(you would cry too if it happened to you!)
Get your mind out of the gutter! Did you forget my new Pope-y motto “Only for procreation, Not for recreation?”
OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD!
I don’t think I can do this anymore! This baby hasn’t stopped crying for the past two hours. I don’t know what’s wrong. Why couldn’t he have started this when my house was still full of people?! My mum just left, Andy has gone to visit his parents, and I’m alone with this tiny creature that just refuses to be happy.
I’ve tried everything. Rocking him gently, swinging him from side to side (maybe I swung too fast?), jigging him up and down, throwing him in the air (am I even allowed to do that?), and the pacifier, which has been thrown to the ground and washed more times than I care to count today.
And the nursing.
And the baby bjorn.
I’m so tired.
In walks Andy, fresh from a lovely afternoon with his family, outside of the apartment and away from anything remotely baby related. And the first thing he does is lament his “exhausting” day.
He must not have seen me. I’m over here, the one with the crumbling face, smudged glasses (de rigueur these days), and look of desperation in my eyes. The same eyes currently throwing daggers at him and trying SO HARD not to get angry. Because he really didn’t do anything. Except for leaving me here. And then having the gall to complain about his day.
I want to throw the baby at him. And I do just that, as I grab some foil-wrapped goodness from the take-out bag he brought me. I can’t even bring myself to leave the kitchen (where I was, due to the drop-wash-repeat pacifier cycle we were going through). Also, he's with the baby on the sofa now and I have no desire to be anywhere nearby. I perch on the lid of my garbage can (Thanks, Simple Human for making such sturdy products), and season my sandwich with large, salty tears.
Dramatic, I know. But so true.
I used to equate the sweet sounds of a newborn crying with the mewling of a tiny, adorable kitten. No matter how tired I was in the night, once I heard those cries, I would jump up out of bed and happily cradle his swaddled little form and kiss the top of his soft, silky head.
But I was seriously unprepared for these mid-afternoon cryscapades. After this experience, I understand how stressful it is to hear a constantly crying baby screeching in your ear. How do these Teen Moms do it?! How are they mentally mature enough to understand not to take it personally? Are they better than I am?
All I can say is thank God they made me watch the “Don’t Shake the Baby” video before I left the hospital. I can understand how frustrated, sleep deprived parents who just don’t know what to do anymore, can make the mistake of taking out their exhaustion on a baby that seems to have a personal vendetta against them. I thought we had at least 14 years before that happened.
I may have kind of yelled at the baby.
Hence the tears. Utter guilt for being upset at this small, sweet darling, remorse for feeling angry at him, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. This is really, really difficult.
And cue the peanut gallery. “Ohhh…he’s colicky.”
Shut the fuck up.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that to justify and generalize the state of a baby crying and in discomfort. In fact, if I ever say “Ohh he’s colicky” to you, you have permission to slap the words out of mouth. If course, he could be colicky. But I am soooo tired of calmly explaining “Actually, I believe colic is defined as a period of crying spanning more then three hours a day, three days or more a week. This is not what we were dealing with. So there!“ It doesn’t do anything to make me feel better, and the offensive person doesn’t get it anyway. They just give me that sideways, pouty face smiley-look that screams “Poor thing, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about! Not everything can be learned from a book. With experience, you just know.”
Oh, if I ever give you that look, you know what to do by now. Slap me.
He didn’t have colic. Thank god for that. My heart goes out to all parents who deal with a colicky baby. I see you, in the elevator of my building. With your under-eye bags, pushing the stroller back and forth as if by reflex, on your way to a much-deserved Starbucks run. What our baby had was a mixture of gas, acid reflux, and general discomfort. It lasted awhile, and he cried a lot. Some called it colic. His pediatrician told me to have those people call her (Love you, Dr. Kercher!)
He grew out of it soon enough and returned to being the sweet little vampire baby we knew.
I would venture to say that most parents go through something like this, when they try and try but their baby won’t stop crying. What we need is empathy, not pity! Tell us how you went through it, offer to take him for 5 minutes so we can pee and cry, or just be quiet and stay close in case we need you to wash a pacifier.
The only thing to do in this situation? Check off all the boxes (diaper, hunger, gas, temperature) and remember to find pleasure in the hundreds of little joys in your new life.
Andy had brought me 6 yummy, calorific treats. And I still had 5 left.
Silver linings, people, silver linings.