Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Roaming (Literally) Through the Night - My Place In This World.

The problem here is that I don't have time to write a new post. I also have no presence of mind even if the laundry was washed and folded and dinner was made which is not likely to happen anytime soon as I sit here hoisting my Bud Light (I know, I know, I never claimed to be a connoisseur) and shelling peanuts. I really am still very clever and witty and all of that. Truly. It's just all on strike until I get some sleep. I have tried everything to make that happen. We are dressing her more warmly for bed, giving her Tylenol and teething tablets at bedtime, feeding her real food about an hour before her last feeding, sending George in to calm her when she wakes up in the night, etc. etc. She just doesn't want to sleep. She wants to nurse every three hours twenty four hours a day. I am currently off caffeine and hope that will start turning things around. Or it could make things worse if it doesn't help her sleep because I am, of course, less awake than even before. One wonders if I should be allowed to operate heavy machinery. I hate unsolicited advice. We all know that. I am now soliciting advice. I have probably tried it, but whadaya got?

I never wanted this. Oh such (deliberately) dramatic words! I didn't. Insert yourself into the Lifetime movie of my life for a moment. I was going to be a journalist. Not a news journalist because politics bore me. But I was going to write delightful pieces on big events and famous people and exotic places. My dad kept saying I should be an actuary. What on earth is an actuary? Exactly. It's some sort of math-y person who makes up statistics. Very dull. Sorry Jennie. Jennie's husband is an actuary. I mean, whatever floats your boat. But it didn't float mine. I was good at math. I got 100 for the course in Geometry. But I hated it. On the other hand, I barely made a B in Algebra and I really enjoyed it. So was I really good at math anyway? Exactly. Well, my dad seemed to think I was. And he kept telling me everyone wants to be a journalist. So no one wants to be an actuary? Is this a selling point? But oh the money I'd make! Jennie can correct me if I'm wrong but I'm thinking it's just pretty normal. No, I did not want to be an actuary. I wanted to be a journalist. "You'll never make it." He kept telling me this. Aren't parents supposed to say things like "you can be any thing you want to be!" "You'll never make it?" Well, close enough!

So I took JM101, the "weed out course" for would be journalism majors. You had to make an 89 just to pass. Something like that. I made a B, I think. Not bad, right? But it scared me. I was always scared of life after school. And some of those people were ambitious. Like Diane Sawyer ambitious. And I thought I might not make it. I mean I didn't want to be Diane Sawyer. But what if all the people who did and couldn't be took all the jobs I wanted? It was so scary! Too bad. I stuck with a nice safe major like English. I could still be a journalist, but I could always "fall back on" teaching. But I am so not a teacher. How was I supposed to know that at nineteen though? It didn't really matter too much to me, it just made my dad feel better. I was still planning on being a journalist. Sort of. If I ever quit being scared of all the Katie Couric clones. I was even offered an editorship in the Glomerata, Auburn's yearbook. Again, I was pretty intimidated by that so I turned it down. What?! I don't know. I just thought maybe they were trusting me a little too much. I wrote a few pieces but got pretty bored with it because I didn't have enough to do. Right, could've solved that problem by just being an editor like they asked me! Again, too bad.

I still had this journalist idea though. And when George and I were engaged, we were walking around downtown Auburn and we saw that they had opened a newspaper office right there on College Street. So we stepped inside. I actually got an interview on the spot. But I was just visiting until I moved back and I didn't have a resume and I just sort of panicked. I told them I'd have to schedule an interview a little later, the next time I was in town. I mean, retelling this is just mortifying! What was my problem? Why was I so afraid? It's not like my dad had ever actually read anything I had written. He wasn't telling me I wouldn't make it based on my writing, but on the journalism industry. Also, he recruits doctors so how much do you think he knows about the journalism industry anyway?! Well, he was just trying to be helpful. I mean, clearly from this story, I was the one hindering my progress. So I called William White about three times a week for months. I probably drove him crazy. I never got the interview. He strung me along though. I'm not sure why. And then I found out Amabel was on the way and I just sort of gave up- And not really reluctantly either, I had a pretty romanticized idea of what motherhood would be!

So five years later, my blog was going to be my big launch back into writing. You know, because I'm so fearless and confident now. But it's turned into just one of those that has little stories about my kids and recipes every now and then. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Most of my friends' blogs are like that. And it's perfect for a friend's blog. It helps you keep up. It's the reason why my inbox is almost always empty, everyone knows what's going on with me by visiting my blog. But I wanted to be a journalist, you know. Now my dad says I should try free lance writing. "Send stuff in!" he tells me. I wonder if he feels bad that it wasn't a passing fancy so he has started encouraging me (but in a sort of grumpy way- "shut up and do something about it!"). Yeah, but I should also have my own bakery and my own line of children's clothes. I even have a name for my business already! It's super cute too. But I guess the point is that it's just not that time. That time may come. I don't know too many pastor's wives so I don't know what they normally do. Maybe they do things besides having people over for tea. Even that would be fine. It's just that now is the time for dirty diapers and peanut butter and jelly and up every three hours at night and nothing much to write about but that. I don't want to write about it because I don't really want to do it.

Keep in mind that I am just grumpy like a kid who hasn't gotten a nap in four days. Only in this case it's nine months. So all of this really is not as crazy as I'm making it out to be. It just feels that way. I mean, the story is true. But I didn't want to be the other way either. My friends all had power suits and went to job fairs. I had no idea why they were even my friends. They were always doing these impressive things on campus and holding all these important offices. I barely maintained my two activity quota for sorority by being nominally on some sort of random committee and going to RUF. Could've solved another problem by being a Glom editor!

