Sunday, July 04, 2010

Anger's First Surfacing

It happened for the first time tonight.

I got angry at my daughter.

She had a pretty good day, although because of extreme heat, she didn't get outside like we wanted her to. It was just too hot here (temps of 33 degrees with a humidex of 38 or 39) and we were super uncomfortable. The AC has been running non-stop all day.

This afternoon, she went down for a nap, but she didn't nap well; only about 20 or 30 mins. Usually she's taking naps of 1 to 1.5 hours. Hubby was the one who put her down; he figures the heat was bothering her. Anyway, she was up much earlier than usual and a little fussy. Hubby gave her something for her teeth (the bottom right one is almost through her gums, the left one is up already).

At supper she ate fairly well, although she doesn't want her food warmed when temps are sticky like this, and she sat and played or cruised around furniture while Hubby and I ate a quick bite. He had to go to work, and so he was out the door by 6:30 and I ran her bath by 6:45. She took her bath really well... as usual she loves the water. I dressed her in thin pyjamas; a two-piece set in fact, thinking that it would be cooler for her to sleep in.

She played again for awhile, and around 7:40 I noticed a lull in her activity. That's usually my cue to get her bottle in her and settle her for bed. Bottle ready, I read her a story (Goodnight Moon) and she guzzled the full six ounces without looking up. She refused to settle down though, and I shifted her a dozen times, trying to cool her off and trying to get her comfortable. She gave a couple of good burps but she still didn't doze off. I set her down on the floor to play again while I prepared another bottle. She took about an ounce or so of that but still refused to settle to sleep. She cried, squealed, wriggled, arched her back, did it all. Eventually I put her down to play again.

By 8 p.m., she was exhausted. Rubbing her eyes, she was up on her knees and crying at me; she was completely beside herself with sleep. But she refused. This little girl fights sleep. HARD. Finally I just took her into her bedroom, and put her in her crib. I tried to give her a little more formula... she refused. So I turned on the monitor and slipped out. That's when the screaming and screeching started. She did that for about 20 minutes, and then I heard a 'thunk' and a halt to the noise, before it started in earnest. I ran in to see what happened.

Little girl's arms are longer and she's taller, so she could reach a set of photo albums in a wooden box and hauled them into the crib, on top of herself. I think she got more of a fright than anything; she certainly wasn't hurt. I put them back and took her out of her crib, into our room where it was cooler and quiet. She was so tuckered out, but still she twisted and turned in my arms. I rubbed her back like she likes. I smoothed back her damp hair. I made sure she had her Soothie. I rocked back and forth on the bed with her. Finally, she found a position she was sort of comfortable in, lying face down across my forearm, and I gently swayed her into what I hoped would be dreamland.

When I thought she was dozy enough to set down in her crib, I got up and did that. And whammo... wide awake. She scooched way up her crib on her knees and forearms, and rolled over to stand up. I went out of the bedroom, turning off the light and listened yet again to her hollering and yet again, she pulled down the photo albums. Enough was enough. By this time, it was after 9 p.m. and I was thoroughly frustrated.

I frowned. I admonished. I told her repeatedly that it was time for sleep and Mommy needed to rest too. I had had it and I was at my wit's end. She was sitting in her crib, crying and I reached in to lay her down again. Just as I did... "bleah"... she vomited a little bit right into my hand. I was within striking distance of her facecloths so I grabbed one to wipe my hand, and then her chin. And as I did... "bleah" again. The cloth caught most of it. I turned to throw that one in the hamper and get another, and while I did, "bleah" a third time and a virtual white river of semi-digested, sour-smelling formula came up. It spilled all over her chest and legs. All over her jammies. All over her cribsheet, and through to the underpad.

I took a moment to just breathe. I stripped her down to her diaper and grabbed another cloth, ran it under warm water to wipe her skin. Then I sat her on the floor while I stripped her bed and changed it. But as children are wont to do, she wouldn't stay there of course. No no. She had to try to chase the meow-meows. Then into Mommy's and Daddy's bedroom to grab at whatever she could reach. Then down the hall to the bathroom and try to get her bath toys off the edge of the tub. I was ready to pull out my hair! Chasing her (she's supposed to be asleep) the cats meowing to be fed, smelly stinky sour bedclothes in my arms and trying to change her sheets. ARGH!

I got her changed, and bundled her under one arm like a football. I was ready to scream with frustration. I took her back out to the living room... and as I did, it hit me.

I was angry. But even in my anger and frustration, this sweet little girl was grabbing at my shirt with her pudgy little fists. She was clinging to me (dear Lord, I hope it wasn't out of fear...) and she was as quiet as a mouse as I stomped through the house with her, sweat pouring from my forehead. I plunked her down in the living room and she unclenched her fists from my shirt and just looked at me. I sat in the rocking chair, feeling completely alone, and did what I needed to do: I started to count to ten and just breathe.

