The Crazy 2

  • ST poops while on the changing table. Many times. Perhaps he prefers it to his diaper. The poop, which is part-Velcro, once got on his ankles, legs, feet, the side of the changing table, me, my robe, and somehow the floor. I clean all that up, and then more poop comes out and I do it all over again. I use half of a container of wipes by the time I’m finished, and exhausted. And then the little washcloth I use to cover his penis falls off and he pees an impressively powerful arc that gets all over most parts of his body, me, the side of the table, the rug, and remarkably alllll the way over to the glider. He actually hits the glider in the middle of the room! How? Wow. I use another quarter of a pack of wipes in awed silence while he wails.
  • Sometimes he wails during changing as if I am torturing him in medieval ways. Sometimes he gets his bright eyes and mischievous smile and seems pretty delighted and excited by the whole thing. I’ve tried to figure out the rhyme or reason to this difference but there is none. Zero. It just is. Who knows what the changing table will bring…
  • The very first day Papa went back to work, two weeks after birth, ST went 0 to 60 in a nanosecond when he got hungry. I mean red-faced, veins popping out everywhere, cannot breathe is wailing so hard—that kind of crying. During these times, the three minutes it takes to warm up the bottle seems like an eternity. I’ve since learned that one of the few things that consoles him during this wait is doing giant, jiggly, swoopy dances while singing upbeat songs. (Actually, I do this to console him often now, not just during the bottle warm up. He seems to prefer Patsy Cline numbers.) Anyway, that first day, after what we’ve come to call The Longest Three Minutes of Our Lives, I took the hot bottle out and  dropped it and it spilled all over the floor. I cried with ST. Hard. Made another bottle. But when I brought it and wailing ST to the couch for feeding, I managed to somehow drop and spill that one, too. I was naked, my bun crazily at the side of my head, and ST was naked, his diaper falling off. And that’s when liquid poo poured out of the loose diaper onto three pillows, a towel, the couch, and both of us. I…I can’t go back there…must stop typing out that memory now…
  • DH, my amazing husband, has come home and made dinner, cut up veggies and boiled eggs for me to grab the next day, dealt with the massive heap of recycling, etc., all after little sleep, eight hours of work and going to the drugstore and grocery store for us. ST has been crying all day long, all night long. My nerves are fried. I’ve slept barely at all. DH tries to take care of ST, giving me a break, while taking care of household tasks, but it is not working. ST is crying more consistently than ever. Because I don’t want to watch anything violent, I have chosen to put on that 80s movie The Secret To My Success—because I am too frazzled to nap, too frazzled to help, too frazzled to make decisions about anything or put words together into a sentence. I try to retreat deeply, deeply into the couch cushions while I watch Michael J. Fox’s face, one sock hanging off my foot, my drawstring pants stained, damp and falling off, my hair too ratted to run a comb through. I feel shell-shocked and vaguely aware of the giant hair, shoulder pads, and bad abstract art I am seeing on the screen. I can’t hear the dialogue over ST screams. I have one coherent thought: Michael J. Fox has Parkinson’s now. I cling to it because it is a fact. It is something I know. I know nothing else. I certainly don’t know how to take care of a tiny, screaming human. When DH leaves the tiny, screaming human in the bassinet in the bedroom while prepping the bottle in the kitchen—the bedroom being a room ST is never in, and he’s alone, and flat on his back, which he hates—I go in and swoop up the baby. I am livid mad. And because I am insane, and have just let go of my last coping skill (Michael J. Fox has Parkinson’s) I go off on DH—my teammate, the guy who is really helping my ass out. What is WRONG with me? I go off. I tell him to “read a baby book!” I say, “You have to soothe him while the bottle is warming up! You don’t leave him alone! He doesn’t know if you’re coming back! You have to soothe him and dance with him during the Longest Three Minutes and you have to do everything with one hand! You have to have fourteen arms!” I actually say those words. You have to do everything with one hand and fourteen arms. I tell DH that he has to learn to multi-task (oh GOD did I really say that???).  Because obviously he is a horrible multi-tasker, as he has done countless things in record time for all of us tonight while I tried to hide inside the couch. I tell him again that he should read a baby book—this to the man whose instincts in parenting are amazing. I realize that this is vestigial stuff from when I was pregnant. I was reading baby books at night (okay, usually after watching my 14th episode of Parenthood) while DH was reading Alan Watts books and listening to recordings of him. This guy. I mention Alan Watts to DH during this, my finest hour. Is Alan Watts a big help to him now? And then I try to swaddle ST, who is flailing, and the blanket ends up looking like it has been through a tornado and fallen from the stormy skies onto our boy. I collapse onto the floor, on my knees, press my forehead into the loose ends of the disaster swaddle. My teammate is mad at me (oh, but why ever is he mad?) and so not a smidge of comfort comes my way as fall over into the fetal position and twitch on the floor like roadkill.
  • The couch looks like this:

