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From Crying In The Dark To Picnics In The Park

Week 43

Michael is the best rhyming thinker upperer ever.

Yep, this week’s little gem of a title is all him.

Emily is playing quietly in her room.

Even though she is supposed to be asleep.

However after an hour of her protesting, and me at a complete loss as to what to do, I have relented and let her get up and play.

I hate fighting with her over naptime.

I hate how worked up she gets over it.

I feel horrible when I go to pick her up, and she is drenched in sweat, because she has been crying.

I can even smell the stress in her urine.

Oh God it breaks my heart. And it isn’t as though we leave her for long.

I could really do with a hot cup of tea and a chocolate, but I am afraid if she hears me go down the stairs, my five minutes of happy baby will vanish.

I would not have minded if her grizzles had stayed grizzles, but when they escalate into distressed screams, there is only so much a mama can take.

How many times is too many times to go in, either pick her up or lay her down, pop her dummy back in, and reassure her everything is ok?

It is not as though I put her to bed because she is an inconvenience, or because I would like half an hour to myself. I was following her sleep cues; rubbing her eyes, pulling her ears, and that certain type of whinge whinge wah wah sound she makes when she is tired.

We do not understand why she suddenly dislikes her beautiful bed. Nor do we know how to remedy the situation.

I am afraid if we let her cry, she will begin to associate it with unhappy feelings.

I am afraid if we do not let her cry, she will never go to sleep. Ever!

Michael says he no longer sleeps, but has a series of short naps.

We can only hope tonight will augur some sound sleep for all of us.

Her toys are strewn across my office floor. Which is exactly how I like them. At least during the day anyway.

My having to step carefully is a reminder of how lucky we are to have our baby girl.

She is far too cute for our own good that sticky outy belly, roundy face, cheeky smile, and sparkly blue eyes.

I mean we don’t stand a chance.

We have been building towers, learning how to put things inside a box, reading books, climbing over mummy, talking to the baby in the stand-alone mirror, and gnawing on dragon’s scrunchy wings.

Michael has gone for a well-deserved swim, and some time out.

My husband has been a rock star this week in terms of getting up to Emily of a night, and doing the early shift.

On the blogging front, I am pleased to say, this week I have finally taken a different approach to these posts, and sat down for half an hour each evening to recap the twenty-four or so hours previous. Which is just as well, because again I would be stretching it to remember a thing.

Monday started slowly. At least for a particular mummy.

As is her new habit, Little woke all bright and sparkly at 5:00AM. However not even the birdies were up.

I rolled over, and although I would have gotten up, I was really hoping Michael would take the hit on this one.

My husband dragged his tired body out of bed, promptly gave madam butterfly bottom a bottle, and crawled back into bed.

Miracles of all miracles, she fell back asleep until 7:29AM

I was so pleased, but even then, I did not rise.

Darling, can you please please please get up with her, I asked in my sleepiest voice.

Honestly, I just needed another hour of termoilish sleep before starting my day.

Thank God, he obeyed, and the two of them padded down stairs to have breakfast, and play with toys.

As so often is our ritual, when I awoke, I called from our bedchamber, and as if by magic, a piping hot cup of tea appeared by my side, along with a very happy baby girl for company.

Yep, the Darcy women still like to have breakfast in bed.

However, daddy is on to us, and these days he usually brings my toast, and spirits Little away.

He knows I cannot resist sharing it with her.

Moreover, he knows where the bulk of the crumbs will end up – on his side of the bed of course.

It was raining, so we could not go to the park. However, this did not stop Michael from going for a swim in his usual place.

While baby girl went down for a luxuriously long two hour nap.

This meant I got to work on the blind mama website.

I still have not mastered the aesthetics or most of the technical stuff yet, so it is a work in progress. However, at last at last, it is progressing.

Yay me!

We have the rule in our house, whoever wakes it, takes it. Therefore, when Michael’s return woke the baby, it meant he had to go get her up, and give her lunch.

Actually, that was pretty much our plan anyway. Because my office was in serious need of a spring-clean.

I have been working everywhere accept my desk.

Therefore my afternoon was spent stacking and packing piles of why do I keep this junk into plastic bags. I have such a just in case mentality. It is ridiculous, and it is weighing me down.

Meanwhile daddy and baby girl amused herself by cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

She loves to sit in her bouncer, and watch daddy as he prepares food.

Like me, he explains everything he is doing, as they go along. Sometimes he even answers for Emily as well.

More Zucchini baby girl, he will ask in his usual deep voice. Yes daddy, more zucchini, he will then say in a high voice.

