Friday, April 18, 2014

hard baby

This last week, I finally said it out loud: my baby is a hard baby! I don't know why it took me so long, but there it is, for all to see. I am not a terrible mother, I just have a tough kid.

Actually, I know why it took me so long: after I had my second boy, after those first two years when he did not sleep through the night despite our best efforts, after running myself crazy, after waiting for him to talk in vain hope that once he can express himself it will get easier, and after telling my husband that I cannot have another kid like this, I might as well face it: 1 yo is most similar in personality to 8 yo.

I probably should be grateful that he does not walk yet, because he will not walk, he will be running. He is pulling off the tablecloth. He is unloading every single cabinet and drawer, for the sheer pleasure of dumping and making noise. He opens the drawers in my childproof kitchen that my daughter never did. (When 8 yo was a baby, we were in a different apartment and I have the whole kitchen gated). He makes a mad dash for the bathroom the second the door opens. He dives off objects, head-first. He takes off on the playground, across cement. He dumps whole buckets of toys. He even tantrums when he cannot get something.

He is 13 months old. He is not even a toddler yet. And he still does not fully sleep through the night. For a while I used to beat myself up about getting up to nurse him, but that beat him yelling and waking up his siblings. Besides, he does not have the same schedule every day, so he does not always get to take all his naps in his crib at the exactly same time. And I do drink coffee, to be functional in the morning. Then I often find myself crashing towards afternoon, so I have some more caffeine. Then the baby does not sleep, so I end up upping my caffeine, to cope. And so it goes.

Actually, I survived college and grad school without drinking any coffee. Having my second boy turned me into a caffeine addict that I am now.

Oh, and I drank all the caffeine I wanted while pregnant and nursing my daughter, but she was sleeping through the night.

I used to say that the baby is at "go with the flow" schedule, but we are hitting a point where he very clearly might not be thriving this way. He is having hard time with Pesach, his favorite foods being Ritz crackers and oatmeal. I have been mixing boiling water into shmura matzo meal, and then adding yogurt and smoothie to that. He has not been thrilled with the rest of the food, either. I sort of do not remember others having such issues. Then there is my 8 yo, rigidly telling me how much he is not enjoying Pesach, his lack of morning bagel, and all those additions to davening and benching.

Here I am, looking squarely at another potentially difficult child. I wish I could "nip it in the bud", apply some magical formula, consult with the experts, and not go down that rabbit hole. I wish this one was obedient, or a listener. Instead, I have a headstrong kid, who already wants to be like his older siblings, and who clearly knows what he wants and does not want and is not shy about it.

I can spend the time hiding under the blankets, closing my eyes, pretending that this is not happening. I can spend the time bemoaning and pitying myself for having all these difficult to control kids.What I can do is embrace my child's personality rather than spend time molding him into somebody else.

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