If I believed in karma, I’d say I’ve just been bit.
All those times I’d claimed how I cannot stand the sound of children crying? Oh the irony. Because some days, I’m convinced that I have the cryiest baby around.
“Cryiest” does not exist in the English language but dangnammit, it should.
Arddun head-butted my bony collar bone this afternoon. No real harm done – by which I mean no bruising, bleeding and mild concussion. But it’s given her license to com-plete-ly lose it and she’s been crying for 90 minutes since.
No, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened and no, I’m not having a freak-out. I’m just resigned to it, that’s all. I want to take a nap because I am still rather knackered, but I haven’t quite mastered the art of sleeping through histrionics yet (yet!), so I’m sitting here to blog about it instead.
In the last 2 days, it’s started to dawn on me that I’m losing my sense of shame. Pre-baby, the sound of babies crying so grated on my nerves, I was convinced I’d whisk mine out of the room if mine made so much as a whimper that went on for Too Long (read: 1.2 seconds).
But the sad truth is, I’ve just become immune to the sound of Arddun crying. I’ve also lost the ability to think of more than one thing at a time because when she goes off her nut, all I can focus on is calming her down on the spot while teaching her how to comfort herself. To ask that I remove us from the room while I shush her would be to ask that I cook a six-course tofu meal while a man in a hideously gay jacket booms from the stage theatrically (just watched Iron Chef yesterday).
In other words, it’s just too hard, and it’d never dawn on me to do it.
Usually I can calm her down in ten seconds. This involves a lot of shushing in her ear till the noise of simulated ocean or womb or whatever drowns out her baby angst and she stops to admire the curtains or secretly pee in her diaper. All well and good when we’re at home and out of everyone’s way. Not so good when you’re out in public and alone with her, your tea has just arrived, and the baby change room is on the other side of paradise.
But the fact is, I have a stinkin’ suspicion that I’m being quite inconsiderate and I’m a little helpless as to the protocol here. Just yesterday, I had an old classmate complain bitterly on Facebook about a parent who let her child scream blue murder in the elevator while she benignly stood by to watch. And then today, just when my Coke Spider had arrived at the Coffee Club, Arddun decided to wake up half an hour early for her feed and was rather grumpy about life. I shushed her in five seconds, but that was all it took for the older couple beside me to roll their eyes and up and leave in disgust. And I was left sitting there wondering if I’d just turned into a public menace with my 5-second contribution to noise pollution in a suburban cafe.
Perhaps I put too much stock on what others think. Except I remember being just like them, and I remember how tedious it can be to put up with ill-behaved children. And I don’t want to inflict my child on others. I want her – I want us – to be a delight to have around. To be considerate of the needs of others, to be kind. But it takes time and I’m so green and unimaginative right now, it’s not funny.
Have to go. Arddun’s still crying and I think it’s time I gave my new neighbour’s ears a break. :(
7 September 2011 at 7:31 pm
Glad it’s not just me that can’t think of anything but how to quiet the baby when they cry. It used to be the hardest thing for me to deal with. For me I could cope with other people’s kids crying, just not with mine – it drove me insane – I just needed to stop him crying. My strategies for calming them were never anywhere remotely near Leigh’s mysteriously magical skills. But even as I got better at it I always knew that if something was seriously wrong I had an escalation path to the expert. It was understood – serious crying –he needs his mum now! but I think I relied on her too much and one night she had went to dinner for the first time with her friends. As far as I was concerned she was leaving me holding the baby.
Leigh was way more confident in me than I was – you’ll be fine.
But, but, as long as you take this brick of a mobile phone.
It still frightens me thinking about it that night; Five minutes after she went out he was not happy – ok, pick him up carry him around. Sorta works a bit but he’s still crying and I’m getting concerned. Then he gets progressively worse and the lungs are starting to ramp up to full use mode. I put him down but he somehow gets even louder.
So I pick him up the scream drops back to a cry. Think man think; nappy no, toys not a chance. After trying all my strategies in order I’m seriously panicked. Oh man why me. I make a decision – it’s time to call in the expert – the escalation plan – time to ring the mum!
But then the tragedy rolls on – the backup plan doesn’t work! It’s not being answered! The emergency escalation path is in critical need and it doesn’t work! – no wonder I’m frantic. How could this happen like this!
For the next so many hours I carry this crying baby in my arms – single minded focus willing the crying to stop – I feel like I’m going into shock and absolutely brain dead with terror.
Finally after what seemed like the whole night (Leigh says it was 90 minutes) I hear the sound of her car – oh am I glad to see you, sooo much! Josh sees her and he calms. How is that? – he’s been crying all night.
Leigh looks at me like I’m a nut case – he’s just over tired – why didn’t you put him to sleep? I can’t speak. She looks at my terrified face – well you could have taken him for a ride in the car, you know he falls asleep in the car. Oh man I didn’t think of that, I was too scared to think of anything.
7 September 2011 at 7:35 pm
Yeah, Tony does sometimes say that Arddun cries about 5 minutes after I step out the door and he’s left standing with the baby! But Tony’s got his special touch with her as well, and she’s got a repertoire of smiles just for Daddy. I’m sure your kids were like that with you, too. :)