This kid is going to have no choice but to be a conversationalist.

I am feeling so stuck on what to feed her these days. We always seem to be cooking up the same things.

It took us about an hour to get her down for her night-time sleep.

The poor thing was so frustrated and upset. Even then, she did not sleep well. Therefore, it was a long and restless night for daddy.

So much so, by the time she woke properly at 8:00AM, on Tuesday morning, I took over, and we left daddy to catch up on some sleep.

Oh I know what you are thinking; 8:00AM, what are you complaining about. Well yes, you are correct, that is worthy. However, in our defence, her best sleep was those last three hours.

I have to confess to being a bit of a cranky pants when I was giving her breakfast. Miss I will not keep my bib on, and I will paint you in porridge was pushing my buttons.

I felt terrible about it. I mean after all, wasn’t I the one two days before who handed her the almost empty porridge bowl and encouraged her to experiment with the texture?

I have since lost my only pair of jeans to death by porridge.

Lord knows why I was grumpy, but needless to say, we each needed to change out of our pyjamas, and into something else.

In fact, we went through three outfits a peace that day.

Sometimes feeding her seems like such a hassle, because I know we are going to get very very messy. Therefore, it is not only the food I will need to clean up, but us as well. Moreover, it is the changing part, which I find overwhelming. Emily hates having her clothes taken on and off.

Again it was raining, so we could not go anywhere or do anything.

Daddy snuck out to buy nappies and formula, but that was about the excitement of our day.

Emily and I simply stayed home, read books together, played chasings under the dining room table, sang songs, clapped hands, built towers, climbed on the couch, did puzzles, ate food, learned new words, made new sounds, and climbed all over mummy.

I have always harboured a dislike for puzzles. Even her baby ones with the simple shapes I find difficult.

Again getting her down was a chore in the evening. Who knows what that is about? She is waking up two or three, sometimes for times a night for a bottle. I am wondering if we are not feeding her enough during the day.

Of course we understand she is a growing girl, little miss tall who can peep over the top of the cot railing. My question is how do we keep up with her need for nourishment?

Wednesday morning was a 6:30AM start for the best husband ever!

Mummy simply could not face getting out from under the covers. Like everyone in our household I had not slept particularly well, but add to that the horrific nightmares, I had been having regarding being kidnapped and fed to rats, and I was a mess.

Thank you darling for getting up even though you had done the bulk of the work in the wee hours of the morning.

Still the deluge continued, so again no trip to the park.

Again, Emily and I simply stayed home.

Our afternoon was spent with her playing on the floor beside my desk, while I wrote.

Again, I worked on the virtual construction site, which is assembling the blind mama blog, while she rummaged through the nappy pile, pulled out wipes, climbed through daddy’s messy corner, and even stacked her first box tower.

I was so proud.

All day she had accomplished little things like that. Be it climbing through the piano, under a new table, squatting down without any help, standing facing a corner, edging her way along mummy’s wardrobe, or pulling toys off shelves.

Her day was filled with little progressions.

Little progressions, which are going to see us with a proper toddler before we are ready.

Every five minutes or so my little cutie cute cute cute cute would climb up my leg, sit on my lap, pull my hair, and generally need some loving.

However, I did not mind. Because within the in-between, I managed to get loads of work finished.

In fact, it was nice to regularly get down on the floor and play games.

Even though she only had thirty minutes sleep all day, over all, we had a fairly happy time.

We even managed to rearrange

Her room again.

Now the cot is parallel to the door, and facing the window.

I am hoping this is better fang Shu, because although her head no longer faces east, her feet are no longer directly facing the door, and nor is she in front of a mirror, but who knows. Who really knows.

Wednesday seemed to augur a newfound confidence in her exploring.

I mean I only lost her in the house twice.

As in, she was silent like a mouse, and would not answer when mummy called.

Luckily, for those bells, which once I found her the second time, I put on quick smart.

It is funny, because part of me bought them as a gimmick. However, they are proving really useful.

Sometimes I forget how not being able to see effects my world.

Still, still on some level I am trying to parent like a sighted mama. When will I learn?

What I mean is, denial keeps creeping in regarding what I need or want in order to make this easier for all of us, and I am struggling on a very subtle level to get the balance right.

It was another restless night on Wednesday, as just as I was thinking baby girl would never be in our bed again, Michael brought her in at 4:00AM, so we could all get some sleep.

Oh yes, in case you did not know, this is definitely on our never list. Nevertheless,   we have crossed that line, and become those parents.

