Yesterday evening, as I was peering into the red, furious face of my eight-month-old baby, just before she vomited with fury all over me, as a protest against going to sleep, I thought to myself, sometimes, being a mother is a tough gig.
For three and a half hours I patted and shushed as she screamed and flailed like a small angry gnome. And when, unable to bear the hysterical wailing, I relented and picked her up, she stopped crying, looked at me and laughed.
Downstairs, everyone was eating spaghetti bolognese – everyone except me – as my pint-sized slave-driver ensured my plate went cold. Baby wept. I wept. “Go the F to sleep,” I pleaded. I might as well have been smacking my head against a wall, for all the notice she took.
It’s karma, probably. I wasn’t a perfect baby myself – nor was I an angelic child. I remember going to the park with Tutti, Fluffy and her friend Terri and thinking it would be a good idea to push the swing as hard as I could, with Tutti standing unawares in front of it. It smacked her right in the head. She sent me to sit in the car in disgrace, where I watched Fluffy and Terri play without me, and I cried.
Anyway. This morning the baby woke up all sweetness and smiles. The air was frosty but the sun was shining and I breathed a sigh of relief that night time was behind me (for at least another 10 hours) .
The baby was at her typical daytime, happy, bouncy best – not least because the incredibly kind folk at Fisher Price sent me a Rainforest Jumperoo for her to try and I can stick her in it and actually get stuff done while she squeals with excitement at the music, bounces on her tiny feet, spins little spinny things around and watches the flashing lights. Every day I put her in it and it’s the same level of excitement (she’s like a goldfish…). Being able to detach her from my person and listen to her being happy rather than screechy has revolutionised my day indeed.But now it’s night time (again). I’ve just sat down again after being almost deafened by screaming (again) and thrown up on (again). I’m pining for day time already, for the smiles and the squeals and excitable bouncing.
And one day, I’ll tell her the story of how she was terrible at sleeping and just about drove me crazy. Just as Tutti reminds me of how I caused her morning sickness that ruined her European holiday. And smacked her in the head with a swing.