I am super-affected by tiredness, it makes me drunk and suppresses that part of my brain that controls my temper leading to a full on green monster bursting forth. It’s one of the reasons I wear stretchy purple trousers. I know the signs for when I am slipping down the slope and do my best to centre my zen and stop a full blown tantrum.
There are times when I have lost control, and they are scary.
Most recently was during the first week of Feliciraptor. A lot of sleepless nights were causing all edges to become frayed and it all reached a climax at 5am one Saturday morning. Acute sleep deprivation was affecting both of us as Feliciraptor was having a lot of issues with Colic. No matter what we tried she would not sleep for long and when she was awake she would scream, and she has a pair of lungs on her (I have a feeling she will be an Opera star or a world class free diver). I have difficulty just dropping off for an hour when she did so was not getting any rest.
She still kept screaming, and screaming, and screaming. Every time I would put her dummy in she would suck on it for a minute to calm down and then spit it out. Then scream.
I would get up, give her the dummy, lie down and repeat ad infinitum. Even holding her would not calm her but just bring the tiny klaxon closer to deafening me. At that point I was also not wanting to go near her as I was becoming fairly angry at her. It was at this point I snapped.
After once again spitting out her dummy I picked up the discarded pacifier and hurled it across the room telling Baby E in no uncertain terms that if she can’t keep it in her mouth she can’t bloomin’ well have it. I then picked up her Moses basket and put it in the kitchen as I couldn’t even bear to be in the same room. Still she kept screaming.
At this point I was so tired, so stressed and so confused as to what I could do that I was just angry that I was like this. There was a well of rage in me that I needed to release before it took me over, I threw a punch at the sofa, I bit a cushion as hard I could. I knew that I couldn’t do anything to hurt the baby in the kitchen but in the same way I was rabid.
It’s at this point I realised that where before any anger I had to deal with I dealt with alone, but now I had someone upstairs to help. I went and woke up Mrs E to tell her she needed to take over as I was not able to talk myself down. (Interesting side note: I’ve been told that a young US Aunty E would, when she got in a tantrum, tell people to “Calm me down, calm me down”).
This was the worst moment I had experienced during these first four weeks, it was the moment when I was seriously contemplating never having any more children, when I thought I could never love this ball of my DNA. Then a strange thing happened, I told this story to other people and they almost certainly had the same thing happen to them. It seems everyone had that moment where events conspired to create a perfect storm of tiredness and stress that either sends you to Angerville or Depresston.
It was at this point I realised that I could do this, I felt like a failure but it was an important part of the journey that I needed to take. When I look at how much she has changed in four weeks I can look back on that dark night as a blip. I don’t want to tell new and prospective parents that it gets better because at the time it feels like an empty promise.
All I will say is that if you have those around you who can provide support then lean on them heavily, at times they will need to completely hold you. It’s okay to get angry, because it was at the point that I was giving the sofa a good thrashing that I also realised that I could never do this to my child, although I was so livid that I lost control there was still a flicker in my brain that told me more than anything I would not hurt her.
The other time I got really angry was when I tossed a three piece sofa across the room because A.C. Milan lost in the Semi Final of the Champions League…or threw a bookcase down over a game