Sunday, August 30, 2009

Are You Having So Much Fun?

Another neighbor (as in not Frank the jerk) stopped me on the way home from a walk the other day to say, "Are you having so much fun with your baby??" She is around my age, thinking of having kids soon, and seems to be a really, really happy pleasant person. But I was on that walk with Miles because he had been screaming for an hour or so without rest, and continued to cry on my walk.

I said, "Well...we haven't reached the fun part yet." Her face fell. She seemed to think I was a mixture of a horrible person and a Debbie Downer. I told her how Miles keeps on making those noises and weird, contorted faces once we get inside. And all night. And then again all the next day. Her question really stuck with me for a long time. Still does. Am I having fun?

Every now and then, there will be an hour or so where I can think, "Yes! Awesome! This is so great!" But really, the majority of my time the past 45 days has been spent desperately trying to comfort a screaming, upset baby OR super, super tense with anxiety that his calm will be short lived and he will explode into unrest again.

My son cries. A lot. You could say he has colic. You could say he's a fussy baby. You could go the Dr. Sears route (like Corey and I prefer to do) and say he is a high needs baby. You could do what my dad does and say he is spoiled...or else that there is something desperately wrong with him. It all amounts to the same thing. Miles cries. And he doesn't sleep. And it's not fun to parent him right now.

Do I love the crap out of him? Sure. But do I also scream right back at him in desperation at 430 every morning? Do I use the F word at my infant child after numerous hours of incessant wailing? Do I sometimes hand him to Corey and just leave the house to stand on the porch and stare at my plants? Yes. Every single day.

Corey is currently downstairs fiercely rocking our son in the rocking chair with the radio blaring 91.7 (pure static) at full volume. Miles is tightly swaddled with a pacifer, stomach down like Dr. Karp suggests, jiggling away. With his eyes wide open. Because he doesn't sleep. At least he isn't crying right now. Fun?

Some people have babies who don't behave this way. Like there are people in the world who can put their children down on surfaces that aren't made of human or can, like, run errands or show their babies off at work or even take showers while home alone with their kids. I guess lots of people. Some people have really great ideas or advice on how to help these babies (gas drops are working a little, we nurse frequently, tuck up his legs...I have tried pretty much all the advice except the catnip tea. Oh. I won't give him whiskey, either). Some people come over and hold him for me for a bit and he goes right to sleep for them and I wonder if they think I'm exaggerating. Fun?

Our doctor told us this is not something to be concerned about and that he is confident it will pass. He told me I will look back on this time like a grain of sand in the hourglass of time (he talks that way...) and he is probably right. It will be like I remember junior high, when I had a bright green retainer and horrible glasses, greasy skin, basically a mullet, and my mom let me wear MR Ducks shirts to school with too-big pants. I look back on those times now, when I thought I would NEVER get breasts or have a friend or have someone fall in love with me, and it's like a grain of sand in the hourglass. But it's like a black, greasy grain of sand from an oil spill or sewage explosion with jellyfish stings clinging to it. In other words, I still recognize that time as agonizing.

I feel like Corey articulated our experience the best (he always is good at articulating the really important things). He says that parenthood so far has been the very highest of highs and the very lowest of terrible lows. With Miles, there is no middle ground. We are either on the brink of despair, crawling on the floor in prayer to some entity to soothe our unsoothable baby, clinging to one another in broken-hearted agony OR we are clutching our chests in ecstasy, sure that our hearts will swell too large to fit in there. Only the joyous, chest-clutching moments come really infrequently.

I have faith that things will improve and that I will come to view parenthood as a blissful blessing. For now, though, I will say only that I am exhausted. The space between my blood vessels is tired. And I will stop there, because my baby finally fell asleep and that means I can go stare at him with Corey, clutching our chests as we forget our exhaustion and marvel at our perfect child.


Laura V said...

I'm sorry you guys are having such a rough time. If you'd like me to come over & walk Miles up & down the block so you can nap or shower, let me know; I can put him in the carrier and R. in the stroller, no problem.

Sikora said...

Hang in there Katy. Those first several weeks are rough. I too yelled right back at Mikey, dropped the f-bombed, fantasized about dropping him off at the fire station, handed off to my hubby without a word and fled from the house. I even asked my husband to divorce me so he could find Mikey a mom because I wasn't cut out for it. I promise it gets better.

ninny said...

miles is lucky to have you and corey for parents

Kelly said...

I agree with your mom. I'm sorry things are so rough right now. I'm sending my sleepy thoughts in Miles' direction.

Ellen said...

I agree with Ninny too-he is very lucky. Today I was telling my boss Brigitte about Miles and she said, you know when you're about to have a baby no one ever tells you about babies that cry all the time, and the sheer exhasution you feel. I said, well then no one would have children...

Verona said...

Wow --your kid and 'new mom' experience sound exactly like mine when my son was born five years ago, right down to someone making the "Aren't you having so much fun?" comment to me. I also had a c-section. (I had planned a home birth.) I haven't read the rest of your blog, but I hope things are better now.