One... breathe Gil. Just breathe.



I heard her crawl towards me.

Four... breathe... you can do this.


And a little hand touched my knee as she stood up and patted my leg.

I broke down and wept.

I was so, so so terribly sorry for having even felt one moment of anger. I don't think I have the right to feel that towards her. I know it's inevitable that anger will come into play now and then as you raise a child. But honestly, after going through what we have, after doing all that we did, after recognizing that so many in this world would give so very much to have what I have today, do I really and truly have the right to be angry? EVER?? I don't think so. Honestly, I don't think so. But I know that's a pitfall of infertility. Can I marry what I know is inevitable with what my heart feels I should never, ever do? I don't know. I just don't know.

And then, to realize that I was angry at my daughter and honestly, she was just not feeling well. I definitely don't have THAT right. That's for sure. I do realize that.

I have never been as sorry as I was tonight. I picked her up, wiped my tear-stained face and held her tightly, kissing her sweet cheeks and smoothing her damp hair. And as I rocked back and forth with her and she finally, peacefully, drifted off to sleep, the mantra in my head droned: I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.

Oh baby girl, Mommy is so very very sorry.

Please forgive me.

Never have I been so sorry.

She went to sleep. I kissed her a dozen times. I set her down in her crib and I buried my face in my hands. Can I ever learn to forgive myself? I don't think so.


Miss Ruby said...

Oh Gill, don't beat yourself up too hard! You haven't done want every other single parent in the world hasn't done at some point.

Big hugs!

Kakunaa said...

Sweetie, no matter what it took to have her, you are still only human, still a mom, and sometimes there are moments of frustration. Don't guilt-trip yourself...she will do that for you when she is older, LOL.

Heather said...

We never stop do we? Beat ourselves up over failed cycles, then survivor's guilt, now we are never good enough has to end somewhere...

You are a fantastic Mother. Seriously.

Patti said...

Every parent has what I call those "guilt" moments that you look back on and always regret. I find they usually involve me becoming angry with one of the kids for something and then finding out that they were just sick or hurt or overtired and I didn't catch the cues.

That's part of being a parent. It sucks, but it's part of it.

You didn't do anything wrong. Yes, you were angry but you didn't yell at her or scream at her or (god forbid) smack her or anything. You were frustrated and it happens.

When the Wondertwins were old enough to understand, I would explain to them that everyone loses their temper sometimes, but what's important is to calm down, apologize and try to make sure it doesn't happen again.

You've shown Petite how to deal with anger and you did a good job of it.

You did great and you're a fabulous Mom.

Just because you had to go through hell's half acre to have Trinity doesn't mean you're not going to have tough days. What's important is how you deal with it - and you did a fantastic job!

Give yourself a hug from me, k? Wish I was there to make you feel better in person.

(I hope this didn't sound to preachy - certainly don't mean it to)

Nearlydawn said...

Sorry Sweetie, but you are being too hard on yourself... Now, do understand I get what you are saying, but man, you are only human. You WILL get mad at her again, and you'll do things like yell, stomp, and generally be angry Mommy. It's hard not to from time to time. You are just going through being Mom. This is PART of it - not something you should feel shameful about just because of IF.

serenity said...

Be gentle with yourself. This is not the last time you'll ever be angry with her, you know. You're human.

The trick is recognizing it, walking away, breathing through it, and moving past it.

Deep breaths - and let go of the guilt. You're doing great.


Anonymous said...

I think you did a great job of handling the situation - you didn't take your anger out on her even if it was what you were feeling. That is what makes you a good mom.

Don't beat yourself up. You did nothing wrong.

Liara Covert said...

Curiously, after being born and raised in Saint John, NB and having lots of experiences in NS, I have yet to visit Newfoundland! Stumbled on your blog today and I only sense synchronicity (no coincidences). How I came to be in Australia is itself a story. Part of that is shared in my Self-Disclosure: Changes from Within book.

Appreciate your candidness. Its not everyone who chooses to look within and raise awareness of how they think and feel. I write about such things to encourage deeper reflection and reconnection to the happiness, love and inner peace accessible inside each of us. Invite you to visit my blog. As it happens, I am going to be a mom in late August

Sara said...

Anger is just an emotion. You can't help having them. You can only control how you behave, and it sounds like your behavior was just fine.

I think us IF moms tend to be too hard on ourselves.

(here from creme)

Lut C. said...

I think Sara has a point. You can't make one of the basic human emotions disappear because you want it to.

What's more, learning about anger is one of life's lessons. What it means, what it doesn't mean, which behavior is acceptable, which isn't.
Can you imagine your daughter going to school later on, not realizing what anger is or how to deal with it? She might panic the first time another child or the teacher is angry.

Lut C. said...

Not that the guilt is foreign to me, or the idea of not being good enough, etc. etc.

(Arrived from the crème de la crème list)