I have always thought of myself as someone who maintains an even keel. Calm to the point of maddening the excitables around me. Relaxed so that I might sleep through a rock concert. The flip side is that I have often wondered where my passion is. If I buried it, lost it or simply never had any.
As I continue to parent my two children every day the best I can, I am realizing that I must have buried my passionate, angry, Italian side. It is all coming out now. What exists of my former well-buffered self is a damp popsicle stick, licked too long to get the last of the orange flavour out of the wood, just about to splinter. Down to my brass tacks I am sharp, nasty, short tempered and ill-humoured. More so than usual.
I spoke before, I think, maybe? about 30 minutes of sleep being the only thing keeping me from complete meltdown. We finally found a system that worked; Fresco wakes up at 5:30, SA plays with him until 6:20, I get up and take over – and then Fresco started waking up at 5. Neither me nor SA wants to get up at 5 am. That 30 minutes is crucial. It’s the difference between a good and an awful day. We have no resources left to say “Oh it’s just one day; let’s make the best of it and eat cookies and watch too much TV.” No, we crossed that bridge three months ago and now it’s collapsed into the river and we are on the other side with a cup of bad coffee between us, up to our eyeballs in grudge.
Insult and injury had a terrible collision this morning when Fresco decided 5 am wasn’t early enough and woke up at FOUR FUCKING THIRTY. That, my friends, is not even morning. 4:30 am is not a time of day when anyone should be awake. When I answered the phones all night at the crisis centre, 4:30 am was when they finally quieted down, all the mentally ill and the addicts and the lonely in the city had finally gone to sleep. I guess it’s a good thing babies can’t use telephones.
Anyway, at 4:30 in the morning and then at 5 when I am rocking the baby still rocking the baby still rocking the baby who is almost tantalizingly asleep but not quite just a few more minutes and then a few more minutes and then at 5:20 when I finally put him down and he wakes INSTANTLY well actually I don’t know what time it is because I am in the dark but it feels like I’ve been in there a long time and it feels like I might never leave there and it feels desperate and horrible and endless and stupid, I suddenly realize that my anger and frustration and bury-able feelings are suddenly free of the weight that has been holding them down for 30 years and they are happy to come to the surface, to my mouth and my eyes and the back of my head that I can feel start to tingle and I guess that it is a good thing, to have anger out in the world where you can see it, shake its hand, give it a cookie, but it doesn’t feel good, it feels horrible to go from loving this baby so much to hating him in a split second and I won’t hurt him, don’t worry, and I won’t hurt myself, except from the pillow I use to choke my screams back because I wouldn’t want to wake Trombone too and in the clear light of day I can’t remember the feelings very clearly, I can’t imagine why I would need to be such a drama queen about it but in the moment, that anger will not be denied.
This was going to be about this child, Fresco, and how he is different from my other. He inspires rage and adoration in a heartbeat. He has a chortle. It sounds like he is choking on a cigar. Not just the smoke; the whole thing. Whenever I hear it I think he is choking on something but then I see he is just laughing. It is his surprised-to-be-delighted laugh. He does it when you pop up from behind something or when Trombone tickles him or when he sees a baby his size who makes the same noise. He was playing a game with me today, a real game, where he would make a move for the wall outlet to unplug my computer and I would go after him and say no. After the third time, he paused right before getting to the wall, looked right at me and made his chortle noise.
How can you not absolutely adore that? A 9 month old with a sense of humour, who lays his head on my shoulder when he is tired and claps his hands and says “yay” when other people do. A bright-eyed, beautiful boy. He is breaking me. They are breaking me. But I think it is mostly in a good way. I think that when I am done being broken, my pieces will go back together in a pleasing configuration.
And maybe some day he will be a hot shot CIA agent and save the world from terrorism using his patented “I am very cute / I am keeping you awake / I am pinching your windpipe” technique. I guess that would be the bright side?