Is there anything more likely to force humility upon you than parenthood? Let me tell you- you can walk around this earth for decades, holding your head high, feeling good. You work out. You’re cracking jokes around the office. Maybe you’re even rich or famous. You get invited to cool parties and gosh darnit, people really seem to respect you.
Then you have a baby. A baby who couldn’t care less about your ‘jokes’ or your ‘expensive jeans’ or your ‘sex life.’ That baby wants what she wants when she wants it, and guess what? You’re gonna give it to her. Her little noggin doesn’t comprehend reasoning yet, and let’s be honest, it’s not like you can discipline an infant anyways. I mean, beyond crying your own desperate tears as your kiss their screaming bright red face, you’re sort of out of luck.
And that screaming bright red face is exactly where Sam and I found ourselves when we arrived in the state of Washington this week. We came to visit Sam’s parents and to introduce our girl to some extended family. Clara hates her car seat, of course, which meant I rode the entire way scrunched in the back seat of our jetta on poorly designed German leather seats (das auto? more like das learn about ergonomics) in order to keep her happy and full of cheer. This may or may not have involved small skits involving her baby owl and baby duck.
So after six hours of driving, five of which (by the mercy of God) Clara slept through, we pulled up to the Horney house and settled in for a long weekend of snuggling and good, good Mama Horney food. Then our baby started crying.
I’d like to interject here with an apology to anyone I have ever not believed when they said things about their babies like, “I swear she/he isn’t usually like this.” For the eyerolls, disbelief and secret mocking, I sincerely apologize. I am sorry.
Because honestly, my baby is not normally like this. Go ahead and roll your eyes, I deserve it, but she isn’t. At least, I thought she wasn’t. You start to doubt your own memory and cognitive abilities around hour 3 of the crying, and I began to wonder whether or not our baby had ever NOT cried. Had I just imagined all those happy times together? Did she, in fact…despise me?
We didn’t know why she was crying. We tried all of our little tricks and nothing worked for more than a few minutes at a time. And is there ANYTHING as COMPLETELY stressful as your baby crying in front of other people? You feel like an idiot. Like, it’s your baby. Get it together. You must have no idea what you’re doing, huh? Then you add a more experienced mom in the mix- say, your mother in law who raised five of her own kids – and suddenly you want to crawl into your suitcase and come out when your daughter is 18 years old, because she’d be better off with someone else raising her anyways.
The heart-melting sadness of our 9.5 lbs of adorable torture continued for almost 24 hours. Then, suddenly, it stopped.
She smiled again. She cooed and talked to us. She ate without crying. The clouds opened up and the sun shone into our weary wesuckatparentingpleasegetusoutofhere souls.
Turns out, we’re gonna have some bad days with this kid. Days when we feel incompetent. Tired. Useless. But great news! You ready?
It won’t go on forever.
She will have a better day. We will all wake up and love each other again. And whether she’s “not usually like this” really doesn’t matter. Today matters, and doing the best we know how right this minute matters. Does she know she’s loved? Do we know we love each other?
Ok then. Success.
The many faces of Clara Bear: life with our firecracker
and she’s never ever sorry…