Nobody Tells You
June 06, 2006
I lost my temper on Friday.
I yanked Noah's arm and yelled at him.
It took everything I had in me not to shake him. To grab his baby-thin shoulders and shake him until he started behaving like a reasonable fucking person. A person who wouldn't twist over on the diaper table and try to dive-bomb headfirst off the side. A person who wouldn't use my hair as a jungle gym. A person who would take a goddamned nap. And a person who kept his hands out of his own waste.
I didn't shake him. I put him in his crib and fled the room.
I was shaking like a leaf.
I tried counting to 10, but Noah was screaming. I went into the bathroom and turned the water on full blast. I could still hear him.
I ended up in my closet, upstairs. I counted to 50. I threw a pair of shoes at the wall.
And I've never felt so alienated and cut off in my entire life. I had no one to call -- at least not anyone who could actually show up within a reasonable amount of time to help me. And there was no one -- not my mother, not even Jason -- that I was willing to call and say what I was feeling out loud.
"Hello, I'm fighting an irresistable urge to backhand my 8-month-old child across the face. Could you please come stop me from doing that?"
No. That was NOT OKAY. That was BAD. That was ALERT SOCIAL SERVICES, YOU DON'T DESERVE A CHILD YOU FUCKING FAILURE BAD.
The thing is, it was totally normal. But how do you know that if nobody tells you?
So I'm telling you.
I lost my temper. It happens.
I went back into Noah's room and pulled him out of his crib. His eyes were damp as he reached out for me. I kissed him and said I was very sorry for yelling. He kicked me in the c-section scar. Jason called and said he was on his way home.
I laid down inside the play yard and amused Noah with some made-up songs (here we go 'round the big baby jail, banging with our tin cups, here we go 'round the big baby jail, OOPS, dropped the so-ap.) until Jason arrived. I climbed out and told him I needed 10 minutes upstairs.
He started to ask something. "10 minutes." I interrupted.
I went upstairs and was asleep within five.
Everything was better when I woke up.