She snuggled into daddy, and they got a good three hours. However if she sleeps with me, every move I make, wakes her up.

Who knows what that is about.

I went to work as usual on Thursday, so I cannot say everything my two pirates did.

However, I do not imagine they sat on the couch and read their respective books, the way they had the day before. Michael pouring over “The Wonder Weeks”, in order to make sense of where Emily is at, and what we can do to help her transition through this oh my god we need some sleep period. While Emily being the little multi tasker she is, helped daddy turn the pages, whether he needed them or not, and flittered between climbing, and reading her own animal book.

She is so clever!

Michael tells me they were finally able to get out, and have a play in the garden. Emily bear crawled around the back yard, which she has never done before. They also went to the park, and even a walk to the shop. Anything to get out of the house. Three days in a row is a long time for little girls to be inside.

She was so tired by the time I came home, we practically had to put her to bed.

She went down without a hitch, but was awake at 9:30PM.

As difficult as it was, we gave her a bottle, and put her back to bed where she cried herself to sleep.

We have been doing a little more of that during the day lately, but had never tried it at night.

It was horrible, and heart breaking. We sat in bed, holding hands, and prayed to God that she would settle herself.

She has been stretching us lately, in terms of crying when we leave the room, but happily talking or playing with us when we re-entre.

Throwing or spitting her dummy out onto the floor is a firm favourite. Then whinging she does not have it.

After about half an hour of grizzling and protesting, she fell asleep, and stayed asleep for five and a half hours.

We cannot remember the last time she did that.

However, at 4:07AM on Friday it was all over.

Oh how it was all over!

We gave her a bottle, but when we put her back to bed, she was so distressed, that within twenty minutes, Michael had brought her back in with us.

His theory being, we had let her cry it out earlier in the evening, but this was a different kind of cry, and neither of us could cope.

He was right.

We become terribly conflicted when we look at it from her perspective, along with what we are trying to foster within her.

I have to wonder what goes through her little mind, when she obviously wants to be asleep, but will fight us tooth and nail.

We feed her, make sure she is warm, has a clean nappy, is comfortable, and nothing is out of the ordinary.

Why some nights is her bed a lovely place for her to be, and other nights it is not.

Oh, it is horrible. I feel so guilty when we let her cry.

However once again, she crawled around much the way a puppy does for a minute or so, looking for a comfortable spot to lay, and then curled up with her big handsome daddy, and they went to sleep.

I am not sure I want her in with us all the time, but I confess to longing for her snuggly company in our bed of late.

My instincts tell me, some nights she simply needs to be near us and have cuddles.

If we had a fold out mattress chair thing in her room, no doubt I would camp there on a regular basis.

What keeps us going through these tumultuous nights is that it will not always be like this.

We hope.

Later on Friday morning, Emily and daddy made their way to the library for unofficial story time with Emily’s friend Ronya. Where they read a book or two, ate blueberries, and crawled around the big open space.

Michael says she was so good at picking up those berries and popping them in her mouth. Her motor skills are developing nicely.

Emily fell asleep in her pram on the way home, and miracles of all miracles, she stayed asleep for almost an hour parked in the middle of the lounge room.

We have never been able to figure it out, how she has always known when we are home from behind her slumbering eyelids, but she usually wakes just as we are walking down the front path or halting inside the front door.

It was too hot to go to the park on our way home after work, so we bypassed it in favour of a nice swim in the clamshell pool.

As usual, daddy took the hit, and went in with Emily, while mummy diligently held the towel.

I am not a huge fan of water unless it is really really hot, and the liquid is a reasonable temperature.

By reasonable I mean swimming in the clear cool waters of the Mediterranean Sea in the middle of summer type situation.

I do not want to be the mama who sits on the sidelines, but oh God, sometimes I can think of nothing less appealing than plonking down into a plastic puddle of water.

I mean I will do it if it makes baby girl happy, but while daddy is here…

It was another stoppy starty night for the Darcy household.

Emily has developed a new 9:30PM feeding pattern in adition to all the other times she wakes.

The only way we could get her back down was by my sitting and rocking her to sleep in the 100-year-old chair.

It was lovely to sit there, feel her shift, and sink into the different levels of sleep.

It was even more wonderful to place her back in her cot without her stirring.

However, our peaceful sleeping baby did not stay there for long.

Again, at some small hour of the following morning, she was up, awake, and distressed.

It took a team effort, several attempts, and what felt like an age to get her back to dreamland.

