Currently, I’ve retreated to the basement in escape of the heat that’s infiltrated upstairs as well as the monotony of fourteen months spent in the same space. Finn is on my back for a nap in a carrier for the second time today. Once again, last night involved constant attachment during the night, and this morning I woke from the ridiculously light sleep that has become my normal to find Finn sprawled across my chest attached at the nipple. This is also the norm lately.
For too many days now, Finn has been biting my nipple while I nurse him just before he falls asleep. Of course, once bitten I’m not willing to continue offering him the breast, but then he won’t fall asleep. At this point in the nighttime or nap routine, Finn becomes overtired and a bit ridiculous. He becomes clumsy and courageous, a dangerous combination. Here, I employ a few different strategies. Either I give in and let him crawl the living room floor amongst his toys or snuggle up with daddy until he inevitably returns, pulling at my leg with arms outstretched, or I put him in my Yoli + Otis wrap, shove a Natursutten soother in his mouth, and begin dancing around to Finn’s favourite, “Amsterdam” by Gregory Alan Isakov until sleep takes him. Occasionally I rock him in the glider when in the wrap, but most often when I do so, Finn wrestles me. Instead, he only relaxes at the most demanding, energy-sapping methods. In this way, days are long and energy is low.
Would I change anything? Not in a reality that includes my sweet son and awesome husband and the life we chose for ourselves. But not speaking of these moments when it gets tough isn’t doing motherhood justice. We all have these moments, to be sure. The challenge of it is what makes the doing of this work so incomparably rewarding.
When these days of teething-induced exhaustion strike, I’m reminded of those other days and weeks in the past six or seven months when we were affected by teething. Like then, no amount of caffeine drink, protein bar, essential oil rollerball application, or nourishing smoothie can combat the kind of exhaustion I feel today.
As I dance around my basement with my 25 lb baby on my back, I feel a certain kind of desperation. Despite rubbing his eyes, his tell tale signal for sleep, I worry as to whether or not Finn will fall asleep or if I have to return to the upper level sauna for more of the same. The heat, the messes, the unyielding demands of my attention. Instead, I now feel the crushing weight of my sleeping 25 lb baby and count the quiet of it preferable. I text Joel at work saying how very difficult this day is through tears that come at this admission. Tess, our dog, wags her tail at me sympathetically, but she climbs the stairs and leaves me alone in the dark of the basement.