all screaming and no alone time makes mommy something-something

Nobody who has spent any substantial time with Elliott is going to believe this because it is going to seem so out of character for her (yes, babies have character at 4 weeks) but she spent a good portion of last evening making quite a ruckus (i.e. screaming her tiny little head off). She did the same thing the night before, right through the dinner hour and the little girls’ bedtime, which I was doing alone because Patrick was in Fort Worth. By the time I got the girls in bed and the baby calm and (finally!) asleep, I was pretty much cuckoo.

Aside from worrying about Elliott’s well being and feeling generally powerless to help her, I think the hardest part of listening to a baby cry is 1) the thought that this is the new pattern for our life and it’s going to go on FOREVER and 2) the belief that somehow I caused it, as in “oh no! I broke the baby!” Resentment has a way of sneaking in there, too, which is probably the most poisoning thought of all. I want Patrick to understand how hard it is being the almost sole provider for a newborn’s needs, and yet it pisses me off when he says that he does because how could he possibly understand?! Talk about a lose-lose situation for Patrick. (sorry, love!) What I really needed to hear last night was the reassurance of another mother and yet I was too far gone to try calling one up to get it. I couldn’t even cry. I felt like I had literally been sucked dry.

I hate to sound so whiny but talking/writing helps me move past it. And because I am a staunch advocate of letting moms be human I’m not even going to tell you how happy I usually am and how much I love being a mother to my kids. What I do want to say is that when Elliott is crying and I can’t seem to calm her down, rather than trying to “endure” the crying spell and focusing on a future time when the crying will finally stop, I am trying to stay in the moment with her and appreciate that time with her the same way I appreciate her coo’s and her beautiful little smiles. After all, it’s all Elliott and it’s all lovable.

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~ by jenzai on September 24, 2008.

4 Responses to “all screaming and no alone time makes mommy something-something”

  1. You know it isn’t whiny when you’re letting people know that what you’re doing is really, really hard, right? Remember that baby crying is probably evolutionarily programmed to be almost unendurable for the caring adult, congratulate Elliott for her marvelous expression of nature making babies get the attention they need and maybe mention to her that it is not, however, that well adaptive when you are a lovingly cared for baby with a tired mom and three older sisters? But she is a gorgeous girl, thank you for putting up the picture!

  2. I tend to think that unless someone *has* actually done it (main/sole caregiver for a newborn), that they really can’t understand it, at least in the sense of relating to it. Certainly s/he can understand THAT it is difficult, and follow through with some putting themselves in the other position and truly imagining. Yet that’s not the same as truly understanding it as in having lived it. That’s where my frustration comes in sometimes, anyway. I think I’m being condescended to and patted on the head unless there is an acknowledgement that s/he hasn’t had the experience, yet honors it/can imagine it, etc. in some way.

  3. Really, you have to love even the crying part? Couldn’t you just tell her that you love her but you love her more when she’s not crying and see where that gets you?

    PS Who is that monstrous baby lying on my quilt?

  4. For the “something-something,” I tentatively propose: “completely batshit”?

    And Mara’s right, IM not so HO–whiny, you are *NOT.*

    Finally, I know I’m not supposed to laugh, but I guffawed at: “Oh no! I broke the baby!”

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