Our wiggle pot refuses to stay under a blanket. Putting her in a sleeping bag makes no difference to her wakefulness. She simply cannot get comfortable at the moment.

I worry she is black and blue from the amount of times I hear her bang some body part or another against her cot as she resists her weariness.

Michael tells me she is fine.

However even more I worry that when I take her out, and if she does happen to have a bruise on her noggin, it will not be seen as a top-heavy baby finding her feet, but that I am an irresponsible parent, and cannot look after our daughter…

It is difficult for me to voice this next sentence, as I am afraid by the mere act of writing, it will come to fruition.

My words cannot convey just how utterly vulnerable, powerless, and scared I feel regarding this topic.

I am frightened if she is bumped, scratched, or grazed in any way, somebody will take her away from me. And not for any other reason than the stigma and assumptions cloaking my disability.

I am a good mother, an engaged mother, a tentative mother, a loving mother, a happy mother, and a stable mother. However, I am also a mother who is blind and what if that means something terrible to a bureaucrat?

Oh God!

The whole idea is unthinkable, but the point is somewhere in the back of my mind I feel like I cannot take our relationship for granted the way an able-bodied woman might.

Perhaps this is something only another blind mama can understand.

However, it is not a conversation I have dared have with anyone, so I cannot be sure.

6:30AM on Saturday morning our cutie cute cute cute was ready to start her day.

We however were not.

We tried to bring her in with us for a quiet cuddle, and fifteen more minutes sleep, but with no luck.

We are loving the toddler gates at the doorway of each of our rooms, because it means we can put her down for a play.

Yesterday we got ten or so minutes of happy cooing baby from the next room before Michael gallantly gave up and got up.

He had organised with Ronya’s mummy to meet for a picnic at a local lakeside barbecue area.

Therefore, at least we were certain Emily would sleep to and from the venue.

We arrived at the designated area somewhere before lunch, where we were treated to dip, chips, and a belated Christmas present from Ronya.

Emily received her first brand new pair of shoes – a silver pair of soft souled sandals.

I think they will fit her for the next week or so, because she is growing growing growing so fast.

I felt terrible we had not brought anything to contribute to the occasion, but we had nothing in the cupboard, and I could not get it together in time to send Michael on a munchie run just in case.

It did not matter, because there were copious amounts of delicious food, but it would have been nice to add our generosity to the table.

It has been forever since I have eaten that much lamb, but oh, God it was good.

We were not expecting the day to be so big, or so flavoursome.

Clearly, I am out of practice as to what I think as a proper barbecue since living in Greece all those years ago.

Even though we have a barbecue, Michael does not fire her up very often, and when he does, I simply let him take charge.

Like our cooking styles, we have different expectations regarding a good old-fashioned barbie.

I really need to get involved more.

I know he will thank me later.

This is like lemon on eggs, spanakopita, and moussaka all over again.

Once he has tasted my take on things, it will become a regular part of our food repertoire.

Note to self…

We spent a lovely afternoon eating, while the babies played on the large picnic rug with their toys.

Emily was a little reserve at first, but by the time our day was over, she would climb up anyone who sat down and smiled at her.

She is so outgoing like that.

A very pushy baby magpie kept making his presence known.

Emily was fascinated, and tried to chase him around.

I was afraid to let her touch him in case he pecked off her toes, but Michael has since explained to me that his beak was not sharp, and it simply would not have been possible.

I hate pulling her away from animals, because I think she should reach out and touch them if they are willing.

However, I was not sure what to do with all those people watching us, and Michael did not intervene at the time to guide me.

I do not wish to inadvertently make baby girl afraid. Especially of the birdies. Do you know what I mean?

When we finally made it home, we really should have just given madam her bottle and put her to bed.

However, she was so sticky and dirty, that I suggested we give her a bath first.

This was fine, but then we made the mistake of letting her play with toys and read books for a little while before trying to get her down, when we should have capitalised on her tiredness, and put her to bed straight after her soothing bath.

It took easily over an hour to put her to sleep.

I felt terrible.

In and out Michael and I went, trying to settle our sweetie pie down, but to no avail.

However what I am specifically feeling guilty about is, I went into her room, put a book in one ear, and sat down with my head resting against the outside of her cot bars.

For fifteen or so minutes, I sat quietly as she gently chattered away and played with my hair.

However for some inexplicable reason I suddenly got up, deciding that no, she should be asleep, and I should not let her play. God knows where that came from, but the tyrant in my head took over my sanity.

Out the door, I went no warning, no explanation, and no nothing.

Baby girl burst into tears, and was completely inconsolable for the next thirty-five minutes.

