She is kicking my ass.
At eight months old, she is one tough little chick. And unpleasant to say the least.
Her birth was uneventful. Routine, but long awaited and much anticipated, as I knew she was the last. Everyone commented on how quietly she observed her surroundings. Falling in and out of sleep, easily convincing us that her disposition was nothing if not calm and gentle.
She really had us going.
First came colic. Is colic German for "hell"? I should think so. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced, this constant wailing, thrashing, needing something that I couldn't decipher. The boys were easy, pieces of cake compared to this pink faced, screaming little girl. Was I doing something wrong? Surely not. I don't claim to be an expert, but I had done this twice before. The books, magazines, and previous survivors of the colic said she'd peter out by 3 months. She did, sort of. She no longer screamed for five hour stretches, she just fussed and whined and arched her back in defiance every evening around supper.
Another aspect of her charming personality is her refusal to be held by anyone but me. She tolerates it for about 15 seconds before twisting her chubby little body into positions reserved for contortionists, trying to find me. And when she does spot me, or hear me, or just thinks I am near, she screams into the ear of the unfortunate soul who was just trying to absorb some of her baby cuteness. She hollers, cries big fat alligator tears, and turns blue in the face until she is returned to her mama's arms. It was only just recently that she took a liking to her daddy and even now, if in the right mood, she refuses his embrace and demands me.
All of this wears me thin. I long for a break. Just one evening, or one meal, or one hour. But when I do get it, the guilt takes over. Not guilt for leaving her, but guilt for what I am putting her caregiver through. I wish it was easier to just say, oh it's only a few hours, they will be fine. But I can't. Maybe it's manners or my conscience taking over. I feel horrible about leaving my screaming, tantruming, never back down baby with anyone besides her father. Let's face it, he deserves it, but no one else does.
Through all this I haven't lost it. I haven't succumbed to post-partum depression. I still have all my hair and most of my senses. I've actually managed to smile while patting her back and laying with her for hours at a time until she falls asleep. The times that control slipped through my hands, I just cried. Only for a bit and I was better. Actually she made me better. All I have to do when she has almost got the best of me is think about her some more.
Like her belly. It is oh, oh so soft. And her hair, spun gold. She smells like fresh laundry and lavender shampoo and baby. Her toes, the way they wiggle and how cute they look when they're painted a shocking shade of red. The funny noise she makes after she's eaten a spoonful of cereal. Every single bite, she makes a noise in the back of her throat. It never fails. How easy it is to make her giggle when she is in the mood. Snuff at her neck, tickle her ribs, kiss her nose and she erupts into a fit of laughter. When she reaches out and grabs a fistful of hair in her pudgy little starfish hands, I don't dodge her, because she is indulged in every way. Spoiled rotten beyond belief. My only daughter. The balance to my two sons.