It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To...

(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?”


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.

"Sleep Like A Baby"

I think it's safe to assume that the person who coined the term "Sleep like a baby" was a man.  Obviously some well-coiffed buffoon paid a visit to the nursery on his estate and, while the exhausted nanny struggled to remain upright and awake for Sir's visit (which cut into the brief rest she was to have), remarked upon how envious it was to be able to "sleep like a baby," while chewing on his pipe and peering down into the bassinet. Requisite fatherly duties dispensed with, he exited the room in a puff of foul-smelling Turkish tobacco smoke and in his sound-insulated, wood-paneled study, put quill to paper to record for centuries the most maligned term in English language.

Sleep like a baby, my ass.

In fact, I hope he spent the rest of his days sleeping like a baby.  Waking every three hours desperate to eat, crying for no apparent reason, and shitting his pants.

Between the baby being awake, and the short spurts of blissful sleep, there is an arid wasteland of putting the baby to sleep.  It is in this desperate time period that we are at our most harried, exhausted, sensitive, and imaginative.  There will be WORLD PEACE if only I can get this baby to bed.  I will dance in a field of flowers with sunlight streaming through my hair, if ONLY I can get this baby to sleep.  Woe betide you who interrupt me from this task.  The blinders are on.  There is NOTHING more important and completely necessary than getting this baby to shut his eyes and sleep.  On a recent car journey, with the baby refusing to sit in his seat and instead spending three hours wailing away in my arms (I possess biceps like the Hulk at this point), when Andy asked me to wipe our older son's sticky face, I almost picked up the car seat and threw it at his head. "Cleaning his face isn't on my priority list right now!" I snapped back, before being absorbed back into the hellish world from whence I came.

But once the baby is asleep, oh then, it's all summery breezes and butterflies.  The tornado raging away around me dies down and everything is beautiful.  Unless he is just pretending to sleep, of course.

This happens only when I MOST need the baby to sleep.  Say, for example, when I have been up for hours at night and it's finally morning naptime.  He's pissy but through a dizzying combination of bouncing, patting, and continuous swaddling of those tiny fists that love to break free and pull out the pacifier just as he is falling asleep, it's working!  Eureka!  Now I totally know how Archimedes felt! I have an out of body experience as I forget my weary limbs...I'm completely focused on my task of putting the baby to sleep.  Suddenly, I can climb mountains.  I start imagining all the wonderful things I can achieve when he (definitely) sleeps.  I could NAP!  Wait, who has time for a nap when there is food to be had?!  I could eat a HOT breakfast!   I could write!  I could shower AND brush. my. teeth!

My head swimming with dreams and possibilities, I realize I am bone tired.  I need to sleep, before anything.  All else can be achieved...later.  I'm still bouncing, I'm still patting, but my eyes are heavy.  The baby is breathing steadily and sleeping soundly.  My eyelids are drooping.  I'm actually already dreaming.  Dreaming of the cool sheets under my tired body, the soft feather-stuffed pillow beneath my weary head, the fluffy duvet insulting me from reality...I just can't wait.  I'm already there, even while bouncing with the baby in my arms.  I just need to transplant him successfully from my body to the crib.

Half-asleep, I glance down before I make my stealthy moves. One.  One tiny little beady eye is open and is peeking up at me.


Then, a gummy smile.


The beautiful, peaceful world I just built around me comes crashing down.  It's really cold in here, I really need a shower, and my eyes are burning.  Stupid hopes and dreams.

The Minefield

I steady my breath, willing it to be even and calm. My muscles are taut, poised to gently rise up, one limb at a time. I balance nimbly on the balls of my feet, sending a blessing to my pre-natal yoga instructor for the hundreds of Warrior poses she made me do. As I slowly make my ascent, I say a silent prayer. Katniss is about to enter the arena.

Or is it a silent plea? Please let me make it out of the minefield.

If my ankle cracks - it's over. I navigate my way towards the exit in pitch darkness, holding my breath, taking a moment in between each step to ensure I make the right choice of floorboard to step on next.

While I play the parenting version of “the floor is water and it’s full of crocodiles,” a mantra plays in my head. Please don't creak please don't creak please don’t creak.

I wonder, what will it be that does me in this time? The ankle? The stupid parquet flooring which only seems to creak while he is sleeping (bastard flooring), or the ominous sounds of the door squeaking (note to self, smile at maintenance man tomorrow and ask for WD40.)

Who ever knew a nursery with a sleeping baby in it could be fraught with so much apparent disaster at every turn?

I make it to the partially open door, and visualize myself as a snake, willing my body to suddenly attain a flexibility it has never possessed, as I try to squeeze through silently.

I’m at the threshold...I allow myself a brief turnaround to glimpse my sweetly sleeping baby, pivot, and ever-so-gently Shut. The. Door.

Hallelujah! I strut through the hallway of my apartment, receiving accolades from my imaginary audience. Screw the diet! Chocolates and tea all around!

This adrenaline-pumping experience is a twice daily routine. Lest it get boring, the exact stage of sleep the baby is in does change things for me. Sometimes I army-crawl across the room (who convinced me to buy this long pile sheepskin rug anyway?) dropping to the floor at any little whimper or deep exhale, waiting for my break to continue scuttling across like a cockroach. Sometimes I play the weight-game, where I’m patting the baby and I slowly remove my hand, hovering directly above in case he makes a sound, at which point it will come crashing back down upon him, the lullaby I’m humming increasing in pitch and sounding more frantic than ever. Sometimes I make it back outside, only to realize the bloody monitor is still inside the nursery, next to the crib.

There's nothing like a another nerve-tingling roundtrip to make me crave a soothing bottle of wine. Sancerre for naps and Pinot Noir for bedtime, sounds about right and not at all disturbing, yes? YES?!

And sometimes, having risked a look back, I'll see the baby watching my tribal dance across his room with fascination. He lets me know that he appreciates my efforts at entertainment by making guttural cooing noises and flailing his limbs like he can fly. Once we lock eyes of course, (his full of mirth and mine full of panic), his expression darkens and the wailing begins.

I'm at a crossroads. What is the right thing to do? If I quickly hide behind this convenient wall, will he wonder if he made up the mommy-sighting and just go to sleep?

Let me try it.

Nope, he's really pissed now. Should I leave and shut the door?

Oh, my bad. That just resulted in blood-curdling screams. I briefly imagine the neighbours calling the police and child services knocking at my door (presumably during naptime). I rush back in and resume patting, pretending like I never left, unable to look at him. He won't accept my apologetic actions.

Pick me up or else, Mother, if that even IS your real name.

As I oblige and cuddle him, he rears back his head to show me the full extent of his displeasure by screaming in my face, tears and snot streaming down his. I can't believe I did this to a poor, helpless baby! I'm sorry!

Having taught his errant mother a solid lesson in obeying orders, he soon settles down just enough to sleep, but only as long as I'm holding him.  The minute his sleep-sack laden legs touch the mattress he's twitching like a fish out of water. I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. Immobile but finally a little less frazzled, I am content to hold him like a bag of flour, because mommy-guilt.

It seems the little shorty has indeed won the battle.

Tell me you have gone through this too. Please.

Yours in Desperation,