I never knew that mothering would take such spine-stiffening determination! In the past I always thought of mothering with warm and happy thoughts; of course, mothering is a lot of work, but it's fun work and fulfilling work, right? Well, I still think that is true, but I am also realizing lately how much grit and sheer backbone is needed to be a good mother.
As it turns out, I'm experiencing specific circumstances with each of my children that is calling for a little more firm, no-nonsense resolve on my part. With Clara Anne, it is the whining issue. Lately I think her speaking skills have regressed and she has just resorted to whining for everything. Argh! I informed her in a calm and matter-of-fact voice this morning at breakfast that whining was going to be punished within nanoseconds of the sounds leaving her mouth. I know that it is my fault that she gets away with it; sometimes if I am busy or just not paying enough attention, I let it slide for a moment and so she gets into bad habits. No more! I am going to stay on top of this one and we will all enjoy having a whine-free household, Clara Anne included!
Chloe's issue is that she is still having trouble sleeping through the night without waking up and crying. She needs to learn better to go back to sleep on her own, and I am a bit aggravated with this because we have already been through this issue! A while back, I stopped feeding her during the night but then would get up to give her the pacifier. But finally I had to let her cry a bit for a few nights so that she would go back to sleep alone. We accomplished that fairly easily, but then she learned to roll over and started waking up and crying again. So we went through the process again, letting her cry for a few nights until she learned to sleep on her back and tummy equally well. Success was ours, or so we thought!
Then we had our little trip last week. The first night in the hotel room, we had brought a pack-n-play for Clara Anne, but planned just to put Chloe on some blankets on the floor to sleep. What a bad idea...I had no idea Chloe could scoot and move around so much! With no boundaries, she just squiggled and wiggled and worked herself into the strangest positions and of course, every time she woke up and cried. My response: reach over groggily from my bed, arrange her into a better position, stick the pacifier back in her mouth, and hope she would sleep again. It didn't work. I don't think I slept more than a half hour in a row that entire night.
So in the few days we were gone, Chloe got the idea again that if she cried long enough and loud enough at night, someone would come to rescue her and do happy things for her. Now that we're home again, she's been waking up every morning around four or five, pleading for help. Now, of course I hate hearing her cry. Sometimes in the quiet of the night I find myself at the side of her bassinet, just then waking up--I don't remember getting out of bed! So it has seemed easier to just give her the pacifier, pat her back once or twice, and then stumble back to bed. The problem is that our little pacifier moments are occurring quite frequently, and I'm afraid I've let Chloe get into a bad habit again. It seems she needs to re-learn how to fall asleep by herself, AGAIN!
So I am going to have to stiffen my spine a little tonight. The bonus is that I am feeling the effect from all of these nights of interrupted sleep, so maybe my fatigue will work for me! I've got to do it, or we could be looking at months more of this! It may be that if I stand firm in my resolve, it will only take a time or two before she learns that it is no use crying, she doesn't really need anything, and she can just go back to sleep. Let's hope!
Writing this all is good accountability for me . . . I will post an update in a few days and you can see if I've succeeded in my resolve as "No More Mrs. Nice Mommy!"