In my household as a child, I grew up feeling as though my needs/feelings/gushy crap were generally unimportant. When it’s a choice between Becky who has the stomach flu at age 6 and my mother who was threatening suicide, you can guess whose needs were made more important. It wasn’t always splendid as you may imagine and it has left me with a fairly large chip on my shoulder about such things. Overarchingly, I tend to be fairly sensitive about people negating my feelings on a particular matter but I also attempt to not play the Pain Olymics with other people. Your bad day MAY be worse than mine, and I’d be the first to admit it.
Ben had colic as a baby, and I admit that it was pretty severe. I can honestly say that it impacted our bonding while he was younger as well as causing me tremendous guilt for many years. What was I doing wrong? Why didn’t my baby love me? It’s irrational, I’m aware, but you can’t help but feel rejected when your cute little infant screams most hours of the day and you cannot do a damn thing to make it better.
I don’t have a lot of mommy friends who have kids around the same age as mine, so I didn’t have a lot of input on the subject of colic save from what my mother and/or Dr. Spock had to say about the matter. (Even now, I’m not sure any of my mommy friends had kids with colic. Maybe karma is paying me back for stealing that package that was delivered at Christmas time to the wrong house, I don’t know.)
Colic sucks and it’s hard and I hated every moment of it. Especially because I had had colic as a child myself, and my mother suffered tremendous guilt about it, even 20 years later. So much so that when I decided to wean Ben (hahaha, like he EVER latched on or breastfed), she began buying formula designed for premature babies (which Ben was not), in an effort I suppose to assuage her guilt about my colic. It’s basically already digested. AND it costs double what normal formula costs. Luckily for me, a lactation specialist intervened and convinced my mother that there was absolutely no need for this formula. Period.
Over and over I had to listen to my mother go on and on and on and on and on about what a horrible colicky baby I was, to the point where it basically negated whatever I was feeling. Sample conversation: Me: “Man, he is SO COLICKY and I WANT TO DIE.” Her: “I don’t know what YOU are complaining about! YOU WERE SO MUCH WORSE!”
Even now, 5 years later, she is still convinced that Ben was a much easier baby. Maybe he is, I have no idea (this affected me so much that I had to clear it with Nat several months ago and his answer was yes, Ben was a really hard colicky baby). I wasn’t around to take inventory over which was harder, myself or my son. All that I can say is that I am sick to death of having my own personal feelings pushed aside in favor of how much harder her life is. Yes, I am aware that it is partially my problem with my mother, a subject for another blog post (or prolly not)…or I was until Alex was born.
Alex, God love him, is not colicky, not one ickle bit. He had his own difficulties, just like newborns often have (like trying on a daily basis to crawl back inside of me), but he was never colicky.
My mother-in-law, I was aware pre-Alex, had had a colicky baby as well: my brother-in-law. When she’d call or stop by, we’d mention the difficulties we were facing with Alex (or show her, as the case may be) she would spend a good portion of her visit/call trying to convince either of us that Alex was just a colicky baby. Dave actually ordered some crappy Colic Be Gone or something snake oilish which didn’t work (BECAUSE HE DOES NOT HAVE COLIC) and stained the bejeesus out of everything it came into contact with.
To this day, whenever I see her, she tells me the same stories over and over about how colicky her first baby was. When I mention that Ben, too, was extremely colicky, it is brushed aside THE EXACT SAME WAY MY MOTHER DOES IT.
I guess I just don’t get it. I’m aware of the Mommy Wars (ala my baby is SO much better and more advanced and awesomer than yours could ever be) and the Pain Olympics (ala my life is harder than yours will ever be) but is it really so hard to admit that someone else both may have experienced a similar problem AND give them a little more empathy and a little less brush off (especially considering that these colicky babies that I constantly have to hear about are 27 and 34, respectively)?
Colic sucks, newborns mostly suck, babies are hard, kids are hard too, and I think it would be just a teeny-weeny bit easier if mothers (and non-mothers) just acknowledged the plight of other people, or in this case got off the damn cross because we newbies might need the wood, too.
For those of you keeping track at home, I may have set a new record for dumbest injuries sustained:
It appears that I have actually broken my toe while making a peanut butter sandwich.
That’s right, a peanut butter sandwich.
And not one for some cancer ridden child in a building that’s burning down, either. Just one for my son’s lunch. For tomorrow.
I cannot believe they let people like me breed.
On the way home the other day, Daver mentioned that he’d been posting on his “Twitter,” which sounded like he had yet another Internet Girlfriend to add to his collection. My knowledge about current stuff -n- things has always been lackluster at best, especially considering I only recently found out about this thing called “MySpace.” Come to think of it, I was amazed that this house actually had a microwave AND a dishwasher to boot!!
He explained that it was something you can post little bits of things here and there, kind of like a mini-blog. When I stopped laughing long enough to catch my breath, I promptly began laughing again.
Here’s the thing: I’d always found blogs to be incredibly self indulgent (keep in mind I have 2…what does that say about me?), useless, and boring, full of ramblings about what the owner thought about kittens and poodles and the like (although to be completely fair, I have found a TON of interesting blogs in the past couple months). Mushroom Printing was started as kind of an anti-blog blog, and I found I rather enjoyed it. We only posted when we actually had something either semi-interesting or semi-coherant to say (some may argue that this is actually never), and I’m pretty sure we never discussed at any length what we ate for lunch (unless there was a pube in it or something).
