’t mind telling you that this has me pretty much out of my mind with terror.

I’m still popping iron pills like they’re going out of style and trying to exercise to get some energy (ha) but now I have plantar faciitis in one foot and am hobbling around it’s kinda difficult to get to 3000 steps a day on the Fitbit much less slam it at the gym on a regular basis. Result? I’m not just tired. I’m in that space that comes after exhaustion. You know, the space between exhaustion and death.

I’m being a slight drama queen, because on paper my kid sleeps pretty well. I do one feed now at 5am compared to when I was feeding him at 11pm, 1am, 3am, 5am and so on. (Looking back, I actually have no idea how I survived those days). He is technically ‘sleeping through’ but that means going down at 8pm and me having to replace his dummy or change his nappy or resettle him about 3-5 times a night right up until that 5am feed, depending on how unsettled he is. Doing these things sometimes takes only seconds, but you’re still up, aren’t you? You’re still awake and waiting for those sounds and not wanting him to wake properly because then you know you’re in for it and you might be up for an hour instead of a minute, so you’re better off leaping up and stuffing the dummy back in or doing what you can to settle him when he’s still on the edge of sleep. Because then you can get horizontal again and go back to sleep yourself until the next squawk or cry or dummy spit.

Then there’s the 5am feed and he’s too awake to go back in his cot so he sleeps in his bouncer while I half-sleep on the couch next to him, bouncing him, and waiting til Mr Chick takes over and I can go back to bed for a couple of hours. And if you added up the hours you sleep (and I do, believe me I do), it looks like almost enough, but it’s not and no matter how you spin it you can’t get around the fact that your sleep is broken, night after night after night after night, and at some point it just collapses in on you and you just cry and drink too much tea and scramble around for chocolate or sugar or anything that’ll keep you going, and you beg your husband to take the baby out in the pram for at least 2 hours so you can lie on the couch in a silent, empty house and basically feel like you’re dying from exhaustion without having to actually get up and do anything for anyone.

Plus, I think I wrote before about the Wonder Week thing, and this leap (16 days to go) has Charlie so hyper. He’s learning so much and has all these new skills and is processing stuff in his little brain constantly, so it’s probably not surprising that he can go from smiling to hysterical gasping in 0-5 seconds. And he does, without fail, anytime anyone but me or Mr Chick pick him up. When this happened recently because one of the gals in my mother’s group tried to pick him up, another said, ‘Aww, Charlie just loves his mama.’

And that’s beautiful and on one level I adore that he is so attached to us, but on another level the fact that he allows no one but me or his dad to pick him up and his dad is ABOUT TO GO BACK TO WORK FOR EIGHT FUCKING HOURS A DAY is, to put it mildly, a bit terrifying. To know you can’t hand your child over to anyone because he’ll cry like he’s being murdered curtails your movements A LOT. Forget babysitters. Creches. Even leaving him with my parents is dicey, because he only wants ME (or us). And I’m not the kind of mother who can hear her baby cry like he’s being murdered and sneak out the door to go for a gym workout. I thought I would be, but when he’s so little it’s more important to me that he’s happy and that means, unfortunately, that he needs me in his line of sight at all times.

Argh. I feel awful saying that about my baby’s sweet, babbling, smiling, gorgeous, unconditional love. He barely cries (unless someone else picks him up) and he’s an easy baby, really. And my god he is cute. I look at him and cannot believe he is mine and how adorably gorgeous he is. And yet you lie there, your brain hurting from fantasising about downing a bucket of Panadol daily because FUCKING HELL will this headache ever go and you know it won’t because you don’t get enough sleep for it to go, and there is this cheeky face on the pillow next to you, smiling while he pats your cheek with his fat little hand.

And then your heart explodes because you love him so much and you don’t care about your headache anymore, and you get up and make porridge and vow to buy a proper highchair because the bouncer gets covered in porridge and you’re too tired to hose it again and it’s raining and won’t dry anyway and the only way the kid will go to sleep is in his bouncer and so you end up with a dried porridge covered bouncer and that makes your head hurt even more (because you’re a bit of a house-proud control freak.)

This is post is basically going nowhere, so I’m going to chalk it up to a bad day and go buy a high chair.

Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).

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