together apart

Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
(photo: from the marbridge garden center, the trip with the petting zoo when mom was here.)

so last night was one of those nights. eva, in yet another burst of improbability, seems have decided that her third tooth should be a molar. (sure, just skip over those pesky ten teeth that usually would vie for third in line. why not? my little breech, tongue-tied, torticollis, no-crawling, baby... i'd worry that next she'll turn into a bowl of petunias, but larry says it's not yet reached infinite improbability, so we're safe.) anyway, yesterday she couldn't deal with me being more than five feet away from her for even a second, and despite clearly being very tired she couldn't sleep at all. from seven until nearly eleven, she woke up every 2 to 10 minutes (i wish i were exaggerating), and each time woke up really crying (or screaming), not just fussing. it was so sad! i finally gave her some tylenol, which is the first time she's had any drugs, and it did seem to help. but since i couldn't leave her at all, i had to abandon all other plans (like starting my taxes -- c'mon, it's only the 10th!) and barely managed to eat some sort of dinner (not that it was heated or involved a utensil). also, my shoulder injury from a few weeks ago is back (caused from carrying her incorrectly, it seems), so i can't lift my arm above my shoulder and can't easily hold her, which is of course what she needs. the prolonged crying triggers that hormonal response that starts to make me feel incredibly nauseous and like i need to claw through my skin or yell at the dog, and i was just about to lose it when larry called (he's in atlanta for a conference). but despite the fact that i had my moments, in general i seem to be getting better at this sort of thing. six months ago, i would have been consistantly thinking "i can't do this, she's never going to stop crying, i'm a terrible mother", but this time i was more calm and resigned (in a good way), knowing i was doing all i could and most likely all i had to do was make it until morning. that change in my own reaction really marks some big progress for me as a mother, and i didn't even notice it had changed until going through a tough night once again, so i surprised myself. but on to my original point.

the next morning, i got an email from a friend who had gone through a similar night (similar in difficulty if not in the exact details) with her son. my first thought was "oh, if only we'd known! we wouldn't have had to do it alone..." there's this idea i've often discussed with other moms regarding how moms are all doing the same tasks, like giving a bath or rocking and singing a lullaby or soothing a hurting baby back to sleep, but each in her own separate realm, perhaps feeling somewhat isolated. and there's something sad about that, like i wish i could see through all the walls in my neighborhood and find the other moms and feel connected by these tasks we share from a distance. before you have a baby, people will tell you when you're in labor to think about all the thousands of women around the world who are in labor at that same time, so that you can find strength in that bond. but what about later, doesn't the same apply? so sometimes i wonder who else is awake nursing their baby at three a.m. (or whatever it is), and in this case i had someone, a friend, having a similar rough night not far away. in a way, we went through it together although apart. and somehow, even after the fact, that made it better.

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