These past four days have been an obstacle course. It all started with something innocuous, Clémentine upping her intake of formula. Problem is that it is taking that little stomach of hers a while to catch up with her appetite. Unfortunately, sore stomach = screeching baby = tortured mother
I naively thought that this time around I would, thanks to my added years, life experience, and maturity, be like a zen master in regards to colic. After all, I had survived Camille’s babyhood and it would be a tragic waste of angst if it turned out I hadn’t learned anything from the ordeal.
I was convinced that even if my third baby had colic, I would be able stay relaxed by reminding myself that even though it was my job to make sure my baby was bathed, fed, and loved it wasn’t in my power to make her happy. I would also chant a mantra of “this too shall pass” and throw in some deep breathing techniques for good measure.
I was so deluded.
I could of course gloss over this bad patch in my blog, and write about antiquing or wine tasting instead. However, I feel very strongly that there are already too many artfully edited, blissed-out accounts of motherhood out there. These insidious accounts are designed to make you feel like a terrible person just because there are days when you would gladly sell your soul to have a mute button installed just above your baby’s left ear.
It must be Nature’s way to make us mothers conveniently forget how our baby’s cry taps directly into our central nervous system like a huge industrial plug. Worse, it makes all those unpleasant mental and physical alarm bells ring:
Tense shoulders. Check.
Rapid breathing. Check.
Occasional dizziness. Check.
Accelerated heartbeat. Check.
Feelings of confusion. Check.
Feelings of helplessness. Check.
Feelings of being overwhelmed. Check
Feelings of being a terrible mother. Check.
Feelings that you are making a total hatchet job out of basically every area of your life. Check.
I had forgotten how there is nothing like a screaming baby to make me feel like everything I am doing is fundamentally WRONG.
The only thing that makes these awful sensations go away is, of course, when the baby stops crying. This means I am spending most of my daylight hours jiggling Clem in a special stomach down position that requires my two arms, and which I am considering trademarking in my more lucid moments.
Colic in France may have been easier if it wasn’t for the two-armed jiggle, but sadly it takes at least one free hand to drink one (or several) glasses of wine.
Anyone out there who has ever looked after newborns will relate to this conundrum. How does one do the breakfast dishes with no hands? How about have a shower while holding a baby? And what about opening the drawers to pick out clothes for the older kids? Just getting myself and the three girls fed, bathed, and dressed in the morning leaves me feeling achy and exhausted like I have run a steeple chase.
So for all of you out there who are wondering why I am slow returning emails, or fail to return them at all, please be gentle with me. Just for the record, I am already feeling pretty incompetent as it is and will until the colic stops.
This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass…but until it does it’s l’infer.