But August and I are trying this thing out. August and I make a big deal out of everything. August spills his fruit snacks and cries. He calms down, puts them all back in the bag, and spills them again. Then he really cries. I am trying to teach him that these things can be funny depending on how you look at it. Frustrating? Or funny? I think it must be a big difference between laid back people and uptight people. So maybe I'll just take my frustrations, like not being a renowned journalist, my large family inside a small apartment, etc.(heaven knows they are abundant), and make them funny for all to read. Maybe free lance is the way to go. But I won't do it any more than I sell things I sew. Someday? Well, first things first, how about more than three hours of sleep at a time?!

I have read this several times and have no idea if it makes any sense at all. I have also now had two beers and have possibly tried to address too many things in one post. Any comments are welcome though, even those who might encourage me that my gifts lie apart from the printed page!


Anonymous said...

Sorry, I don't have any suggestions for the sleeping stuff. Is she sleeping with you? My E wanted to nurse 2 times a night until he was at least a year old. He still isn't the best sleeper. Typically, he joins me in bed between 12 and 4 every night. So, like I said, I have no advice. I have been there, though. There are sleep clinics out there that have really helped folks. Maybe you should look into that?

Beer. Thank goodness for that, right?
--annie :)

Elizabeth said...

ok, no suggestions :) just wanted to say that you crack me up! i do think you're on to something about the way different personality types react to things--that makes a lot of sense....

courtney said...

Abby -

I am right there with you. My little one is a terrible sleeper. She turns one next week and still wakes up a couple of times a night. Not for long, mind you, but, enough to wake the parental units. I'm so sorry. Don't you wish that when you gave birth that right after the actual baby birth an instruction manual followed? One for each child. I'm praying for you b/c I know it's infuriating!

Jessie said...

Abby, I'd love to bring you a meal from my freezer - just let me know when. Also, we have some beer that is much better than Bud Light!

Matt Churnock said...

I hear where you are coming from. Right after I finish my Masters I had offers from Chicago and Philly with two really good firms. The thing that kept me from going was the money, or at least that is what I said it was. Really I think it had more to do with fear and the fact that we could be comfortable in B-ham, so we stayed and my job is terrible. I often wonder what it would have been like to take one of those offers, but I believe God has a plan for my life and my fear is not bigger than that plan.
Bud Light over Fat Tire? They even make a beer called Abb(e)y for crying out loud.

Thanks again for the marshmallows...

april said...

Since your good at math try this equation;

Wife+Husband+Baby(X)=Never sleep a full night until they all leave the house

Anonymous said...

maybe you should rethink the actuary position... six figures eventually after all the tests! praying for more sleep... love, Jennie

the good, the bad & the ugly said...

I thought we had crossed over into sleeping through the night with Lydia Joy...then came a virus, which lead to a cold, which lead to an ear infection, which lead to antibiotic, which lead to upset stomach, and now two teeth are coming in. I have been crazy tired this week. I actually fell asleep at two red lights coming home from carpool today. I keep telling myself over and over again that it won't last much longer, although the previous comments make me wonder. It really is so hard! I really hope and pray for relief for you!

jennifer said...

Ok. Don't hate me for this. Do you ever just let her cry? I am not a crazy Ezzo type. Letting them cry is hard. But it really has worked for us with all 4 kids when they were infants/toddlers. Sure. Charis wakes up a few times a week. But we just shoo her off to the sofa across the hall from our room, and she goes right back to sleep.

Abby said...

thanks for the sympathies guys. i regret my lack of sincere sympathy for this problem in the past. i knew it was rough, but i just never had it this rough. lots of people do. it is miserable. so sorry for y'all right back at ya!

jennifer, i think that is a perfectly reasonable question! we have let her cry for up to thirty minutes before but it does no good. the bad it does is robs me of an extra thirty minutes of sleep because i could have just nursed her and gone back to bed minus the thirty minutes of crying. also, it wakes the other two up and that is just more chaos. but we did try it some, for several nights in a row too. it just didn't work.

matt, how exciting is it that you totally get this whole thing?! kind of fun to have common ground :)

Elizabeth said...

I was just kidding about no advice....actually, I just remembered something I've heard but never tried! This only works if the child is waking up around the same time every night, which I would suppose she must be since she's a consistent every three hours eater. But I've heard that if you set your alarm for about 20-30 minutes before the child wake up, and go ahead a wake them up, feed them, put them back to sleep, do this for several nights(and I guess several feedings in one night!) and then stop, they will supposedly not wake up. The idea is that you are controlling their waking up, and then, when you don't, they just sleep, but since she's waking up consistently every three hours wanting to eat, it probably won't make her just stop, but it will hopefully delay her waking up, and maybe stretch her so she's only waking up once, and then gradually not at all...worth a try, I guess :)

bec said...


We're still swaddling S. to help with sleep. I started out doing it when she was born (we did it in the NICU for babies of all sizes too b/c it simulates the close, nestled security of the womb), and she was like a baby doll the first 3 months. At that point I just sort of quit swaddling. Not sure why....WELL, she became a different baby, and it took weeks to figure out she just wanted to be swaddled again. I guess she didn't like the feeling of flailing around in her crib.

I guess at some point she'll get so big she'll be able to get out of the "burrito," but she does great now. I wrap her TIGHT TIGHT with a blanket, her arms by her sides. Sounds restrictive to us, but she likes it. That, along with her paci and consistent bedtime, have really helped matters. Just throwing this out there, b/c I know from my 1st one how desperate one can feel with a babe that won't sleep. E.'s a couple months older, so she may hate being wrapped up, but you never know with babies! They're full of surprises! :) BeccaB

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