It’s three a.m. and I’ve…

It's three a.m. and I've been up for an hour. I woke up thinking about dates for the Kriti Festival, and ended up just writing a damn e-mail about it so that I could go back to sleep. But still awake. I'm in that weird exhausted zone where you haven't gotten a decent night's sleep in a week because your child has been a) screaming regularly for no good reason (possibly back to teething, but not sure), b) demanding that mama be the one to get up and sit with her for hours until she falls finally into an exhausted slumber. Normally I love the rocking chair that Jed got us for a baby shower gift, but it's really ideal for normal putting-baby-to-bed. Weeks like this, I wish we had a massive lazy-boy recliner in there so that when she finally calmed down (but still refused to be put in her crib), I could just lean back and fall asleep there, holding her. There really isn't room for such a chair in Kavi's tiny room, but I can dream. (With my eyes open, because I am awake.)

It's just been a rough week. Nothing really wrong, but somehow feeling stretched to the edge of my resources in terms of time, energy, money, etc. We're hoping to have a second kid, and on good days I think it's a great idea -- sibling for Kavi, less likely that we'll obsess about her in that parents-with-one-child sort of way, more love to go around. But on bad days (and this week has had a lot of bad days), I think: we've taken almost two years to finally come to a reasonable equilibrium, a balance of teaching work and research/writing work and play and childcare and even a little time as a couple. How can we possibly add pregnancy + infant + two children's needs into that mix and stay sane? I keep telling myself that at worst, it'll be a year or so of exhaustion and misery, and that it'll be worth it in the long run. But on bad days, I'm not so sure.

It doesn't help that we're in a holding pattern elsewhere too. We're waiting on some financial/job news before we decide whether we're going to try to move this spring or not. The waiting is killing me. I hate waiting. And I love our beautiful condo, but daily it seems more and more crammed to the gills with stuff. (Especially with the nanny share, which has brought Gavin's stuff into our living room on a daily basis: playmat, swing, pack-n-play). If we're going to move to Oak Park, I want to just go ahead and make the damn move already -- at least put our place on the market, and if we get an offer (which seems likely, because thank god, our area has somehow managed to hold value despite the economic mess), go ahead and start looking at actual honest-to-god houses. Houses which might actually have a separate study for me, which is starting to feel like more and more of a necessity. A room of my own where I can close the damn door.

I love Kevin and Kavi and teaching and festival planning and friends -- I love it all, but it feels like my days are filled with people. And especially when Kavi is needy and clingy and wants nothing more than to climb all over mama, digging her feet and elbows into every sensitive body part, I just start feeling trapped. Maybe it's the thought of being pregnant again that's making me so stressed out about it, the thought that soon, if all goes well, my body will be taken over again by this alien entity, twisting it out of shape, making me ill for nine months, exhausting me. I am so tired already. Yes, I know, these are the dark middle-of-the-night thoughts, and I'll feel better in the morning. I know that. But it's hard to feel the optimism right now.

Time to try to sleep again. If that fails, I suppose I might as well get up for the day. Four hours of sleep is plenty to go on with, right? For the fourth night in a row...

8 thoughts on “It’s three a.m. and I’ve…”

  1. 3am funks are worth addressing, even if they always look better in the daylight. I remember going through all those emotions (minus the moving thing – we renovated a house whilst preggers with #1) when we were contemplating the 3rd kid. 15 months out from number 3, I can say it was worth it. Mid-pregnancy I was wondering. At 8 weeks I was questioning my sanity. Two kids are easier, in many ways, than one. But no point pretty-ing it up, the first year is no fun. On the plus side, most people find their life reaches equilibrium again quicker with 2nd kids than the first.

    OMG, though I relate to the tired… but they really, REALLY get better as they get bigger. You aren’t condemning yourself to a life-time of this.

    Probably not telling you anything you don’t know – I really just wanted to say that I feel your pain, and I for one reckon it’s worth it in the end. Sleep well.

  2. I feel for you. I hope I didn’t add to your burden! Thanks again for your insights into my manuscript. And I’m with you, as you know, about the conflictedness of having Two. One seems so reasonable for us, for the planet. But I don’t know how I can deny her a sibling. As I said on the phone though, I think you can rent siblings. Or make a kid who lives next door be her best friend. That’s what all those years of persuasive writing were for….talking little kids into being our kids’ friends.