I felt horrible.

What was I thinking?

She was not causing any harm. All she was doing was telling me about her day the way she likes to do if we have done something interesting.

I should have just sat there and let her wind down of her own accord.

I will need to remember this in future.

Do not be caught up in the should of motherhood, but stay in the sweetness.

Emily likes to tell me all her stories before she goes to sleep, and I know they cannot be rushed, regardless of the hour.

I mean of course it makes sense, Michael and I like to softly talk about the best parts of our day before we go to sleep also, so why wouldn’t baby girl?

It was just such a stupid and unnecessary oversight on my part.

I feel like I have let her down, and for what? Some ideal about how she should be asleep by 7:00PM at the absolute latest?

Granted the reason we put her to bed early is because she cannot cope with anything after 5:00PM. She just loses the plot, and needs to be in bed within the following ninety minutes if possible.

I suddenly had a voice out of nowhere tell me she would be awake for hours if I did not leave. And I was the idiot who listened. However, it was not the gentle I love you Little mother voice, but something obnoxious, demanding, and oh so loud.

The funny thing is I did not even question it until much later when I was lying in my own bed.

I hope that I will learn this lesson, and it will not happen again.

Last night was another shocker in terms of broken sleep, but what can we do.

Again, I found myself rocking Emily to sleep on more than one occasion in the rocking chair.

Admittedly, I love it, but of course, I worry, we are developing a pattern whereby she will not go to sleep by herself.

And if she cannot sleep by herself, then how will we get her to sleep if I am not here?

This coming from the baby who has not been rocked to sleep since she was tiny tiny.

Could it be that I am over thinking this?

It was a long hour or so between 3:00AM and 4:15AM as we battled with a sleepy baby who refused to sleep.

I was surprised when Michael got up with her at 7:22AM, leaving me to sleep a little longer.

Oh yes, and of course I feel terrible about that also.

I know a martyrdom thing I have going on is so unbecoming.

Emily and daddy did all their good jobs before heading off to the park while it was still shady.

We had arranged to go on another picnic with some friends, but I cancelled late last night because I was worried about how much sun Emily had received yesterday.

Of course, we lathered her in sunscreen, but I was not sure how she would go with another big day.

On the one hand, she had been so clingy yesterday morning, but had such a good time when we went out I thought perhaps we should take her. However, on the other, I was concerned she would be so over stimulated, that she would not enjoy it.

Moreover, it was a long way for us to travel for her to melt, and us have to leave after half an hour.

Sorry Maria, we will see you soon.

Emily is looking forward to chasing the boys.

Therefore, we stayed home. And this brings us back to the beginning of our story.

Daddy has since returned from his outing, and he and Emily are playing in the pool.

Little sounds so happy.

On the speaking front this week, we have leaped forward with words such as box, bed, pasta, play, toy, book, love, and bear.

However today everything and I mean everything apart from daddy is bwiiii.

Emily is not particularly talkative around other people, but with us at home, she never stops.

She is beginning to join syllables and sounds together and not just repeat the same sound over and over again. Unless she is singing of course, then it is a lalalalalala.

In toy terms, she has taken to wrestling with big bear.

Big bear is a big fluffy white polar bear sent to us courtesy of my old friend Denise. He is larger than Emily, and has taken the brunt of several potential faceplants.

Somehow, he always seems to be in the right place at the right time.

Slouched in front of the giant frog on wheels, next to the activity table, half hidden under a dining room chair, and so on.

Thanks big bear, you are doing a sterling job.

However, when it comes to stacks, this week there have been a few.

I have not been party to most of them, but Michael tells me there have been a few thuds in the kitchen as she tries to climb up the drawers or out of her bouncer.

There was even one on the concrete out the back, when our quick sticks baby girl escaped her other rocker, while Michael was no less than arms reach away.

However, the one that shocked me was her climbing the stairs by herself.

Honestly, I am not sure how it happened, but I found her with her bottom on the third step, and her head on the second.

I think she had followed her daddy, but again she was so quick.

One second she was playing with my crazy cane collection hanging on a row of hooks behind the front door, and the next she was stuck as described.

We have slowly been toddler proofing the house as things come up, however she had never shown any interest in the staircase before.

I know I know it is no excuse.

Good on her for giving the stairs a go though. That is good climbing.

Daddy has been teaching her how to get off the lounge by putting some pillows on the floor and letting her explore more fully. However she still insists on her head first approach.

So much for our bottom first rule.

She is full of personality.

Published inThe Blunder Weeks

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