I wish I could write about how wonderful and magical our first Christmas was with Graham. Don’t get me wrong there were parts that were great, but unfortunately the screaming really sticks in your head. In fact last night as I was in bed trying to sleep I could still hear the screaming like it was burned into my brain. So let me tell you all about our first Christmas. The day started pretty good overall. I was exhausted since I spent most of Christmas Eve (and the days before) cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, shopping, wrapping, taking pictures, baking and of course taking care of Graham all day. Casey got up with Graham when he woke up at 6 and I finished packing and started loading the car for our trip to Charlotte. Then we brought him downstairs so he could open his first gift from Santa. Santa didn’t bring much this year, but Graham didn’t seem to mind and he was more interested in eating the wrapping paper anyway. He also had a big gift to open from my friends Jill and Donna. He got a blue chair from Pottery Barn Kids with his name on it!! Donna and I gave one to Kaylee (Jill’s daughter) last Christmas. He looks so cute sitting in it!
We then packed up the gifts and headed over to my parent’s house. Graham was already getting fussy at that point even though he had already had one nap. Opening gifts is a little more difficult with a baby. We didn’t get very far and decided to try another nap. While he napped we opened gift and then Graham got to open all of his gifts when he got up from his very short nap. He got lots of great toys and books from my parents and Uncle Gary and Christine. He was more interested in the bows and paper though. Most his gifts are for when he is a little older. My parents recorded a book for him, the ones sold at Hallmark and I of course started crying when I listened to it. Now I need to make sure there is no way for Graham to accidentally erase the whole thing. This is the point when Graham started his downward spiral. We tried to get him to nap while we ate lunch, but he wanted none of it and screamed every time we tried to put him down. I knew the rest of the day was going to be bad, but I had no idea just how bad it would get! As you all know Graham doesn’t have the ability to sleep when he is tired. Instead he cries and screams. We packed him up for the drive to Charlotte and he was due for a nap. Even though he was exhausted he slept for 30 minutes and was awake the rest of the trip. The last 45 minutes were torture for all of us. I was driving, it was dark and raining. I couldn’t see the road. Graham was screaming at the top of his lungs. He was throwing up all the food we gave him because he was so worked up. At this point all three of us were screaming, two of us were crying and one of us was throwing up. As soon as we got there and got him out of the car he puked pears and milk all over me. I would get puked on 3 more times in the next 15 minutes. Once we walked inside he did great! He let Casey’s sisters hold him and didn’t seem at all bothered my all the people and action in the room. He just watched his older cousins running around. We quickly set up the pack ‘n play, I fed him (more puking on me) and then I put him down expecting him to fight me, but he went right to sleep. Thank God. He slept through all the noise – the dogs, the kids, the opening of Christmas presents right down the hall. I was so excited…... and then it got bad.
Graham was in the same room with us and shortly after we went to bed one of the dogs walked in the room. He walked right out, but Graham must have been in a light sleep at the time. I got up to close the door and he saw me. That was it. That was all it took. After sleeping through everything else it was something as simple as getting up to close an open door. He screamed and refused to go back to sleep. We tried everything. I fed him which he then spit up. We walked him, rocked him, bounced him, let him lay in bed with us. Nothing worked. He would fall asleep for about 1-2 hours and then scream again for what felt like just as long. It was torture. I think I got about 2-3 hours of sleep. I was ready to pack up the car and go home! Luckily it got better. The next day he took 2 short naps in the morning and then refused to nap all afternoon. He screamed and cried again. You have no idea how madding it is to listen to a screaming baby and there is not a thing in the world you can do to make him stop. It is in those moments that I can see how someone would shake a baby. I am not going to lie, it has crossed my mind several times. I obviously would never do it and I leave the room when I reach that point. However, I can see how it happens if someone doesn’t remove themselves from the situation. It is by far the most frustrating feeling in the world and you will do almost anything to make it stop.
Even though Graham had a hard time adjusting to being in Charlotte at first we did have a nice visit. We got to see Melanie, Patrick and Etan. We saw Casey’s family and Jason. Plus we had a white Christmas! The first in over 60 years. It didn’t snow in Raleigh until the next day so if we had stayed there we would have missed it. It started in Charlotte around 7 or 8 Christmas night. The day after Christmas was beautiful. It was a fluffy snow with little wind so all the trees were covered. It is what you expect Christmas to look like, but something we never see. In fact most years it is rainy and warm.
It wasn’t perfect, but it was certainly memorable. I don’t think we will ever forget Graham’s first Christmas!
Christmas morning at home opening Santa’s gift and the chair from Jill and Donna.
Christmas with my parents in Raleigh.
Hanging out in Charlotte.
I will post more pictures this week and maybe a video or two. I have more from Charlotte and some of the snow, but I haven’t had time to mess with them yet.