Finley, little dark-tressed nugget of love that she is, has a dark secret. She has within her wee ten pounds of self an insane capacity for shrieking with indignation. Her preferred hours of rage are:
1) The precise moment in which Sean and I try to catch up on the day and on through the news, pausing before dinner to cruelly suggest we might eat in peace.
2) Just after the girls have been successfully read, coddled, cuddled, chided, coerced and threatened into sleeping.
3) During any episode of The Last Comic Standing.
4) Throughout the 7.5 minutes I take to wash up before bed.
It isn’t usually a problem as I realize how fleeting this time really is, before we know it she’ll be a year old and this sort of inconsolable and inexplicable carrying on will be but a distant memory that we look back on with the twisted fondness one has for escaped agony. The other night though, oh the other night…
There was a different pitch to her cry, a piercing tone and unrelenting intensity that was nothing short of an ice pick Macgyvered up to a an air compressor being sent again and again like some sort of medieval battering ram into my ear. I tried everything I could think of to soothe her, but she twitched, jerked and screamed herself into such a state that we reached the point of no return. I did something I have never, ever done before.
I called for back up.
I think the times in a marriage when the balance shifts precipitously, whether it be for vulnerability or anger, you recognize it in that moment and make a split second decision. Sean’s reaction was lightning fast. He was home and carrying Fin out into the cool night air in less than five minutes. He handled it as if it were the most natural thing in the world, no judgement, no worry. I had no shame, no guilt, just an overwhelming sense of peace. I had not screamed, had not cried, and had not been made to feel helpless.
I had always been too embarrassed to ask for help or to admit defeat. Who knew doing just that could make me feel so triumphant?
Watching you closely and taking cues from you and yours.
Oh, back up. Such a beautiful thing. And yet, so under-used and misunderstood.
Hold on to that feeling of triumph!
good for you.
The power of understanding your limits is a great one indeed. Limits do not mean limitations.
Oh, he loves you.
I had to call for back up yesterday, too – I was SO SICK and the kids were rangy and I phoned my husband and he came RACING home. Good men.
Nothing better than backup. Nothing better than a good guy.
I remember very clearly the first time I asked for help after I had Madeline. It was about 4 weeks in and she was screaming at the top of her lungs. I handed her over in defeat and walked outside and cried. It wasn't too long after I realized that 5:00pm was her witching hour and mine. We both needed a break from each other. We needed help from someone or something. I needed wind and she needed Dad.
What great parents you are. Really. You for knowing where the line was and doing the best thing for you AND Finley and him for being there for you.
You should be very proud of you.
I haven't had to use a back-up with Harper but did with Sam. As a newborn he sounds a lot like your Finley. A couple times I had to call Russ with him running home to take over. He would urge me to get out of the house for an hour and take a break which helped.
It does go so fast and now it is a very distant memory nearly erased from my memory of those early days.
This is such an eye-opening post. I guess I had always assumed that I would be happy to ask for backup whenever necessary once I have a kid. I didn't even think about this kind of situation. I'm glad you were able to overcome.
Gotta love the backup.
Gah! Fly was fussy too. You're right, sometimes a mama needs to step back. And it's such a relief.
Bless your little nugget of love….
Good for you. Asking for help is just such a hard thing to do.
You sound so wise and experienced. I suppose by the third baby, you definitely know when you have done all that you can.
Your husband is a great daddy – you and your girls are lucky to have him! and of course they are all lucky to have you, too!
gush, gush. I love hearing about your sweet family.
Knowing where your breaking point is – is good. Or maybe your bending points. 🙂 Handing off is sometimes the best thing for you AND her. Good job!
Wonderful to have someone you don't need to prove anything to. Including yourself sometimes.
Absolutely good for you, and good for Dad too, to be needed and to learn more about his newest daughter.