How do you cope with the crying?

I don’t mean ‘how do you make it stop?’; i mean how do you cope with your own feelings aroused by the baby’s crying?
Leo has had a rough few days, with his routines all out. He’s been crying for no apparent reason, utterly inconsolable. Going through the list (hungry? wet nappy? Overstimulated?) yields nothing. Hugs and whispers fail, as does swaddled silence.
The scary thing was how this made me feel. As started to crescendo yet again, i was banging my head on the edge of the cot, thinking ‘what the hell is it?’ I think this is the unspoken secret of parenthood. Everyone says you’ll feel frustrated at times, but no-one mentions that the frustration is directed towards the little one, the least appropriate target.
It cuts to the heart of what I am now – i am a parent, yet i am failing to parent. I should understand, but i don’t. At the start, I tried to act with method, with logic. Then that was abandoned – if i’d read somewhere that wrapping rosary beads round his feet could help, i would have tried it.
Then, I started to think it might be an emotional, contact thing, and made more of talking and touching him – and when that didn’t work i felt rejected and frankly humiliated for trying. This little creature was wilfully ignoring me – spurning my attempts at helping. It was Leo’s own fault he was crying.
What skewed ‘logic’. The target for anger and frustration became the baby, not myself. The idea that it was no-one’s fault – just a thing that was happening for reasons i couldn’t understand – never occured to me.
By now i was on the verge of tears. Wondering how i could possibly go back to work and leave Claire on her own with this trauma. And in another part of me, thinking ‘how do single mums do this – and every day?’ Adding insult to injury, this bout had only gone on for about 40 minutes yet I know many other people who continue coping with their screaming baby for hours. How rubbish am I that i start to crack after less than one?
Then he just stopped, and fell asleep for 2 hours.

Visiting Kensington and Chelsea

We took Leo to the Museum and to be registered today. Again, he slept through most of it, only waking for a little feed now and again. It was nice to show him off to people – many said what a lovely baby he was, but i am starting to think that everyone says that about every baby.
We saw a different side of parenting today too – Gordon’s son got his GSCE results, and Gordon was beaming with pride at how well he did. I was thinking what it is going to be like when Leo does well at something – the pride we will feel – and conversely how will will feel when he doesn’t do so well? Obviously we will still love him, but there must be other feelings as well. Time.
Registry office was great – the first time Leo Oliver was written on an official piece of paper. They’ve got a good scam though – for free you get a mini-certificate, which will get you the child benefit. But you have to pay 3.50 to get a full ‘certified copy’ which is needed for passports etc. That’s just petty.
Anyway, it was a long day and again we worry that Leo slept too much. But it is now 2200 and he’s asleep so hopefully we’ll be fine. I suppose that babies do regulate the amount of sleep they need/have and I shouldn’t worry so much.

Week 3 – developing a real personality

I’m back up to date with the blog now, at the end of week three. He is now very long, and has a real personality. He’s fussy about his comfort, and often has a bizzarely suspicious look in his eye.
He doesn’t like being suddenly moved into a car seat or buggy, but once in them he’s fine.
At other times he is calm and quiet as a lamb. He doesn’t seem to mind being picked up or held by all manner of different people, for instance.

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Friends and family – Leo’s welcome

Both Claire and I were overwhelmed by the reactions of our friends and family to Leo’s arrival. We genuinely had no idea that there were so many people who would be interested. We thought we might get a few cards, maybe a gift or two, but we were showered with flowers, cards (60 and counting) and an incredible number of gifts.

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7 August – my birthday

He’s six days old, and i turn 31. It’s very weird, but i had never thought about what a birthday actually meant. It’s obvious now, but i couldn’t see before that it would be a day for my parents to celebrate, as much as ( if not more than) for me to enjoy. I hadn’t really connected my celebration of a day called ‘birthday’ with the fact that my mum gave birth to me on that date in 1973. Also very strange now to think how i had never understood what it means to be a parent – the strength of the feelings, the confusion, the mystery and joy of it all. And the feelings of a long future ahead – with no idea what it might contain.

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