Thursday, 24 July 2014

Keeping my cool

I'll admit I'm a bit of a hot head sometimes. I can get pretty cranky pretty quick if the situation provokes it. And with the recent events of sickness and lack of sleep in our house I've felt myself losing my cool faster than usual.  I haven't always been this way.  It's only a semi-recent behavioural change in me that I don't love at all and work every day to counteract. So yesterday I felt a surge of pride (is that the right word?) when a particularly demanding and annoying day could have got the better of me. 

Gracie's nap schedule has changed around AGAIN this week. Her usual twice daily hour-and-half sleeps have been replaced with a brief 30minute nap that leaves her neither refreshed nor happy. And as much as I shush and bounce and cuddle she fights me off and tries to play. This is fine until about 5pm when all hell breaks loose and she becomes an overtired monster who wants dinner early, refuses to sit still, doesn't want to get out of the bath and won't let us put her PJs on.  And as predicted she falls asleep super early.  Which brings us to yesterday. 

Gracie's day started at 3.30am. She woke and made her usual "gimme them boobies" noise and so I complied. This usually lulls her back to sleep til about 7am. But no, not yesterday. So we bounced and cuddled for 30minutes with no effect. Rather than tearing my tired hair out I put her warm gown on and took her downstairs.  We ate a very early breakfast and had some paracetamol for teething pains and within an hour she was asleep again. SUCCESS!

She woke later that morning at 8am to restart the day a little happier and so did I. But come 10.30am and her morning nap and we repeated the same as the day before. After 35minutes she was awake and bright-eyed, ready to play. So instead of trying to wrestle her back to sleep I popped her in the highchair for lunch. She was visibly tired, but ate a big bowl of fruit and yoghurt before reclining with a rusk to watch me finish my bowl of soup. No tantrums, no crying, just chilled out. SUCCESS! 

After lunch we played in the garden. I watched with held breath as she scooped a giant handful of mud from the garden and put it in her mouth.  But we just washed her mouth out and kept playing. By 2pm she was struggling. The playing had turned to whinging and she was refusing to let me pick her up. So, mustering all my calm I held her hands as she walked up the stairs in front of me. We climbed into bed and had a feed. Within 20minutes she was asleep. SUCCESS!  And the best part of all, so was I! DOUBLE SUCCESS!!

I woke first at 5pm. Ah crap, we overslept and the evening routine is going to be all out of whack. Dammit dammit dammit! So I woke Gracie who rolled over and gave me her sweet, sleepy baby smile.  Downstairs Hubby was on the phone speaking with a mechanic.  Apparently his car wasn't running well and had refused to start, requiring him to pull it apart to find the problem. Not the battery - crap, that means it's something bigger and more expensive. And to make matters worse he needed his car for work early tomorrow morning. DOUBLE CRAP!  Luckily we were able to borrow his sister's car for the remainder of the week until we can get his repaired over th weekend. Unfortunately this meant dragging Gracie out after dinner to go and collect it. And we all know how much Gracie loves a car trip!  

So cut to our drive home. It's already 7.30pm and we are now cutting into bath and bed time and Gracie knows it. She screams the whole way home, voicing her utter discontent over the fact that she is squished in her car seat rather than playing with her bath toys and getting snuggly in her PJs. I sing and talk to her from the drivers seat, trying to calm and reassure her that all will be back to normal very soon. We arrive home and immediately head towards the bath. I strip her off and in she hops. Order is restored. SUCCESS! She's now very tired but the simple task of having a bath has brought order back to her evening. She knows now that soon it'll be pajama and Daddy book time, then milk and sleep. I keep singing and talking to her and the next 30minutes of routine go quickly and smoothly.  SUCCESS! 

You have no idea how much of a win that felt like. A big day with a big change of schedule that could have put us all in a bad mood. But I consciously did everything I could to not let it get the best of me, and the best of our day.  And it felt so good to see the positivity paying off. I can't help the fact that Gracie may do something different every day, but I also know she thrives on routine to keep her calm and help her feel supported.  I can't predict crappy circumstances like a broken down car, but I can change my reaction to it.  I don't want to be a
cranky, anxious Mum. I don't want to be snappy and overwhelmed. And yesterday felt like a major step forward. So yeah, maybe proud is the right word. 

What makes you snap? 
Have you got any sure fire calming tips?


  1. Props to you!!! One day at a time :)

  2. I totally know what you mean by not allowing it to get to you. It's a choice after all - as hard as it might be. I have those days too, where I have to purposely keep my emotions in check. Cause nothing tries your patience like a whiny toddler. Most of them are creatures of routine and thrive when their lives are predictable. But life isn't completely predictable all the time so we have to make the best of it. I think you did great adjusting to the chaos and Gracie will benefit from your calm mothering and ability to help her find some flexibility. When she gets off track, you gotta roll with it and help her get back to her comfy place.