If you read this and think… those sentences are short. She sounds kind of done… you’d be right.
The past week has been a little tiring. We were on vacation with family at the beach for part of the week and then the second half of the week, Taylor and I went to the beach. Just me, him, and Selah. All of it was fun and it was so so nice to be around family. Taking Selah to the beach is exciting, even though she can’t last very long in the sun and water. Just seeing her stick her fingers in the sand and squeeze as a smile spreads across her face. It’s something simple, but it’s sweet and rewarding watching her experience something so small like that for the very first time.
Before we left for the beach, I worked super hard to get the house put together so that we could come back to a clean house. We’ve been trying to do this ever since we were married. I don’t know why it’s so difficult, but it’s like… there’s always something that stops us from reaching the unachievable goal. There’s a load of laundry needing to be washed, or there are dirty dishes, or …SOMETHING. So, this time I was determined. I ran around the house like a crazy person, throwing clothes all over the place, making lists, sweeping, taking out the trash. Selah just sat in the floor staring at me and chasing after my feet and giggling. I’m sure she thought I was playing a game with her.
Traveling in the car with Selah is, at best, tolerable. She’s not a car baby. Never has been. It’s chance. Some days she’s okay, other days she screams until you pull the car over and get her out of the car seat. Mostly, I just want to pull my hair out. She’s been slightly better lately, but she still has her moments. When we do get her to go to sleep, we end up sitting in silence or with her sound machine on or whispering with the music down really low. This is a little frustrating for me since, ever since we were friends, one of the things Taylor and I do best and really enjoy doing is having great conversations in the car. That has been put on hold recently because of the monster in the back seat.
Getting Selah from the beach house to the beach is not really difficult… just a handful. She also had (and still does a little bit) a horrible diaper rash while we were there and keeping a wet diaper on does not help that at all. She was only happy for as long as she was in the water. It was cool and relieving I think. She crawls and gets the sand everywhere. She just wants to feel it. She looks at it with such wonder and it makes the trips worth it. Taylor and I are not really beach people. I like sitting in a chair with water at my feet, but that is where my love for the beach stops. The heat is crazy. The sand is of the devil. I’ve always hated the ocean. It scares me. I can’t see what’s at my feet and I also can’t control its ebb and flow. I have a need to control things so… there’s that. A great thing about the beach is that Selah would take super long afternoon naps. It was wonderful to be able to lay on the couch, fall asleep, and actually not wake up 30 minutes later.
We are back home now and struggling still a bit with the diaper rash, although Selah doesn’t seem bothered by it. On our way back on Saturday, she cried for basically the last hour in the car. There’s nothing you can do about it either. We tried giving her a bottle, feeding her, putting on her favorite song (yes, she has a favorite song), but she was just DONE. She wanted out and she wanted out YESTERDAY. Little did we know, that was just the start. We got home, Taylor went out to run an errand, and I laid Selah down for a nap since she hadn’t slept in the car. She slept for about 10 minutes and woke back up and refused to lay back down. I did everything we usually do. I let her cry it out, I rocked her, I sang her song… nothing. She was sobbing and I began to feel guilty, of course. I brought her back upstairs, tried to start playing with her, but she kept crying. I texted Taylor and said, “please tell me you’re almost home.” Taylor got home and helped to keep her happy until bedtime. We gave her a bath to calm her down, fed her, did the whole normal bedtime routine with a little bit more love and compassion. By this point, we realized something was wrong. She was just not herself. Our baby is happy and giggly and rarely ever ACTUALLY gets upset at something. She has always been consolable, but not yesterday. I volunteered to get comfy in the recliner in the nursery so that if she woke up I wouldn’t have to keep going up and down the stairs. She woke up once, maybe twice, between 8pm-10pm.
Taylor came down at 10 and we went to bed. For those of you who don’t know, our room is right next to the nursery. Like… 3 steps close. Since Taylor has to work on Sundays, I said I would get up if she woke up again. And she did. The first time I remember is 12:15am. After that it’s blurry. 3am, 4:30am, 5am, 6:15am and a few more in there that I don’t remember. This may be normal for a lot of people with 9 month olds, but I’ll tell you something…we have been incredibly blessed with a good sleeper. Since about… 8-10 weeks she was sleeping a full 12 hours through the night so anytime she wakes up, we know something isn’t right. At 6:45am, I decided to just get up so I got her a bottle and we went upstairs to start the day. I won’t bore you with all the details, but know that the rest of the day was basically the same. Random crying in the middle of playing, crawling towards me and clinging to my clothes, crying if I wasn’t within reach, crying if I fed her, crying if I didn’t, etc… She took a good morning nap (thank you Lord) but completely skipped the afternoon nap, again. She’s drooling, has a runny nose, won’t let me anywhere near her mouth, can’t breathe when you lay her down because her nose is congested… She doesn’t have a fever so I’m almost positive she’s teething. Taylor got home from church and helped to try to lay her down, but she screamed and screamed. We both are feeling bad that she feels bad, but we’re also both at our limit. Then…
I feel it. The tick on my wrist that, lately, has snapped me back into reality. I’m going to lose some of you at this point, but just… stay with me. Throughout the school year last year whenever a kid was getting on my nerves, my watch would buzz my wrist. When I feel like I’m about to pull my hair out with Selah, my watch buzzes. When I’m done with the car, when the house is messy, when I’m overwhelmed with my lists, when I’m about to wash the sand out of Selah’s pants for the 100th time that day… my watch buzzes. For those of you that don’t know, the Apple Watch has this thing that reminds you to breathe. It’s supposed to promote intentional breathing or something, idk. It’s probably on a timer and just goes off every 2 hours, but I promise you… my watch has evolved. It reads my heart rate or just knows by the temperature of my skin or the grumbling sound I’m making that it’s time to remind me. It buzzes my wrist, I look down at it and it says… “Breathe.” I know what it’s there for, but for me it’s become a way of putting my life into perspective. It reminds me to chill out and focus on what’s happening. It tells me to take a few seconds, regroup and try again with more patience. I can tell on the days when I really need that reminder because the watch will buzz, I’ll look down, take a deep breath and tears will get caught in my throat.
All of these moments I’ve talked about have happened in the past 2 weeks. I was running around the house getting it cleaned and there is nothing wrong with that. However, there was a beautiful child at my feet giggling at mommy running around and maybe I should have actually played a game with her while I cleaned or just given up on the cleaning until she was asleep (or have foregone the cleaning all together). I needed to take a breath in the car and be thankful that I have a healthy child who likes to move… that I have a husband that I love to talk to about anything… that, hey… you know what? She’s a baby and she can’t help it. Keep talking to her. Keep singing to her. It won’t be so simple later on. Take a breath and enjoy the time you’ve got with family on vacation, because family won’t always be there when you need them or want them. Breathe in and look at this crying, helpless child and realize that she just needs to be snuggled a little harder, kissed a little more, sung to a little louder, to go outside and take a breather herself. She’s more tired, more sick, more frustrated than you are. (Sorry, talking to myself now.)
May I have the wherewithal, patience, and wisdom to take a breath and really dig my fingers into the sand.