Last week I had a parent Freak Out over Liza, and had to leave her crying in her crib.
The Freak Out is one of those secrets of parenthood that most parents don’t talk about. It is nearly guaranteed that, at some point when your kid is still a baby, you will lose it and be unable to cope with them. They’ll have been crying and crying, tears streaking their face, and you’ll be running on very little sleep. Whatever ability to cope you once had boiled away over the previous hour. You look at your kid and all you can see is a package of obligations that you can’t meet. You hate your child. You hate yourself.
Liza slept very poorly during our Christmas travels. She had a series of colds culminating with an ear infection. A lot of times, the only way she would sleep was draped across one of us. She’s also developed a habit of flailing when you rock her to sleep. You hold her lengthwise across you, head at one arm and feet at the other, and her left hand smacks you in the face and neck.
That one night last week, we’d been dealing with Liza for hours. We would get her to sleep, put her in the crib, and she’d wake up and start crying. I tried to rock her and calm her down when she slammed her forearm into my throat, choking me.
That was it. I dumped her in her crib and stormed back to bed, telling Misty, “I can’t look at her. I can’t deal with her.”
When you’re a parent, not only do you get a subscription to Guilt Magazine, but also you get to write articles for it. A good Freak Out is worth a three-part article.
Liza is much better now. Antibiotics are taking care of her ear infection, and Misty and I are trying a new sleep regimen that’s helping all of us. With luck, I’m done with Freak Outs for a bit.