Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Grow up mom

Isla is three months old. She slept eight hours straight the other night. She was an angel. It won't last.

Now she is the devil. She is upstairs yelling while I crank Jimmy Cliff “The Harder They Come” down here in order to drown her out. I have tried everything: sling carrying, diaper change, nursing, massage, singing, reading, fresh air, dancing. Nothing satisfies. Her crying is so high pitched and insistent our house sounds like the set of Scream III. She hasn’t slept more than 15 minutes at a time all day. I don’t know what is the matter but it is making me crazy.

It's no surprise that Esther is now walking around the house reciting her newfound phrase, "I just can't take it anymore." Ouch. Somedays I am honestly just not capable of being the adult. Being mature 24/7 in front of my children is the hardest thing I will ever do. It makes me realize it isn’t just kids who fall apart without food and sleep. I become an instant child when I am hungry or overtired. I am impatient, petulant, petty, irrational and aggressive. And, just like a child, I can only think of myself. I hate Isla right now for not being soothed by my breast or my words or my touch. I hate her for interrupting my plans, for interfering with my agenda, for being a helpless baby. She is so incredibly sweet one minute, smiling playfully up at me, then her little face contorts and twists into a grimace, her skin grows red and the high pitched, indignant scream comes pouring out of her throat like a skill saw. And I am powerless. Relinquishing control, it seems, is not my strong point. I have been watching the clock since noon. Where is my relief pitcher?

I find myself really having to work on the patience thing lately. I have been losing it daily. Esther always asks me, “Why are you talking with the mad voice?” She picks up the nuances in my voice so readily. According to her, I also have a “tired voice” and a “fusterated voice.” She told me the other day that I was being grumpy when I brushed her hair as we were rushing out the door to go skating. “I know,” I said. “Mummy gets stressed out when we are trying to leave the house.” “But you’re always grumpy,” she shot back. Nothing like getting a mirror held up so you can behold your imperfect self day after day.

Turns out, I am sick. I have been nursing a raging sinus infection since Christmas and have tried every "nursing friendly" holistic remedy from acupuncture to Neti Pots to no avail. I knew I wasn't operating at 100 percent capacity but didn't realize just how much it was affecting my job performance. Finally, my boss, that would be my four-year old, had to call a meeting and point out that something wasn't right. How many times have I witnessed her displaying erratic rage or irrational behavior only to find out within 24 hours that the poor girl was sick? And it took two months of this to recognize it in myself. How old am I?

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