Saturday, April 19, 2008
And next, He created Erin.
Erin made me a mother all over again on August 27, 1999. Ahhh, yes... the little girl I'd always dreamed of. The one who would cuddle with me endlessly, whisper secrets in my ear, dance through fields of daisies.... the one made of sugar and spice and everything nice. Yes, that one. Riiight.
Okay, so I suppose at actual birth, she was sweet and sugary and maybe even had a touch of cinnamon on top. I'll give her that. But in the months that followed? Eh, not so much.
If a child can have an attitude in infancy, Erin did. I'll never forget the first few weeks of her life--much like a person wouldn't forget something like boot camp. Or a really bad sprained ankle. Or the Hantavirus.
Okay, okay.... so it wasn't that bad. But close. I remember one day in particular when she was 5 weeks old, and had been awake since (honestly) 2:00pm. It was now 2:00am and the screaming was incessant. And that was just mine.
I loaded her into the car and made the trip into town. Surely the drive would help knock her out, right? Surely! Especially since the rocking, walking, singing, caressing, massaging, rocking, walking, singing, caressing, and more massaging hadn't worked. Nor had the begging and pleading. (What's up with not being able to reason with infants, anyway? What kind of sick joke is that?)
But NO. She cried, and I cried harder, for a good hour's worth of driving around. We got home, and she promptly fell asleep on her 3rd birthday. Okay, I kid. Barely.
At her six week check-up, I asked the doctor what exactly was going on and did she think I could trade her in for a newer model? She said, "Have you tried just putting her down?" No, dimwit, that never occurred to me. Like, DUH. "Uh, why, yes... I have," I replied. She explained that she meant putting her down in that enormous bed-like structure we call a crib. You know, the thing that makes infants feel alone and helpless and neglected, rather than safe and snug and secure. I told her no--I had put her down in her bassinet, in her car seat, in her swing--but never in that gigantic C R I B . Only a CPS-worthy mother would do something so horrifying, right?
She suggested Erin might have the opposite need of most infants: The need to be left the hell alone. Alrighty then! Anything was worth a try. At that point, if she'd told me to try strapping her to a camel in the middle of the Sahara Desert, my ass would've been putting her on the first plane to Northern Africa. Perhaps using a one-way ticket.
To make a long story longer, the crib was exactly the magic formula for Little Miss Insomniac. Damned if she didn't sleep twelve hours straight that first night! And, at that point, it became clear that Little Miss Insomniac was, in fact, actually Little Miss Independent who didn't need to be swaddled, cuddled, fussed over or held.