A night in the infernal depths of Hell
Friday night we went up to Waverly MN to visit with some of our good friends at their cabin. Be brought Maggie along, threw her pack and play travel crib in the car and headed out. Our host's were gracious enough to offer the use of the newer, air-conditioned cabin to the two couples who brought their kids along. The night started off well, with everyone hanging out at the dock, taking dips in the water, and enjoying happy hour cocktails. We dragged Maggie's high chair out, and fed her dinner outside by the lake. She took a little longer than usual to get down to sleep, which is not unusual in new surroundings. Jim and I took turns reading to her and I finally got her to sleep and into her crib. I walked out to the shore to meet the other guests like Rocky, jumping up and down and pumping my hands in the air. "I got her to sleep! Let the festivities begin!" The night continued with smores, beer and discussions around the campfire. A game of poker ensued. As did some realtively minor debauchery of the pedestrian beer-drinking sort.
About 1:30 a.m. Jim and I decided to call it quits. Maggie usually wakes up about 6:30 or 7:00 and she typically doesn't make it easy on me just because I downed my fair share of Pale Ale's the night before. She's funny like that. So I though it would be prudent to be the first to turn in.
Jim and I made our way into the cabin and got ready for bed. TRYING to be as quiet as possible. Trying, and FAILING because Maggie awoke and was very very VERY unhappy. Thus begun our night from the motherloving DEPTHS OF HELL.The shrieking. It began at 1:30 a.m.. The Shrieking. It did not end until 7:00 a.m. when Jim extracted her from her crib and just finally fully gave in and took her out for breakfast with our friend Mike. Mike had also had been up with their screaming child for hours. They took the kids out for pancakes because there is not much else to do in Waverly at 7:00 a.m. besides go out for pancakes.
In between 1:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m., let's just say there was a lot. of. shreiking. And wiggling. And tearful wailing. We brought Maggie into bed with us where she slept fitfully for oh, about, 5 minutes, and resumed flailing and shrieking. We returned her to her crib where she would stand, grasping the rail and looking at us with the tearful indignance of a million wronged babies. Whatever ill fate these million babies had suffered, we were certainly being punished for each and every one of them. Maggie had established herself as their spokesperson and was belting out their chorus of complaints. She wailed and cried and bellowed the lamentations of every last one of them. She screamed and wiggled and stomped her little feet. Her face was red and hot and wet with tears. Her eyes shot lightening bolts and fire spewed from her mouth.
We alternated from wiggling and crying in bed and standing and wailing in the crib for approximately 4 hours. Around 4:30 a.m. Jim became so frustrated he plopped her in her crib, exclaimed "I can't take it amymore!" and without another word, walked out of the rooom to sleep on the couch. I stared at the closed door, speechless. My head was pounding from the pale ale. Could he just DO THAT? WALK OUT THE DOOR AND LEAVE ME IN THE SEVENTH LEVEL OF DANTE'S INFERNAL HELL? I nearly shouted through the door "GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR DIVORCE ASSHOLE!" but mustered up the strength to restrain myself.
I continued with the crib-stand-scream-wail, and bed-wiggle wail. She slept for approximately 20 minutes from about 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Thinking she was out, I gently transferred her to her crib where her eyes popped open like some posessed baby doll, and she resumed her protesting. I gave in, turned the light on and just sat in bed and stared at her. She stared back. Apparently she was fine sitting in her crib as long as she could see that I could see her. 20 minutes later, I turned over thinking I could get. JUST. FIVE. MINUTES. OF. SLEEP. The banchee began screaming again and I just sat there, complacent and accepting of my fate in HELL.
I heard the door open and close. Silence. Sweet silence. It was 7:00 a.m. Someone, presumably Jim, at that point I didn't really care WHO it had been, had removed my child from her crib and taken her from the room. The only reason I am still married today? Jim took her out for breakfast so I could sleep for three hours. Three lovely hours. I am not sure what his fate might have been had he not done that.
I awoke to find Jim and Maggie playing outside. We went on with our day like any other. Maggie had apparently morphed back into to her former, happy self. I am not sure what they put in those pancakes but whatever it was, it worked. Hallelujah. We had lunch, we played, Maggie napped. We went swimming in the lake and Maggie squealed and kicked and splashed in the water like a happy little monkey. My heart swelled with the usual joy at seeing her so exuberant. Apparently the storm system had passed. We were back to sunny weather. All was forgiven.
Mercifully she slept ALL NIGHT Saturday night, although I was so terrified of waking her up Jim and I slept on the floor in the other room.
I am learning. Parenthood teaches you that you can, in fact, survive what may have at one time seemed to be the unfathomable depths of Hellish despair. And the most remarkable part is that when the sun comes up, you still love those little buggers. It's a good thing they're so stinking cute. I now understand the evolutionary theory behind making them adorable. It prevents their parents from dropping them in the forest with a ziplock back of pepperidge farm goldfish, a bottle of juice, a flashlight and blanket bidding them good luck. "Watch out for bears! Call when you find work!". You just can't do that to a cherub faced toddler, now can you? But really, you can't do it because you love them. You love them and you want them to be safe and happy. And deep down you feel that no one else is going do as good a job at keeping them safe and happy as you are. You just don't trust anyone else to love them as much as you do. The trappings of love, the trappings of parenthood. The overwhelming heart-melting love and the hellish nights in the infernal depths of Hell. Sigh.