I spent most of the morning … okay, who am I kidding? I spent the entire morning in bed watching Once Upon A Time in Hollywood with my husband. And then we watched a bunch of random YouTube videos. The kids were happily in the basement eating Eggos and watching a Marvel movie.
You see I usually work Saturdays at my other job. But I had the day off today. And boy did I need it. I haven’t really had a vacation since, well, March. We did go to a cottage in July but I was still checking labs and having to be in touch with the office. None of my colleagues wanted to cover for me and frankly, I didn’t want to cover for them. We are all exhausted.
Burnt out in fact.
I don’t feel like I have much more to give anyone right now. My patients take up so much of my daily energy that I don’t feel like I have a lot left for anyone else. Not myself. Not my kids nor my husband. I know this feeling well. It sneaks up on me every 3-4 months in a good year but during a pandemic?
Everyone I talk to, and I mean everyone is feeling pandemic fatigue. Either they are working from home with their kids in online school; or they are caring for elderly parents while working from home; or they are laid off and trying to find money for their medications; or they are lonely and their depression is worsening.
So this morning I didn’t talk to anyone. I lay in bed and watched a movie while sipping coffee.
I am sitting in a salon chair finally getting my hair done. It desperately needs some help and this was the only time I could fit it in. I
work this afternoon and then I am off for almost three weeks.
Three more hours of patient visits to go.
Three more hours of lab reports, consults and prescription renewals.
Three more hours of dealing with other people’s problems.
Yesterday I started to worry that I was getting depressed again. I suddenly just felt … I don’t know, I felt off. I felt like I just didn’t care about any of it anymore. I didn’t want to go home and face the chaos of trying to clean and pack and deal with the kids.
But then I got home and amongst the chaos and dirty faces and piles of laundry to fold, I felt immensely better. I was happy to be home. I can’t begin to describe how reassuring that was to feel. Despite the state of emergency that my house is currently in, I was happy to be home and in the middle of it.
I don’t need a break from my family, house or kids. I need a break from work.
So, I’ve started sleep training baby J. The reason? This:
Both are amazing and needed in the immediate newborn period; the soother because babies need to suck and it’s just not practical to be a human soother all of the time; the swaddle because the moro reflex interrupts sleep and newborns/infants need to feel tight and secure when they sleep.
But there comes a time when both become a) a hassle, and b) a crutch.
Let me explain.
The soother becomes a crutch because once baby falls asleep, if the soother falls out of the mouth, the baby wakes up and starts crying. Mom and dad have to go back into the room, re-position the soother and baby falls asleep. This becomes a hassle when it occurs a bajillion times a night.
The swaddle becomes a hassle when baby starts moving around and pulls the Houdini routine and you walk into the room when baby is screaming only to find the soother still in the mouth but the baby’s arms are out of the swaddle and the kid doesn’t know what to do with them.
Both of what I described above started happening on a regular basis with baby J and one exhausted morning last week, I decided it was time to stop swaddling. The soother remained, but after two return trips to the crib to replace said soother in the span of ten minutes, another decision was made. Bye-bye soother.
What ensued next?
Yes. Blood-curdling screaming. Poor kid didn’t know what to do. Arms were flailing all over the place, legs kicking up a storm and there is me, face to face with screaming and quietly doing this:
At some point though, one just has to leave the room and let the baby cry. And cry he did. But he stopped eventually and fell asleep, for about 20 minutes.
The the screaming started again. I looked over at my cat who was sleeping on the couch next to me and she gave me this look:
Ah … sleep training.
Excuse me while I tend to the infant … in the time it took for me to write this post, about 20 minutes, he slept and is now awake.