It's all in my head, isn't it?

>> 11.28.2012

As I lay here on the floor -- head propped up by three mismatched decorative pillows; knees bent with my laptop perched precariously atop my hipbones; feet wedged under our fake wood stove (all of these positions begging comfort, mind you) -- I can't help but wonder if it's all in my head.

My self-diagnosed "high needs" child, that is.

I've come to fear hearing a cry scream from the baby monitor after putting Ada to sleep. I also fear garbage day (the loud trucks), recycling day (more loud trucks), and so on.

Back to the baby monitor. It's to the point that I don't turn it on until a good 15 minutes after she's down, all the while cowering on the floor as detailed above with soft music blaring, which only makes sense to me because I've figured out the loudest volume level I can maintain without disruption upstairs.

Oh, and the white noise of our forced air heat. Yeah. I turn it up a degree so it will kick on and alleviate my need to remain silent until the sleep cycle truly kicks in. It's an absolute necessity, too, as we learned yesterday when Stephen accidentally dropped the TV remove onto the wood floor in the living room, waking Ada in what is now known as the "Great Afternoon Sleep Upset of 2012".

It ruined the rest of the day for this one.

Things aren't this bad all the time. Not at all, I'm being dramatic because today is a bad, bad day. And when our days are bad, they are really, r.e.a.l.l.y bad. (All repetition is for emphasis, of course.) Ada woke at 5:50 AM today. By "woke" I mean she screamed MANY times at 5:50 AM. By now, I've learned to put myself on autopilot and commence the shushing and rocking.

She doesn't settle for Stephen anymore in the night. Or at any other time of day, for that matter. It's all on me. Lately when I try to put her down, she physically clings to me. Like she doesn't want me to ever let her go. It's sweet until it's all the time.

When she's awake, there are times when her cries get out of control. When nothing will stop them and she's ends up shaking, gasping for air -- almost in spasms. I thought it was a newborn thing. But it's continued to this day.

There are so many times I've asked Stephen if something is wrong with her. When I've warned my parents or in-laws or friends that if they want to watch her, and many have generously offered, she might get out of control and they won't be able to calm her. (Most notably is the time Stephen and I went to see Hunger Games. It was the one time I decided to turn off my phone, be a "relaxed" mom, and truly disconnect. It's a long movie, right? Well, we found out during the credits that Ada had a mental breakdown the entire time we were away.)

Thing is, most of the days are very good. It's just in the bad when I wonder if I wasn't staying home with her how she'd survive daycare. Am I enabling her to be a wreck? When she was a newborn, I'd vacuum right outside her nursery. I'd walk normally in the hallway, not tiptoe up the stairs avoiding creaky step landmines like I'm in some James Bond movie.

Am I just some overly emotional Lifetime movie mom who's baby is actually entirely normal? Am I really the crazy one in this situation? Because, Hunger Games incident aside, Ada rarely and I mean RARELY reproduces this behavior with anyone else. Hence the wonder if it's all inside my head. She's a doll with other people. She can miss all her naps, get overstimulated, miss feeding sessions -- anything out of the norm -- and be beautifully, magnificently fine.

I sound like a mom who needs a break. I also sound like a mom who needs to let go and chill the **** out. But honestly, when I do that, Stephen ends up spending over an hour trying to calm Ada -- ultimately and always failing.

The minute she's in my arms? Silence. Sweet, sweet silence. Until I put her down again.

(And I am just realizing a lot of what I've written sounds contradictory. How can she be fantastic with others and a mess with me. Yet when she's a mess, she only wants/needs me?)

I'm thinking it's late-onset separation anxiety. I'm trying my best to stay calm, cool, and collected. I'm trying to wear her in the carrier -- though, she's not having it because all she wants to do is practice walking. But writing this out has made me feel much better. Thanks for listening.

Writing and healing is a course I took in college. My classmates and I sort of made fun of it at the time because we had no idea how cathartic writing can actually be. If you're looking for an outlet, you should seriously put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard) sometime. I promise it will help. At least a little.

It's a good sign that I wrote all this and she's still asleep!

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