My daughter is about 22lbs right now, only in the thirty percentile for weight for her age. She is tiny yet her constant motion has rendered me cripple. Last week I was putting her in her carseat when I felt a strain in my upper back. I know this strain. Its the one that warns me there is a bit too much activity in the shoulder blade region and any day now the muscles are going to revolt and stop at an inopportune time. I should've listened, but like any other parent, I didn't have time to hear my body. There were places to go, things to do, and a cranky child to pick up and cuddle. Fast forward a week later and I'm still in pain and have spent the past ten days unable to fulfill my mommy duties.
My sleepy, over-worked husband finally crawled into bed the other night, well after 1am. His head hit the pillow and somehow cued cries from our daughter. I was already up but he had to get her because I couldn't pick her up. I laid there in the dark, feeling bad and worrying about being less helpful. There is too much to do around here. My husband can't do this two man job on his own. But above all else, how can I explain to my daughter with her outstretched arms that Mommy can't give her hugs and kisses because she has no lumber support?
I've learned that "parent fatigue" has nothing on sickness or muscle sprains. Three months after my daughter was born I came down with a horrible stomach virus. After one trip to the bathroom I promptly shipped my uninfected baby to Grandma's. The next day my husband got sick. Recovering from not eating for two days, battling dehydration, and caring for a baby was more challenging than anything we had every imagined.
In my pathetic efforts to keep myself on time, my apartment clean, my daughter cared for, and my other social and family obligations I have to add being well rested, well fed, and inoculated for flu season on my "to do" list. As a result, I find myself making unrealistic deals with God in exchange for rest .
"I promise to endure waiting for the subway a few minutes longer everyday if I can just call in sick and have someone watch the baby."
"I will never again curse my body and inability to lose weight quickly if I can just curl up under my covers with soothing hot chocolate."
"I will stop ignoring the Green Peace canvassers on the corner near my office if I can just tend to this head cold, watch a Jersey Shore marathon, and create a fort of used tissues around me and the couch."
Naturally the big man is too busy to hear my amateur requests. So instead, my husband and I try to sneak rest here and there. This means closing our eyes while our daughter is still for moment in our laps, taking shifts on a Saturday so the other can nap, and sending her for a super fun sleepover at Grandma and Pop's so we don't burn out.
I don't believe in paying a dozen co-pays for medical treatment, but my daughter isn't buying this "Mommy can't pick you up" crap, so I have an appointment with the chiropractor next week. Hopefully I can get some relief because my child isn't going to stop growing, needing, or wanting. Until she learns to do about 95% of things on her own I'll keep looking over at that soft spot on the couch and know some day, maybe years from now, there will be a moment just for us.