When I was pregnant with Piggle, I was diagnosed with an incompetent cervix. While it scared the hell out of me (thanks to my obsessive Googling habits), it also gave me an explanation for most, if not all, of my pre and post-Piggle miscarriages. Along with the diagnosis came the orders for strict bed rest. Piggle, being my only child at the time, and still nestled away in my uterus, these were pretty simple instructions to follow. I actually welcomed the medical excuse to do absolutely zero housework and laze about in bed all day. I don’t know if it’s the same for all pregnant women, but to say I was exhausted was putting it lightly. From conception to delivery, I could barely hold my eyelids open long enough to blink.
This pregnancy is no different. The orders for bed rest were implemented as soon as I peed on that stick, and I’m constantly fighting the urge to fall asleep. The fatigue is probably even worse this time around because I have a mini-tornado to wrangle on top of it all. Obviously, napping whenever the urge hits me is not even remotely possible, but far more pressing an issue than my inability to give into my narcoleptic desires is keeping Piggle entertained while I remain horizontal.
Honestly, when my doctor first told me to restrict my activities, I laughed. Did she not realize that motionless and toddler cannot be used in the same sentence? I went home frustrated because I really didn’t know what I was going to do. Husband works ridiculous hours, and I’m alone with the boy 99.9% of the time. How in the name of Buzz Lightyear am I supposed to stay in bed while meeting Piggle’s needs and ensuring my house is still standing at the end of the day? I knew I’d have one hell of a task ahead of me.
Admittedly, the first few months were the worst. I didn’t have the energy to do anything more than turn on a movie, and the poor boy ate his weight in PB & Js. At the time, I was too tired to feel guilty, and I was just thankful that Piggle is such an independent kid. There were definitely some rough days—weeks, even. Times when my hormones and/or exhaustion got the better of my temper, and I yelled far more than could ever be justified. I would count down the minutes until the day’s end, and I’ll be damned if I was even half a millisecond late getting him into bed.
It was awful—for both of us! As soon as he was safe in his room, I would sink to the floor by his door and bawl my eyes out. Cry because I was so tired, cry because I hated myself for the way I treated him, and cry because I didn’t know how we were going to make it through the next however many months in one piece. For weeks, we were miserable. Piggle: because his mommy went off the deep end, and I: because of how much I was hurting my sweet boy. I truly believe my emotional absence during the first trimester did more damage than if I’d beaten him black and blue. Even now, as I feel the fog lift slightly, I’ve noticed his hesitation around me.
I woke up one morning with more energy than I’d had in a long time. I was nowhere near as alert as I’d been pre-pregnancy, but I managed to make it through the morning on only three cups of coffee and no nap-urges. I knew it probably wouldn’t last beyond lunchtime, so I decided to capitalize on it. I called Piggle into the playroom—somewhere we hadn’t played in awhile due to my need to be on the couch all day. Sure, I shirked my doctor’s orders, but to hell with that. My son needed me, and although I knew I was way late to the game, it had to be better than nothing. Plus, I had some mommy-and-me time to make up for.
I pulled out his coloring books, crayons, and markers. I’d put them away when I was first put on bed rest because I knew there would be running involved in any art endeavor we attempted. Piggle is a fan of eating crayons, and every wall of my house has played victim to his marker-attacks, which means I have to be on high-alert at all times and ready to chase him down at the drop of a hat. This time, I didn’t give a damn if he graffitied every surface in his reach. It was time he had fun, and I could always make Husband take care of the aftermath when he got home.
Boy, did he have my number! As soon as I popped the lid off of the crayon container, he went bananas! Within minutes, his teeth were coated in purple wax, the coffee table was covered in blue ink, my carpets looked like a Picasso replica, and Husband’s flat-screen went from LCD screen to Olive Green faster than I could blink. Initially, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe he’d managed all of that in so little time. Then I realized, he’d done it on purpose. He was testing me. Making sure I was still there. I was. Obviously, I had to scold him for coloring on the television, but instead of losing my shit, I simply brought him back to the playroom and started drawing pictures for him.
We spent a good hour taking turns drawing/guessing the picture. It was a blast. It was the first time I’d seen him so content in forever. When he got tired of art, he ran over to his bookshelf and piled my lap with stories to read. We snuggled up together and read until our tummies were growling. It was amazing! It was also far easier to come up with a quiet activity than I’d expected.
The combination of no functioning brain cells, exhaustion, and over-analyzing on my part were a huge factor in my inability to come up with fun activities for us to do. I’m not a very creative person as it is, but my fear of failing made it impossible for me to think of anything we could do while I still adhered to my couch-arrest. Then it hit me! Pinterest! It had been at least a year since I’d been on there, and even then, I’d never been really active. That has all changed!
Piggle is sleeping through the night now, so I don’t have to worry about running to him every few hours. I needed something to fill the time between his bed time and mine, and this was perfect! Not only would it kill a few hours, but it opened up a whole world of activities for the boy that I could involve myself in. We are finally able to do things together, and on the worst days, at least I know he’s not going to be glued to a television. We are both starting to de-zombify, and things are looking up!
We’ve done a few of the things I’ve pinned, and we’ve had varying levels of success, but whether the idea works out or not, my Piggle has his mama back. I’d take a trillion failed Pins over ever seeing him that upset again.
I’m sure I am not the only mom out there who is bedridden with a toddler—hell, I’m sure there are perfectly able moms who just need a new idea to try. Over the next few months, I’ll post all of our Pinterest attempts. The good, the bad, everything. Give them a shot if you’re running low on creative juices.
And with that, I’ll leave you with this: Our first Pin attempt (which was a huge hit, by the way).