I am a first time mum so I don’t doubt there will be plenty of seasoned mamas rolling their eyes and scoffing as I say this, but fuck me my child must be broken with the amount of whining she does. She is only 12 months old and I already feel like I’ve been through toddlerhood and should be heading into teen tantrums with her. And if one more person tells me “it’s normal” or “it will get easier” I might have an aneurism. I know it is and I know it will but right now while I’m in the thick of it I feel like my life is endlessly dealing with a demanding cranky mute mini human and I just want to know how to please her, if that’s even possible.
Don’t get me wrong, I love her, I really do. But some days, boy I want to post her on gumtree at the next fit over jamming her own finger under a puzzle piece with her hand or tripping over the same piece of furniture for the 8th time that hour. She is far from a chilled easy going baby and never has been, she has her moments of happiness and they do outweigh the hard difficult times but those tears and squealing leave little scars on my soul. I feel like in the last 12 months I have aged 8 years. My eye bags are dark and heavy and I now have permanent frown lines, if only I could afford botox..and a full time nanny!
A regular day starts with a fit and kicking like a donkey as soon I lay her down to change her nappy as she doesn’t like being sat still, then the head throw back and waterworks at breakfast as she doesn’t like being sat in her high chair so a switch to her mini table it is. After about 7 minutes the wriggling and moaning starts as she doesn’t want to sit anymore, then another screaming fit when I head to the kitchen to wash my coffee cup because god forbid I walk 6 feet away from her. Any trips, bumps or tumbles will end in an eyes closed, voice breaking, dripping snot break down from which she can’t be spoken to or picked up or she’ll just cry harder. If I do happen to pick her up and she eventually stops crying I can’t put her down again or the high pitched squealing starts. It can get pretty miserable when she has been crying on and off for the first hour of her being awake for the day, I feel like I am a complete failure and sometimes feel like I don’t know if I can cope for the rest of the day. The worst is generally in the afternoon when I’m trying to prepare dinner and Chloe will sit at my feet and cry the entire time no matter how many measuring cups and plastic utensils I throw her way to entertain her.
I think it’s normal to feel like you need to fix your child when they cry, call it maternal instinct or the fact you can’t handle another tantrum because your out of the good wine. But when those tears start flowing you just want to scoop your baby up and cuddle the pain away. Apart from Chloe not being a cuddler she is nearly impossible to soothe, sometimes a distraction will work but most of the time she just needs to cry it out. Of course I try each time to settle her but when she just starts wriggling and crying harder I have to sit her on her padded mat and let her cry. A lot of the time I have to leave the room as the sound of her relentless wailing gets me so frustrated that I can’t help her so I generally end up on my bedroom floor crying also. This may seem dramatic but it’s my way of coping, although it’s not affective in that it doesn’t soothe Chloe it does give me a chance to breathe and feel all the frustration built up flow out of me so I can hit the reset before I go back to trying to be a good mother.
A lot of the first half of Chloe’s life was painful for her, silent reflux was not easy on either of us but she was the one in constant pain that I couldn’t take away. I don’t know if this conditioned her to cry whenever she feels out of control, when she doesn’t get her way or when she has a slight bump but it still makes me feel like I’m the most inadequate mother on earth. Why, why can’t I just figure this kid out!?! Finding a pattern to her angst is difficult as it is extremely random and frequent but meal times seem to be the worst. I thought I was setting her up for good eating habits by eating at the same time and letting he self feed as she refuses to be spoon fed but most meals end in her crying and throwing herself around in frustration. No matter what I try, it all seems useless.
I guess the worst part and the part I struggle to get out of my head is that I don’t know my child. I don’t know how to make her feel safe and protected. I thought this was all meant to come naturally, it’s the motherly instinct that everyone tells you hits you like a tonne of bricks when you first hold your baby in your arms. What did I miss? Did I not get bless with that special instinct? Why do I struggle so much to read the signs and know how to make her happy? The doubt and questioning isn’t healthy and it just gets deeper and deeper when all the advise your given, welcomed or not, doesn’t work no matter how many times you try. I’m her mother, I’m supposed to know how to make her happy. Sometimes I look at her when she’s been crying for 15 minutes, eyes shut, face full of tears and struggling to catch a breath and I just think maybe you chose the wrong person to be your mummy. I just wish I could take all the tears away and just see her smile and hear her little laugh instead.
I know I’m not a bad mother and it’s just a tough period that will pass with time. I will look back on this time when Chloe is 16 and telling me I’m ruining her life and she hates me and I’ll think this was easy. Don’t know if I’ve said it before (insert obvious sarcasm) but parenting is hard, really fucking hard and there are days that I just want to throw in the towel but I’m still learning and I’m not always going to get it right. You can’t fail without having tried and I haven’t given up trying yet! I’m not sure what the universe is trying to teach me right now but I know this difficult period we are going through will make me stronger and we will be better for it.