Wait, what was that number one lesson of parenting that I should have learned by now, a year into the gig? Don’t complain, because it could get worse? Yup, that’s it.
Anna got roseola, which actually wasn’t that bad. She had a fever which Tylenol helped, and didn’t want to eat but she still managed to mostly sleep at night and we continued on our merry weekend way, going to a Fall Festival in our town, the playground, dog park, and trying to relax. But her crankiness just increased. Hourly. By the end of the three-day weekend, I was completely drained. Walt was home, luckily, and helped. But I was really starting to learn what the extreme, desperate end of my patience reserves felt like, and it wasn’t pretty.
It would start as soon as she woke up. Whining. Hysterical crying over terrible injustices, such as: Mommy and Daddy taking away the cereal box that she was slowly emptying into the dog’s mouth but mostly onto the floor; setting her down, lovingly, with an array of musically engaging toys; offering her tidbits of food and drink (the incorrect tidbit of food or drink, obvs!) and inanimate objects that refused to move or function exactly as Anna wanted them to in that given moment of time.
Throwing her body on the floor when an injustice was particularly injust was another theme. Toys, cuddling, holding, sleeping, distractions, outings, were all found to be highly inadequate at the job of getting Anna to stop crying, whining, or tantruming.
It was oh-so brutal. I resorted to my primary self-preservation strategy: Googling, which taught me that some babies act totally fine while suffering from roseola, and others can be a bit clingy and cranky. So when I put that information through the Anna-Translation-Presto-ChangeO-Machine, the output is that we must suffer the wrath of the crankiest baby ever in the history of the world to the point of death. There’s a mathematical formula for that, the Anna factor. It’s coincidentally probably also the same factor that explains why the stars in the universe are getting further apart from each other, contrary to rules of gravity and such.
So then, of course, the only next thing that could happen would be a turn for the worse. The fever broke, the roseola rash appeared, good I thought, we are moving on. Then came last night. She cried. At 9pm. She screamed in pain. She writhed. She moaned. She hysterically melted down. She couldn’t sleep. We couldn’t sleep. We got a snatch of sleep around 1 am until 3 am. Infant Motrin was liberally applied. Our bed was tried, the crib was tried again, sleeping upright in the rocking chair was attempted. Thunder and lighting added to the hellish effect. The dog cowered in the nursery, equally terrified of Anna’s screaming which was the most piercing we’d ever heard in her life and the crashing and booming outside. At one point he shivered on my lap, all 50 pounds of his awkward long coonhound body contorted on top of me.
Finally at 4 am another snatch of sleep. My poor husband had to wake up at 6:30 and go to work. I slept, fitfully, with the intermittently moaning and thrashing Anna until 10, blessedly, mercifully. A trip to the pediatrician this morning didn’t show an ear infection as I assumed must have been the case. So the mystery continues which means tonight is a scary prospect.
It can always get worse.