  3. (This is a side comment to nik, not a comment on Mary Anne’s entry.)

    nik: 🙂 re renting siblings.

    It’s also worth noting that siblings are not necessarily best friends anyway. My brother and I (two years apart) didn’t really get along until after college (we didn’t hate each other as kids, just didn’t have much to do with each other), and we both had plenty of close friends from outside our family. And many of my friends who grew up with siblings had similar experiences to that–many of them just didn’t get along with their siblings as kids. (Some, of course, got along great with their siblings; I’m certainly not saying that doesn’t happen. I’m just saying it’s not a given.)

    I also have a fair number of friends who were only children, and who grew up at least as happy and well-adjusted as those with siblings. So you’re not necessarily denying your kid anything by not having another kid. (I heard a great piece on the radio in LA a year ago about “onlies” that I’ve been trying to find again ever since; if any of you happen to have heard it and know more about it, lemme know.)

    I’m definitely not saying people shouldn’t have more than one kid. I’m just saying that the specific (and common) argument “We need to have another kid so our first kid will have a close friend to play with, because siblings are always close friends” has never carried much weight for me. It’s a very widespread cultural belief (even among people who didn’t get along with their own siblings as kids), but the (admittedly anecdotal) evidence I’ve seen doesn’t appear to support it.

  4. feel your pain. It’s really hard to decide to ignore a need for a year in order to meet another need, but that sounds like the direction you’re headed, in terms of finding time for the second child.

    One thing stuck out for me, is the sense of needing to move for space reasons. I might be off, but I think there are other solutions, which involve storage space and simplifying your life. Time was, a much larger family would have fit in your space. Please keep in mind that moving to Oak Park would add space but also complexity in terms of being close to work, close to friends etc. and close to services.

    JMO, though.

  5. We may end up trying storage space if we do stay here another year, although in some ways it’s more mental space than actual lack of physical space. We could stack a lot more boxes on top of the treadmill if we didn’t want to maintain the illusion that we might actually use it. 🙂

    Oak Park is actually the same distance from work (one reason we like it), and further from some friends but closer to others, so that part’s sort of a wash. I think the restaurants aren’t generally as good as our area, but we can’t afford to eat out much these days anyway, so that’s not as relevant.

    Mostly, the move will be for good public schools and a real garden/yard when we actually move. It just bugs me, knowing we’re going to move and not actually doing it. It makes it hard to invest in this place, emotionally or financially, once I know we’re going to leave it.

    For kids, we really can’t afford to wait — given my age and the fibroids, if we’re having a second, we should be trying as early as possible to try to avoid complications. Otherwise, we probably would have waited a couple of years. Oh well.

  6. And just to clarify, we could of course simplify our lives; we lived in a one-bedroom in Oakland last fall, and it was certainly do-able. Although it gets a bit trickier when both of us are trying to work from home (as we do most days of the week) and the baby is screaming a lot.

    Plus we like our stuff, and for the same price as we paid for this condo, we could have a real house in Oak Park and much more room to spread out all our stuff. 🙂

  7. Jed, I agree with what you said. I have a brother two years younger and had a similar experience. But I think I have read some psychology research indicating that two years is the worst possible spacing for siblings, insofar as their being friends is concerned. Either less or more is better.

  8. Siblings are complicated, and there are certainly good reasons for many possible choices. But I’ll put in a plug for the value of a sibling even if you aren’t particularly close. My sister and I actually get along quite well, but we’re very different and we are far from best friends. To me the primary value of a sibling isn’t friendship, and isn’t even being taught to share attention. I think it’s quite possible to get both of those things from close friends/cousins/etc. But I do think there are some things that a sibling provides that aren’t easily available elsewhere. Having someone to share the attention and intensity of parents/grandparents is a big plus for me – and my family isn’t even particularly intense. It was nice as a child when I was struggling, it was nice as a teen trying to decide where my life was headed, it’s nice now to know that I am not the only avenue to grandchildren, etc. I like knowing that I am not the only outlet for any wishes my family may have. And of course as we get older, it’s nice (*gulp*) to think that when the time comes to make choices about my parents and the life they’ve built, there will be someone around to share both the emotional and logistical aspects of that.

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