couch

  • Despite my best efforts, no matter how many times I fold blankets and clear bottles and books and put clothes away, the couch instantly and always looks like this.
  • I never remember what I am in the middle of doing from one moment to the next. I walk into rooms, bewildered, searching for some clue as to why I am there.
  • When ST is peacefully sleeping, I don’t know what to do. I should nap. I try for a while and it doesn’t work. I panic. I try to do other things so as not to waste the precious time. I start to feel normal again. I get amnesia. This baby is so easy! I’ve got this parenting thing down! And then the sweet tyrant awakes…
  • I have definitely done this: Swaddled screaming ST (badly), strapped him into the swing while he looks at me with eyes that say I am betraying him, turned the swing on high, turned on the White Noise app on my phone and tossed the phone into the swing with ST. And walked away for a moment to do deep breathing exercises.
  • I sometimes think the White Noise app on my phone is a better parent than I am. iParent. Yeah.
  • Sometimes I wear earplugs even while ST is sleeping and quiet. Just in case. Yes, prophylactic ear plugs. I wear them sometimes when trying to have dinner with DH, and so do not converse with him. I need no conversation. I just need peace. Sometimes I find myself carrying around my iPhone with the white noise blasting and I realize that I am using it to soothe not my baby, who is snoozing away in the high-speed swing that is probably giving him whiplash, but to soothe myself.
  • But then I have a day like today. Sweet boy asleep in the sling against me for most of it. Lots of singing and dancing and gurgling. I had a lot more rest, so was able to pull out my top-shelf parenting skills. And he is, after all, a rather patient tyrant. I know that sounds odd after all of this, but I do think it is true. I just get this sense that he is…working with me. It’s a dynamic. We’re learning each other. Both of us are learning what works, what doesn’t. I’m getting more creative, and he’s growing, in all ways, by the minute.
  • But of course, stay tuned for The Crazy 3 (and 4, and 5…)
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6 Comments

  1. Hang in there momma. You aren’t alone. I love my girls deeply, doesn’t mean I don’t cry with them at 2:30 in the morning wondering if I am ever going to sleep again.

    Reply
  2. Nikki

     /  December 31, 2014

    First, congratulations!! I’m so happy for you. ST is absolutely beautiful.
    I just want to share my experience with my now two year old when he was a newborn. We had discovered after his first month that he suffered with silent acid reflux:(. After taking him to a doctor and putting him on medicine, his crying fits did not stop. I had a feeling he was allergic to milk ( I was breast feeding ). I changed over to soy formula and added the rice cereal to help keep him from spitting up so much, but that didn’t even help. After researching and insisting with the doctors that I felt he was not only allergic to milk, but also soy, they changed his formula to Neocate (really gross at first), and he was the happiest, most content baby after that. You may want to look into it.
    I also highly recommend this book, Colic Solved: The Essential Guide to Infant Reflux and the Care of Your Crying, Difficult-to- Soothe Baby. It saved me.

    Reply
  3. Oh thank god someone else is experiencing this! I thought you were a total earth mama from your previous posts – all cooing baby and singing serenity. Our house is like a bomb site 7 weeks in, but it’s getting better. Trouble is with Edie because she was 5 weeks early she was virtually a spud until this week where she is 2 weeks corrected age and now we are getting baby attitude. Mustn’t be all bad though, I’m just confirming everything for a FET in May/June!

    Reply
  4. I love how honest you are with your experience with a newborn. I have a 3 month old and I kept going “oh yep, did that” when I read your post. I actually laughed out loud when I saw a picture of your couch because I remember the time I cried to my husband “why can’t the couch ever be cleared?!?”. I know it’s cliché to hear this but honestly it gets better, pretty quickly. It seems like yesterday when I thought of changing my identity and running away and today I have a baby who sleeps 5 to 7 hours a night and who is delightfully amusing during the day. Yeah there are the occasional meltdowns (from both baby and mommy) but they are few and far between. Hang in there.

    Reply
  5. I am crying, dying laughing. But ONLY because I have been there. Just been there. Things get easier. They will. They do. Then they don’t but there will be ebbs and flows. I promise. The tough parts just change. When you can’t take it anymore, cling to that constant, Michael J. Fox does indeed have parkinsons now.

    Reply
  6. Oh, I hear ya! I might need to share this post with C, who nearly threw our daughter at me when I arrived home this evening and promptly laid on the bed in a fetal position. PThis is hard stuff!

    I especially love the part about the changing pad as we have the exact same experience. I wish I could offer some insight about what makes it enjoyable vs torture but I haven’t been able to figure it either.

    Reply

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