Work In Progress
I remember the events of that night like I remember the date of my birth. That night, at 2.00am, I had half a mind to strap my two-week old baby into the infant car seat. I wanted to drive to Ozone Bar and Lounge at Valley Arcade. I bet you already have your jaw on the floor, wondering what kind of disturbed mother tags along their two-week old baby to the disco, worse still, at 2.00am. It’s not that I had missed shaking a leg and was about to do it at any cost. That’s not it. I had a more deranged plan.
The baby was unrelenting in her crying and had been at it from 11.00 pm for three hours non-stop. I had tried all the tricks in the book, from having her lie on her tummy flat on my laps, to rocking her back and forth on the baby swing, to holding her while standing in a stationary position with my back against the wall and my hands stretched out, like I was giving her out as an offering to the gods. The last was advice I received from a friend who swore it worked. Except that it didn’t and only left me with sore arms. I was out of my depths. I slid down the wall and sat on the floor, the crying baby still in my arms. Why was I going through this alone? Why was the mister not here to put his parenting skills (or lack thereof), to test?
He was out for a night of fun with his friends. We had spoken on chat severally and he asked after us and I would tell him that the baby was crying relentlessly. His advice? “Just use your boob to calm her down.” He typed. “You got this sweetheart.” I wanted him to offer to come home and help but he didn’t. I resented him for that, and so I decided to punish him. I was going to drive to Ozone which was about three minutes away from home and hand him the baby with the words “I’m not about to cut your night short. Just have the child and if you so wish you can go back in there and continue with your merry and you guys can come back in the morning. I just desperately want to catch a few winks.”
It was 2.00am, an hour when any DJ worth his salt unleashes his best mix to dissuade any people of sound mind from going home. At this time, the crowd is typically in a frenzy, most of the revellers dancing and the rest sipping from their glasses and toasting to longer happier lives. I bet the mister was dancing to his one move, the salsa dance which he applies to all genres of music, be it Bongo, R&B or Reggae. I bet he was cracking hard at some lame joke and frolicking with his friends. I wanted to find him and pass on the baton. This one night of frustration, invalidated all the other days and nights when he had been home and lent a helping hand. From washing the baby, to changing the diaper. Heck he had helped birth this baby. But all that did not count at that moment of madness.
Exhausted from placating the baby, I decided to take a shower before executing my plan. I deposited the baby in her cot then walked to the bathroom. I shut the door to block off her piercing shrieks then ran the shower. I got rid of my milk stained T-shirt and my black chilling shorts and stood underneath the shower to the relief of the spray of water soothing my worn out back. It was comforting to say the least. I lost track of time and only jolted to reality when dark thoughts started creeping in my mind.
“What if the baby had choked on its saliva?”
I jumped out of the shower and without turning it off, ran towards the bathroom door and yanked it open. Silence filled my bedroom, like a grave yard at 3.00am. The bedside clock actually read 3.00am. I had been in the shower for close to an hour. I ran to the baby cot and almost passed out at the sight of its emptiness, save for the bedding and a pink fluffy teddy bear. The baby was missing. I looked under the cot thinking that she had perhaps miraculously stood up and jumped off the cot but nothing.
With water still dripping off my wet body, I ran to the sitting room to get my phone. To my shock, the mister was seated on the couch. He was leaning forward and making some funny sounds. On his laps was the baby who was staring at him in amusement. In the background was sounds of Dipsy and Laala from the Teletubbies show that was playing on the TV mounted on the wall. He lifted his face and stared at me, then started giggling.
“Are you not freezing, or is this what they call freezing and shinning?” He joshed.
I sighed then turned around to the bedroom, dried myself up and slid into my PJ’s. I then slid under my linen sheets and thought about the deranged plan I was about to execute an hour ago, before drifting off into the sleep that I desperately craved. I was grateful that my plan did not come to fruition. Either the mister sensed my frustration from the one word responses on chat, or the music and conversations at Ozone Bar became prosaic and he had to come home. Whatever it was, he saved me from trending on social media on that fateful Sunday morning.
Over time, I have learnt that life is much easier if I state my needs and expectations to the people I interact with, be it the mister, my boss, the nanny or even my kids. Had I insisted that I needed him to come home and help, he definitely would have done it. There have been many other instances where my ego stopped me from asking for help but inevitably, I was the one that suffered. This is a note to all mothers, new and old. Asking for help doesn’t mean failure. And don’t just assume they will read your mind, state your needs.
Sometimes the obvious is only obvious to you.
But this does not mean I have fully grasped the art of communication. I am still work in progress.
The things colicky babies can make you do. I almost lost my mind going through those sleepless nights. I would step away from my crying baby for a moment to keep myself from doing something stupid. Parenting really does require a village.
We thank God for our support systems Carol.
It takes a village in deed Carol!
Am not a mother yet, but this was so insightful, and the mister took the baby without interrupting your shower, that’s really sweet. I love how you keep things raw.
I try, Wangeci 🙂
Needed this so so much. My son is out of his infancy. Trying to be a toddler. But I find the insecurity of asking for help has sort of stayed with me into his 1.5 year milestone. My mother said something to me today.
There is no condemnation. Not from her or from God…that made me cry but it hit it’s mark
Your mom is wise! Amen to that Kim.
My grand mother did that back in her days , she walked in to the club gave mister the baby and proceed to the dance floor. She was tired and hungry and mister had not been home for awhile.
Your grandma is the real deal, waah!
I don’t think your deranged plan was funny… ????
I totally get you though. I had a fussy baby myself
Oh wow! This is such a timely read. I’ve struggled with asking for help…I still do most times. One thing pregnancy has taught me is I can’t do everything by myself, at times the body just refuses to cooperate, so I’ve had to learn to ask for help, still learning…
It takes time, I am still learning as well Eve.