Monday, November 05, 2007

Attachment Anger

Last Sunday was an extra busy one, and last Monday I paid for it with Anna.

After church we had a potluck brunch (oh! the maple weenie rolls!) which meant longer hanging around and more passing her around. We went home, fed her, and kids were over to watch the Lions game with us (get the broom, Da Bears are SWEPT) as usual. Anna likes hanging out with the big kids, and there were a lot: Hippie and his Tiny Sis, Chatterbox and ShyGirl, Famous Sandboarder Matt Walton, those hairy twins whose names he can't remember. When Anna got too tired, I put her down for a nap. She woke up before the game was over, though, and I let some of the kids hold her. After our victory a game of Boodle broke out. And with those ADD twins, it got rowdy. Little girl got kind of clingy.

They all cleared out to go to church and help Aaron get ready for Frontline (youth group) and I wasn't sure if I was going to join them later or not. But Anna was happy and awake and so we went down late, and she was content, but I didn't let the kids hold her.

Monday: Angry Anna.

She was moody all day--whining between every bite of food, little things sending her from happy to tears in an instant--and I made the mistake of not being patient putting her down for her morning nap. I tried to make her go to sleep alone (instead of in my arms) and then when I came back and held her she'd snap awake the second I put her down, so finally I said Fine, don't nap! and put her in her swing to just hang out. By lunch she was totally grouchy tired; I put her down and she slept almost three hours.

Later she really showed her displeasure. At me. She wasn't just tired and fighting sleep, she was fighting me, acting like an unattached baby, having a tantrum in my arms. She arched her back, wouldn't look at me, cried and howled, bashed her head into me, squirmed away. Her every action said I'm mad at you! You overstimulated me to exhaustion with all those people and then you left me to sleep alone . . . and I don't trust you!

It might sound like she was just tired but there was a difference. Somewhere I picked up a mommy radar and it could tell. She does certain things when she's no no no not tired and this was different. It wasn't the same as the grieving crying the previous week either. It was a definite lashing out--at me, at change, at the fearsome feeling of losing stability and predictability again.

My exhausted baby fell asleep at 7:30. Aaron and I stayed up a while after he got home from Young Life, and she stirred when we came up to bed. "Ohh...can she come in with us? I miss her," he said. "Sure," I said. "She misses you too."

She snuggled in between us, and as my eyes adjusted to the dark I saw a tiny silhouette of a hand reaching up, waving in the dark, connecting with another, Clap. Clap. Clap. And I heard her smile: Gheee. When she tired she settled in, her breathing slowed, and she rolled over to sleep in peace.

But she rolled onto my face, so she had to go back to her crib.

At 8:00 a.m. she greeted the day with a smile, secure in all that is now hers. She's learning to trust, and we're learning how to be careful with her fragile heart.


Cat Hoemke said...

ohhh....mommy radar... I got to get me one of those.

Thanks for writing. I know you think it's insane to take on blog month, but I've really enjoyed hearing about your life. Keep it up!

Enor said...

Good blog.

I need some water.

Chuck and Jenny said...

Wendy, I've learned that even with wee babes, it's one step forward and two steps back some days. I've also been (very) guilty of the nap impatience. I like what you wrote at the end about their fragile hearts, it's so true. There are days when all Joshie wants is held, and it does get frustrating for me until I remember just how new we are to him. It's a learning curve for us.

RMMcDowell said...

Fragile heart, indeed.

Tell Cat she'll get it. It just comes. Like the constant weepiness at seemingly benign commercials.