11th July 2020: Cry Baby Cry

11th July 2020: Cry Baby Cry

Dear Edith,

Overall, you’re a very laid-back and happy baby. I joked before you were born that I’d had such an awful pregnancy I wanted a chilled out baby to compensate, and I really couldn’t have been more lucky. You only cry when you’re hungry, up until a couple of nights ago you slept from 10pm until 7 or 8 in the morning, and you never stop smiling.

On Wednesday we took you to get your 12 week vaccinations. Last time I was prepared for days of awfulness, for fever and crying and general malaise. I was armed with infant Calpol and a stiff upper lip.

I needn’t have worried. After the initial screaming fit when you were injected, we dosed you with Calpol every four hours and you were completely fine. I couldn’t believe my luck.

Filled with confidence, I breezed into the twelve week vaccinations to discover that you were getting a pneumococcal one this time, not meningococcal. Apparently it’s only the latter that causes fevers and general unwellness. “Magic,” said I, holding on to your chunky little thigh as you screamed the place down. When we got home I launched the Calpol back into the cupboard and we went about our business as usual.

I’m starting to think I might need it instead.

The past 48 hours have been so uncharacteristically unsettled I’m starting to wonder if the fae folk have swapped you. Your crying has gone from a slightly pissed-off sounding yell to a proper red-in-the-face scream that sounds increasingly hoarse and descends into choked sobbing. We’ve tried bottles, dummies, Calpol, putting you in clothes, putting you back into pyjamas, singing, praying to the Old Gods and assorted blankets. The only times you seem to stop howling are when you exhaust yourself and fall asleep, or when I hold you and pace around the living room over and over and over again, but I’m exhausted and I can’t do it forever.

You’ve gone from sleeping all night to waking up anywhere between one and three times, sometimes for a bottle and a nappy change but sometimes you just fall back asleep against my shoulder. A couple of times I’ve taken you into the bed and let you crash out on top of me, and while usually you do go to sleep like that it means I’ve got to watch you constantly.

I hate seeing you cry. I hate hearing you sound so distressed and not knowing exactly what’s bothering you. I hate that the moment I put you down to get a drink or have a rest you scream like I’ve abandoned you. I feel like a horrible mother. I worry that I’m doing you some psychological damage when I leave you bawling on your Dad’s knee while I put a washing on. Am I ridiculous? Probably, but lockdown is hard and exhaustion is getting to me.

You woke up from a nap this evening and greeted me with a big gummy smile that almost turned into a laugh, so I hope whatever’s ailing you is past. But I’ll keep the Calpol out, just in case.