The subtitle of this post should be: “How parenting a high needs child is completely at odds with being a writer”. I made the excuse a while ago that I hadn’t been blogging because I was busy transcribing my granddad’s memoirs. And that was true, a while ago. I got to the end of the first 90-minute recording which equated to about 10,000 words, and discovered that the other three even longer recordings are barely intelligible. I scoped out some software to fix the sound quality (turns out we already had it on the computer). But before I could do anything, the Dude decided to mix things up a bit. No more going down for sleeps! Therefore no more uninterrupted showers and no more computer time. We soon got the stroller on his first birthday so I’m now taking him for walks every day and he usually sleeps then. I’m pretty sure this is some kind of premature transition to one sleep a day. And he’s close to walking and talking, plus his molars are due any time now. So I can forgive him for being out of sorts.
The problem is, I can’t sit at the computer to write for more than ten minutes. He hates it! And that’s fair enough, in basically ignoring him. But the fact remains that I no longer get any writing time. I’m writing this on my phone. It’s frustratingly slow as I’m a touch typist so can more or less type fast enough to keep up with my brain.
I know this may be a short period, and it’ll pass soon enough, but I’m finding it very frustrating. I must have a dozen posts half written in draft, and all these ideas punching me in the head every day but I just don’t get any opportunity to write.
How do others tackle this? I guess the majority of people have babies who actually fall asleep fairly predictably. Babies that calm down and relax when given a bedtime routine and lots of milk. Babies that don’t smack you across the head and then laugh within two minutes of waking up.
So instead of wallowing in misery (not really, slight exaggeration there), I’m going to think positively about this. Perhaps I’ll be the first person to write a 50,000 book entirely on a hand-held mobile device! Imagine what Dickens or Tolstoy would think about that! They’d probably think it was nonsensical and ridiculous. Aside from being confused as to how one can write a book on something the size of your palm. Technology is pretty cool, let’s face it, and I can safely say my iphone (actually Samsung Galaxy SII now) has saved my sanity millions of times while I lie for hours trying to get the Dude to stay asleep.
But the fact remains, parenting has gotten in the way of my writing, my passion. And it’s not just general parenting, it’s the kind of child I have, his personality, mixed with the way I’ve chosen to parent. Oh God, should I really say it, should I really attach that term to myself? Shit, I think I already did. Yes, Attachment Parenting. I’d never heard of it until after I had the Dude, and frankly I thought it was all a bit of a wank. Not the principles of AP per se, those make sense, but more that people are yet again being sheep and just going with a certain theory or way of doing things. Of course many so-called AP parents will tell you that they just do what comes naturally and have fallen into the AP category. I’m one of those. And I actually refute the assertion that I’m AP. It’s a label. We know how I feel about those.
I had the Dude at home, as readers of this blog may be aware, and I had no interventions in pregnancy and birth. Well actually that’s a lie, I had three ultrasounds (all of them completely unnecessary) but yeah, no real interventions. I’ve still never been to hospital in my life, apart from when I was born. I plan on keeping it that way! I don’t vaccinate my son, never been done myself actually. He has only ever drunk breastmilk and water. We know about nutrition and natural ways of helping the body thrive. We don’t take drugs like paracetamol and ibuprofen. We like homepathics and they work for us. Dude enjoys the ergo regularly, and previously enjoyed the Hugabub and even a ring sling for a short time. We generally like to avoid regular mainstream doctors as our experience has been that they have little idea what they’re talking about and recommend toxic chemicals that just cover up symptoms and don’t help the body heal. Oh and we co-sleep. Now I’m sure I’ve said before, co-sleeping was not really my plan. I was totally against it when my midwife first mentioned it, but once the Dude was here it was the only way I ever managed any sleep. He’s a crazy dude. His cot has been side-carted to our bed for the last nine months but he’s pretty much never slept in it. Occasionally he’ll squirm into it half asleep and pass out there, usually with half his body still on the bed. But generally speaking, he is right next to me; taking up half the bed to himself. He’s beautiful and I love having him right there but I would LOVE to have my own bed again. I am very touch sensitive and find it hard to be comfortable with someone right up next to me. I even push my husband away when I’m going to sleep sometimes. I like my space. Which was the whole reason I had an issue with co-sleeping in the first place.
Anyway, because of this attachment style parenting we practise, and because the Dude is so full on, I don’t get a lot of time to myself. Now let’s be clear here: if I was into letting the Dude cry it out and leaving him in bassinets to go slowly insane or fobbing him off to childcare centres, I’d be in a worse situation. Yes, okay, we might have more money because I might actually earn some, but the Dude would be miserable, we’d be sleep deprived and he’d probably be sick a lot. I’m sure about my choices. And I’m not asking for sympathy for them or for my predicament. I just think it’s ironic that I slacked off for so many years, sat around watching Seinfeld repeats and eating Sarah Lee Honeycomb and Butterscotch icecream instead of writing my heart out when I had the chance. Things will change. This will pass. Before I know it this little crazy blonde dude currently sitting on the floor next to me destroying daddy’s uni notes will be asking for lifts to concerts and sneaking vodka from our liquor cabinet like we wouldn’t notice half a bottle of it slowly but regularly disappearing. The old ‘evaporation’ explanation never worked.