Her Bad Mother

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Sound Of Crazy

I read somewhere, some time ago, that the sound of an infant crying is one of the most stress-inducing sounds for the human ear to hear; it induces anxiety in the listener, and for good reason - a baby's survival naturally depends upon its ability to command the resources of its mother or father or any other adult human being that is equipped to care for it. Our natural response, then, to a baby's cry, is to rush to it and seek to resolve whatever problem is causing said baby to cry. Which is great, for the baby. Not so great for the exhausted mother who really, really wants to sleep, badly, or at least have her arms to herself for a minute or two, but can't, because her particular baby a) has recurring gastrointestinal challenges that, quite understandably, upset him and cause him to cry, and b) just really likes to be held ALL THE FREAKING TIME and is not afraid to say so.

I've also read, everywhere, that when baby's crying gets to be too much, you should just take a break. Put baby down somewhere safe, they say, and walk away for a few minutes and stretch and breathe and try to calm yourself down. Which, ha. Did 'they' not get the memo on the stress-inducing pitch of an infant's cry? I can no more walk away from my crying baby to stretch and breathe and "calm myself down" (*makes frantic air quotes with fingers*) than I could leave my toddler playing with her crayons in the middle of a busy street while I painted my toenails or some such shit. NOT. POSSIBLE.

Fine, they say. If that doesn't work: get help. Find someone to hold baby while you take a break, take a bath, listen to some music. Which, yeah, great idea. UNLESS there's no-one around to help. Unless your husband is working these super-insane long hours making stupid TV commercials that are really only hastening the decline of civilization anyway so even though you know the paycheck is important you're all like whaddup dude plz come home but anyway he's just not at home when you could most use the break and he's not going to be home for the whole goddamned long weekend and you live in a new town and only know, like, one other person and maybe you could call on your neighbors but, um, you're topless because holy hell the nipple chafing and in any case the ones that are around in the daytime are mostly elderly and your giant freakishly strong baby would probably break their arms and so what are you supposed to do then, huh? HUH? ANSWER ME THIS, BABY EXPERTS. And, then, prescribe me some Zoloft, because, seriously.

He's sleeping now, merciful heavens, pressed against me, his chest rising and falling against my own, his little fist curled against my neck and this is so, so sweet, but still - my arms hurt and I am tired and I am bracing myself for the long evening ahead and I am wishing that I had, the other day, given in more fully to the happiness that I suspected would be fleeting (as I was exhorted to do by a friend, who lobbed Pindar at me: We are things of a day/What are we? What are we not?/A shadow in a dream in man, no more./But when the brightness comes, and it is given by the gods/Then there is a shining of light on men, and their life is sweet. Which is ancient Greek for chill the fuck out, dude and enjoy it while it lasts. Woe that I did not do this, because my happy reserves are seriously getting depleted.)

I know that the moments of brightness are many, and my heart is nourished by the weight of my sweet, sweet baby against my breast, but still. This shit is hard.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Language Of Ice Cream

Ever have those days when you really, really want to write something - purge your clogged brain, sweep out the dustier corners of your soul, open the windows on your heart and let some fresh air in - but you just can't? One of those days where your fingers feel like dead weights as you trail them across the keyboard in a vain effort to bring your thoughts - which seem to stick together and cling to the sides of your brain like so much cerebral peanut butter - out into the open where you might unstick them, get them moving again? Ever have one of those days? I'm having one today.

I think that it's a hangover from weeks (months, depending upon how you look at it) of fretting and fussing over things beyond my control. Now that the sources of most of my more pressing anxieties seem to have been eliminated - Jasper is, if you didn't see the update to the last post, fine - I'm at a loss. I'm happy, but exhausted, and wary of giving in too fully to happiness (a wariness that is tiring in itself), because, you know, you never know when the gods are going to smack you down again and so I'm kinda caught between happiness and this wariness which is a kind of creeping anxiety and that kind of tug-of-war leaves you feeling stuck, locked in place, legs braced against movement lest you topple over and land face-first in the mud. So even though my brain is clogged with thoughts and my heart crammed with feeling and it would feel so good to throw open the windows and let the air and light in and the dust and shadows out, it just feels impossible right now because I'm locked in a bit of an emotional stalemate with myself.

So, no more words today. Just ice cream.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Power Of Positive Thinking, Being Deployed In Full Force Today

In to the doctor today, for Jasper's test results. All of my energies are directed toward willing the doctor to say 'it was nothing. He's fine.'

He WILL be fine. He WILL.

Say it with me.


UPDATE: He is fine. He's fine he's fine he's FINE. His little hips, his little legs, and - most important of all - his little spine: all are fine.

Thank you all so much for virtually holding my hand today. Thank you so much.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

In Which I Shamelessly Embrace My Blog As An Alternative To Baby Books...

... and, instead of composing a post with actual thoughts and ideas, I simply document a completely insignificant but nonetheless memorable milestone in my daughter's life: the first real (i.e. not performed by Mommy in the kitchen with a pair of cuticle scissors) haircut.

My beauty, all the more lovely for a cheeky smile, a neatly trimmed bang, and timely mullet removal.