To me, posting about the minutae of your day sounds stupid and boring, only interesting if you were a teenager or an international man of mystery. If possible, this is MORE self indulgent than a blog. I’ll give you an example by writing what my day was like today, ala Twitter:
*Oh my God, I’m tired. WHY does Alex insist on waking up at 6:30? OHMYGOD did he pee a lot last night. AAAHHH! Why does he wait until I open the diaper to pee on me? Asshole.
*Ooooh. I’m hungry and my nipples hurt. YAY! I can eat a bagel now! I like bagels. I gotta hide these from Ben, or he’ll eat them all. DAMN, he spied my bagel and now he wants one. Guess I should’ve waited.
*Wow, the Internet is boring. WHY isn’t it interesting yet? OH MAN I GOT TO PEEEEEEE!
*That was a GOOOOOD pee. I feel SOOOOO much better now.
*Yum, bagels are gooooooooood. I’ve got to start Weight Watchers today. I wonder how many points are in this delicious bagel…OOOHHH I wonder how many are in a Monte Cristo sandwich. I’ve heard those are terrible for you, but ew, they sound nasty. Dave probably likes them.
*Am I really old enough to have a first grader? Damn, I’m old. But HAHAHAHA Dave is older. I should remind him of that.
*Hmmm…Dave sounds crabby. I guess he didn’t want to hear from me about how old he is at 8:16 am. I wonder why…?
*HOLY CRAP I’M THIRSTY! I need a Diet Coke STAT.
*That’s much better. I freaking love Diet Coke. I wonder if it’s addicting. It must be.
*NOOOO! Alex wants to eat again. The kid breastfeeds at least every hour. I guess it’s time to start the formula.
*OHMYGOD I have to PEE again. JESUS H CHRIST I GOTTA GOOOOOO NOW!
*Aaaahhhh. Better. I peed for like 20 minutes.
*Wow, the Internet is still boring. I wish people did cool stuff. And post on their blogs.
*Oh shit, soccer practice is tonight. So is Parent Night. Hahahaha, Dave has to go to Parent Night. I should remind him of that.
*Wowzers, he sounds cranky. I wonder why he’s cranky now? I didn’t mention how OLD he is, hahahahaha. Maybe it’s arthritis…CAUSE OLD PEOPLE HAVE IT!! HAHAHAHAHA. I should ask him if he has arthritis. And hemmorhoids.
*Man, he is UNHAPPY to talk to me. I wonder if he’s having a bad day.
*The basement smells like pee. It’s probably cat pee. Sometimes, I hate the cats.
*There are too many socks for me to sort. I hate sorting socks. Dave has this weird hangup about sorted socks. He got that from his mother. SHE is anal about sorted socks. I bet she doesn’t like it that my socks never match. Ever.
*Lunch is good. I like lunch. I had an egg white omelette and an english muffin and an apple. I wonder how many points are in that.
*WOW HOLY CRAP IS MCDONALDS BAD FOR YOU. LOOKIT ALL THOSE POINTS!!! I should tell Dave to not eat McDonalds anymore.
*Hmmm…he’s not answering his phone. I guess I should call back.
*Now it sounds like he answered but then the phone hung up. I should call back to make sure that he’s okay.
*Voicemail again. He must be busy. I’ll send him an email.
*HOLY CRAP THE BABY JUST FARTED ON THE CAT!!! HAHAHAHAH! Wow, that smells TERRIBLE. I wonder if he pooed.
*No poo this time. Maybe that’s why he’s so crabby right now. I get crabby when I have to poo.
*OHMYGOD I think I just heard a car pull up! Maybe Dave’s home from work!!! We can talk about being old together BECAUSE HE’S OOOOOLLLLDDD!!!
*No it wasn’t. Now I’m sad. Oh, I guess it’s only 1:30.
*FINE, I’ll go take a walk. I should move my fat butt.
*OH MAN!! I just got LAPPED on my walk by an old guy with orthopaedic shoes! MAYBE IT WAS DAVE!!! HAHAHAHAHA!
*I like my iPod, but I wish it was blue, not pink. I didn’t want the pink iPod, I wanted the green one, but they were out when I got this. Now I’m sad. Maybe I should break this one AND THEN I CAN GET A NEW ONE!!!
*Man, I’m HUNGRY. I wonder how many points are in a sandwich.
*Wow, that was a gross orange. It peeled well, but sheesh, it tasted like sawdust.
*I love our vaccuum. Especially because it has a motor. Motor vaccuums are awesome. I wish it were pink. I saw a pink one at Target and now I want it. Maybe I should go buy it.
*UHOH I gotta get Ben’s soccer stuff ready for him. I should totally get a skull tattoo on my arm so I don’t look like a soccer mom.
*THE BABY FARTED AND IT WAS HILARIOUS. It totally smelled like rotten eggs. I should tell Dave that.
*WHY is his phone now registering as disconnected? I should call back.
*Hmm, the phone company doesn’t know why his phones are all disconnected. MAYBE HE’S AT MCDONALDS AND HE DOESN’T WANT TO TELL ME. I’m gonna punch him for that. McDonalds is awesome and I love it.
*Holy crap, feeding the baby rice cereal is hard. It’s like peeing into a moving target at 20 feet. WITHOUT A PENIS.
*Man, the baby is soooooo cute. Too bad his butt smells like rotted eggs. He must get that from Dave. His butt smells rotted, too. Gross. Men are gross.
*WOW, I’m glad someone else is taking Ben to soccer. Practice is boring.
*OHMYGOD, I just accidently busted Ben for taking a dumpalump. I thought he was playing in his room when he was supposed to be getting ready for bed. I guess I’m a bad mother or something.
See, my life is BORING and DULL and you don’t care what I do minute to minute. Because it’s BORING!