• J Mess


I can't do "cry it out," because the other person crying will be me.

My motto for 2018 is “I’m doing the best I can.” That’s literally all I can do. It’s not meant to be a cop out, an excuse, or a cry for help. It’s not a way of seeking sympathy. It’s just a fact. I’ve never done this whole mommying thing before and although I thought I wasn’t doing a half bad job all things considered, it seemed every time we went to the pediatrician’s office, I got scolded.

The first time was at his 2 month visit. The offense? Sleeping in the Rock n Play. We had a bassinet, but after one night of mind-numbing, ear-piercing, wailing during which even coming within 100 feet of the bassinet was a crime punishable by life-long deafness, we decided to just let him sleep where he liked to sleep. When the doctor asked me where he was sleeping, I paused and considered lying. I knew this was going to get me in trouble, but I also knew so many friends who’d done the same thing. As the words came out of my mouth, she turned toward me, and all I could picture was my fat postpartum ass walking naked through the halls of the office while all the doctors, nurses, office staff, and other parents yelled “SHAME,” “SHAME.”

Let's hope Nathan is neither a Tommen or a Joffrey.

At the 5 month visit I waited patiently for whatever it was I wasn’t doing correctly. He’d gained some weight. Ear infection cleared up. Cooing and happy as a clam. But then the doctor asked if he was sleeping through the night. She asked it so matter-of-factly like of course my answer would be a resounding YES MA’AM! When I said no, not yet, she looked at me like I was a huge disappointment. I’d just gotten past the stigma of having a “too skinny” child (or maybe we were not quite past that, since when she walked in she called him a “petite flower”) and now he was also a petite sleeper. My instructions were to LET HIM CRY IT OUT.

I can't let him cry. It’s just cruel. To everyone. Especially my ears. And the cat, who acts like it's an air raid, bolts awake and then bolts away. The sound of my baby crying is sheer torture. Forget waterboarding or solitary confinement. If you want to get me to do something just make me listen to that racket and I will break. I will do anything to make it stop. Anything. When they locked us in the basement of the sorority house while pledging during hell week, they obviously didn’t realize that although Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping” and “I’m Blue” are really annoying songs to be forced to listen to on repeat, the melodious sounds of babies crying will make you want to check into a mental hospital. Voluntarily.

She drinks a whiskey drink. She drinks a vodka drink. Da ba dee da ba daa. Waaah Waaaaaah Waaah.

From what I’ve read, it seemed babies usually could only cry a maximum of 15 minutes before they tired themselves out. 15 excruciating, nails on a chalkboard, claw both your eyes out minutes that feel more like 15 hours. The first time we decided to try this horrific method we were left with no choice. He had a clean diaper, was fully fed and burped and wanted for nothing. He was just overtired and had worked himself into a tither. We went downstairs and stared at the clock praying for time to go faster or for 2 pairs of noise cancelling headphones. After 9 awful minutes, it stopped. We were like the people you see on tv coming out of their crushed homes after an earthquake. Staring at each other wide-eyed, walking slowly and gingerly around to survey the damage to our mental health and await any aftershocks of what could only be described as a Nathanal disaster…


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