This is a reflection on a long and lethargic day.
I took no notes at the time due because I never got a chance to. It made me realise the sampling bias of a diary; I only capture the easy or relaxed days. Capturing the difficulties as well as the pleasures will need to be done after the fact.
What follows is a short outline of the pains experienced that day, then thoughts on why, and finally how to (hopefully) avoid this next time.
The day was exhausting. It dragged on, and on, and on. It ended when Baby Momma returned from work. I handed over The Boy then promptly zoned out: earphones in, chill music, eyes shut, brain off.
Our respective days had many similarities except that we were never in sync.
Our symmetry was our energy. Both me and The Boy were tired, not playful, and a little grumpy.
The asymmetry was the killer and came in our peaks and troughs. Rather than soothing each other’s moods we exacerbated things. We were out of sync. Every time The Boy wanted to play, I was half asleep. Every time I wanted to get something done, The Boy was crying and needed calming or entertaining.
By the halfway point in the day all I could think was, is he trolling me? His every request was timed to perfection.
My attempt to shower was foiled the moment after I entered the shower. He woke up and set about crying for attention. I quickly finished but by the time I had he was red faced and screaming.
His angst played out frequently through the day. He needed near-constant attention: sing him a song, read him a book, carry him around. Any break of more than a few minutes and he’d be grumpy again. Even the basic things become difficult: tidying up, preparing lunch, bathroom breaks. It is the nearly fourteen hours of constant dependence that sapped my energy and patience.
When I finally fell asleep alongside him in the mid-afternoon, he woke up crying, only to sleep instantly in my arms. I put him back down and he slept on, leaving me now awake.
I feigned enthusiasm for the remaining few hours until The Momma returned, when I promptly zoned out.
There’s a chicken and egg aspect to this day. While we both were grumpy, it isn’t clear where it began. Did The Boy wake up on the wrong side of the bed and spread his malaise to me? Was it my lethargy that frustrated The Boy? Was it both? We’ll probably never know.
It certainly was a day full of friction. I was repeatedly thwarted in my attempts to do what I felt like. My playtime with The Boy was low in energy and uncreative. And at no point in the day did we synchronise with one another. As the “grown-up” in this situation, it’s on me to fix, probably.
My failure came in trying to force the day to my plan. Given my state of sleep that meant a lazy and spaced-out day. Instead, follow the pattern of the easy days.
Surrender to The Boy and follow his whims. Like fighting jet-lag, you need to get in sync with your environment. Stay present, pay attention, focus on his signals and give him what he needs.
One or two cycles of this and you’ll be on the same page again. Singing the same nursery-rhyme. On the same wavelength, and crucially, in phase. Everything flows better this way, and you will find time to do your own thing, at least in small amounts.
One of these days is outlined my next post.