Four o’clock in the morning. Every night for the past three nights. Screaming. Thrashing. Inconsolable. I rock, I sing, I nurse, until peace returns. Its been okay because he’s been so good during the days. Cooing, laughing, crawling without complaint. This ebb and flow of his moods between night and day help me steady the fort for the difficult night to come. Until today. Today it flooded. He cried all night. He cried all day. I feel threadbare.
It’s not the cries themselves. It’s not the eyes wet with tears, his tomato-red face, his mouth wide-open crying with everything he is. Its the way he looks at me. The way he gasps between tears once he knows I am there and flings himself into me regardless of who is holding him. He doesn’t want me, he needs me. And his need is raw. No thank you. No sorry to disturb. He believes my comforting arms are his birthright. He is right.
Its this need that leaves me threadbare. No one has ever needed me this way. And when I hold him I know he thinks I will make it all okay. And I can’t because I don’t know what’s wrong so K and I take turns, soothing and rocking, tyelenoling and zantacing and wishing for a magic cure. I’ll be going to the pediatrician tomorrow. She suspects an ear infection. We wonder, teething? He chews on everything breaking apples in half with his jaw, and drools through outfits, but this is nothing new- has been going on for months.
I remember when I first got married. K’s mother asked him the day after our wedding you happy? I found the question odd but I get it now. There is nothing- and I mean nothing more I want than to see him happy and the intensity of his baby-needs scrapes my soul raw. I am threadbare. but thankful.