I was planning to write my post this evening on how I have – to my surprise – fallen madly in love with Whoopsy. I had a great metaphor worked out and everything.
And then he was a grade A asshole.
There have been very few moments when I’ve thrown my hands up and walked away from him as he’s been crying but tonight was one of them. The mantra ‘Happy mama, happy baby’ came to mind as I did so. ‘I’m not fucking happy right now and therefore you can’t be happy’ I reasoned. So I figured we’d both be far happier in separate rooms…
T came home just as I had left the nursery to sterilise a dummy and teased me for giving up. It took every ounce of inner strength not to breathe fire in his face given that he often ‘gives up’ after about five minutes of crying, and loudly and angrily announces that he’s decided we’re going to commit to the ‘Cry it out’ method commencing immediately. Case in point: last week I was supposed to have a night off and catch up on sleep. I was awoken at 4am by Whoopsy crying. He’ll wake daddy up shortly, I thought, and pulled the covers over my head. Five minutes later the crying was still going so I dragged myself out of bed only to find T fast asleep with the baby screaming wildly in the cot. I soothed Whoopsy back to sleep and returned to my bed silently cursing his father. I would have been more forgiving had this not repeated at 6am. When I demanded to know why my supposed night off had been ruined by his negligence he explained that he had ticked all the baby boxes – changed Whoopsy, fed him, burped him, soothed him – but still the baby continued to cry. After ninety minutes he’d given up and decided to leave the baby to his nuclear meltdown.
The purpose of this post isn’t to shame T. He’s a great father. It is to highlight that sometimes – to be a sane person – you have to be a shit parent. And, not that I have any experience of it (yet), but to be a single parent would require willpower of iron. Because when you have reached the end of your tether and give up, who else is there to take over?
As I write, T is in the nursery with a crying Whoopsy. He’s been crying for TWO MILLION YEARS. In real time, it’s more like two hours, but it feels like it could have been forever as your brain stops recognising human constructs such as time or the concept of happiness when faced with a crying baby. Babies are designed to piss you off enough when they require something that you are forced to act. It’s evolutionary brilliance (and perhaps one of the few brilliant things since the design of babies is generally poor – who makes a creature that suffers from wind and subsequent pain just from eating mama-milk?!) T is switching between asking him what’s wrong in a Middle Eastern accent and soothing him by holding him tight under the duvet (or trying to deprive him of oxygen – I’m not entirely sure which).
I feel genuinely worried for both of our sanity in moments like this. On the one hand, looking after a baby for almost twenty-four hours a day will make you start clawing at your face at times. There are wonderful and amazing moments, sure (I feel obliged to write this – there’s about one a day lasting around four seconds). But there are also a lot of monotonous, brain numbing, fist-in-the-face occasions too. As a result when T walks through the door at 6pm I often throw the baby at him and lock myself in the bathroom with smelling salts. The poor guy has just finished eight hours of work and commuted back home just in time to deal with Whoopsy’s witching hour. When it comes to ‘tough life’ Top Trumps, we both have pretty killer cards. In about twelve minutes T is going to march into the kitchen and exclaim that the baby is broken and / or possessed by Satan. At that point, I’ll return to the baby, having had enough time to regain my composure, and begin the process of box ticking all over again. It’s like an unfunny version of The Chuckle Brother’s ‘to me, to you’ sketch. We both try and support each other as best as we can. However, sometimes the baby wins and we turn on each other, saliva dripping from our rapidly emerging fangs, as we fight to the death in the game I like to call ‘Who has had the shittest day?’
So I have fallen in love with Whoopsy. I’ll tell you about that sometime. But right now I can’t because T has just walked through the kitchen door a broken man and it’s time to relieve him of daddy duty until I start to feel my eyeballs ache and my uterus dry up.