My husband made my day earlier this week.
He told me that I’m a brilliant Mum.
He’s told me this before numerous times but this time was different. Previously when he’s said it I’ve mostly either been in too much of a fog to listen or it’s been in response to some meltdown either I or the baby was having. I have never believed him when he has said it before. Other people have said it, or versions of it, to me too and I’ve never believed them either.
This time was different because it was completely out of the blue and unprovoked by my hysteria. That, and this time I could tell he really meant it – he wasn’t just trying to make me feel better.
About half an hour earlier I’d been feeding the baby, who was screaming between every sip, and I was trying everything I could think of to calm him down. I concluded his teeth and the heat were making him even more irritable in addition to his normal evening grumpiness. I stripped him down, gave him some bonjella and he reluctantly agreed to finish his bottle with a bit of gentle rocking and singing the Grand Old Duke of York – random selection – he’d already cried through Rock a Bye Baby and Baa Baa Black Sheep (or whatever the PC version is that I’m supposed to use these days) and I’ve no idea why he liked the Grand Old Duke that day – or maybe he’d just had enough of my singing. The point is it worked, he drank and went to sleep.
I’d then sat there holding him upright wondering if I’d ever get the hang of this and how people manage to forget all of this when they decide to have a second baby.
So my husband’s praise came just at the right time and for the first time I think I actually allowed myself to believe him a little bit. I decided to look at the previous hour with pride that I succeeded rather than concentrating on the relentless screams.
It got me thinking generally about how much I’ve been beating myself up about my baby being unhappy and for the first time I looked at it with a new perspective.
Nobody has fought harder with the doctors who were so dismissive of his reflux than me. And eventually we have some medication that is working. I had to go all Mummy Lion to get it but something tells me it won’t be the last time I do that (I had a tendency to go all Mummy lion before I even had a cub to do it over if we’re being honest).
My son’s bathtime has gone from me wondering if I’ve actually died and gone to hell to one of the highlights of my day. I can’t pinpoint when this happened but it was roughly around the time I started giving a little performance each night (a full on song, dance and rhyming spectacular with a host of animal friends and the baby sat on his own boat – well a lilo of sorts but we call it a boat)! My boy now loves it and you’ve never seen such a happy, smiling baby (who knew my singing was so great).
I met up with a group of other Mums this week and for the first time really noticed that their babies cried a lot too. And they were losing their shit too. They’d told me they did before but I’d been too wrapped up in noticing when their babies were quiet and content.
Don’t get me wrong, the very next day after my husband told me this I still had lots of moments of insanity. Yet, somehow I found them a little bit easier to deal with knowing how much faith he has in me (even after living with this crazy woman who wears cabbage, picks her baby’s nose and has a split personality to rival Jekyll and Hyde that I’ve become over the last few months) and having the belief myself, even if just for a few seconds, that maybe I can do this.
I started drafting this post a few days ago and the addendum to this is that I think I might have, ever so slightly, mellowed a little bit (I mean like a tiny fraction of an iota) just because of this little thing my husband said and an amazing thing happened. The baby mellowed ever so slightly too. I’ve never heard so much baby gurgling and laughter. I’ll probably lose my shit again later when he begins the evening grump but for now the sun is shining, I’ve just had a flock of old women at the chemist cooing over my beautiful baby who talked to them in baby gurgle and smiled on cue and I feel like a rock star Mum for the first time in 15 long weeks.