Sometimes it’s like this.


One of the babies has been unwell – not registering a fever, but skin so hot you could fry an egg on it. Sunday night was a true nightmare, with said baby crying half the night and through the next morning.

So by yesterday afternoon, I was feeling frazzled. I was unwell as well – and hadn’t slept the night before. The sick baby had slept most of the morning, while well baby hadn’t napped but had still been very, very clingy.

Enter afternoon nap time. Well baby fell asleep within seconds…and sick baby? Showing extreme signs of tiredness, but no sleeping. Lots of angry little kicking, thrashing, whining – and then once said baby fell off the couch in a spectacularly terrifying way, the screaming began. Absolute full out screaming. The sort of screaming that worms its way into your brain and promises to give birth to lots of little screamy worm eggs.

So I’m holding this baby, this thrashy, boiling hot baby as the screams get louder and louder. Well baby – who has had only 20 minutes of sleep by this point – has woken up and is sort of crying because, shit, yo, they are feeling tired.

Thrashy screaming baby is raw voiced and unconsolable at this point. The urge to somehow make this baby stop screaming so that I can comfort them as well as deal with the crying sibling is growing and threatening to overwhelm.

I finally hold the baby out and scream, ‘Shut up!! Just shut up, won’t you!!!’ My voice is angry and mean and loud.

Sick baby, who has never heard these words or perhaps felt this anger from me before, goes absolutely shocked before big tears are rolling down both chubby cheeks and the screamning escalates even further. Feeling shocked by myself – and yet somehow knowing I am approaching my limit and perhaps worse things may issue from my mouth or hands – I call TMD.

I just need to say, ‘They are both crying. It’s like they are newborns again.’ As I dial, I am thrown back in time to last October, when both babies would be crying and still too young to distract away from crying, and sometimes unable to hold them both to calm them. A time when I needed desperately to reach out to someone and just not be alone anymore. A time when I was working on minimal sleep.

After months of decent sleep and happy babies, yesterday afternoon was a shock. My screaming at my sick baby was more than a shock, but I couldn’t control myself.

So TMD answers and I can’t even say what I want to say, because the screaming has somehow cranked up another notch – how is that possible?? – and sick baby’s body is stiff and arching and angry and sad and desperate. I am murmuring soothing things, I am holding, hugging. I am restraining this baby from throwing themselves onto the floor and getting hurt, even as the other baby’s crying is slowly edging from tiredness to needing me.

Tears begin to run down my own cheeks. I turn my head towards the phone and say in a rush, ‘I am reaching my breaking point. Naps are all fucked. Sick baby is so hot and fell off the couch and won’t. stop. screaming. And now the other one is crying because they can’t sleep through the screaming.’ My words disintegrate as I pull the other baby onto my lap, one straddling each leg, one burning through my clothes with heat and tears and my own guilt, the other still trying to find a way to sleep, thumb in mouth, arm around my side.

I let go and cry. I cry and rock them, these children of mine, these wonders who are so ‘good’ that when a bad afternoon and my own sickness and my PMS collide, it is a shock to the system. I hear TMD saying, ‘I can come home, do you need me to come home?’ as fear coils in my belly. She’s probably going to lose her job soon, and the last thing I want is to make her come home and let her bosses know that she is only human. She needs to be superhuman to stay employed.

I yell towards the phone, hoping to be heard over the cacophony of wails and screams, ‘Don’t worry. I just called to get support. You don’t need to come home.’ But by the end of this my own voice is drowned out as my sick little roasting baby, the one I screamed at to Just! Shut! Up! Already! is stiffening and screaming and hitting.

Well baby is truly awake by this point. Well baby pats the sick one’s head, but a tiny finger gets caught in hairs and a few of them are gently pulled. Sick baby SCREAMS. Well baby throws themselves backward and heads crash together. Well baby laughs, sick baby SCREAMS. I sob. I cry.  I hold both and ignore the phone and focus on what needs to happen – my baby, my babies, need to be calm and calmed.

The next time I look at the phone, the hot baby is sitting on my lap, facing out. Well baby is pressed to my side, trying to clamour onto my lap. Both are calm for the minute. The phone has hung up. I see a flashing light…a text. She’s coming home.

Thank. Fucking. God.

As the tears dry on all three of our faces, it isn’t long before sick baby has found another reason to scream, but this time I don’t want to hit or yell or run away. I just want to sleep.

4 Responses to “Sometimes it’s like this.”

  1. saralema Says:

    I feel your pain. Knowing how hideous this can be to go through with one, I can’t even begin to fathom going through it with two. Good for you for knowing your limitations and reaching out for help.

    Hugs to you.

  2. mendylady Says:


    The 30 month disruption is hitting L hard and early (as usual). Combined with me being exhausted and not moving fast because of being pregnant, we have had some not pretty moments.

  3. catsandcradles Says:

    *big hugs* I wish I could come over and help, or do something (anything) to help, but geography’s a bitch sometimes. It’ll get better, though. I have great faith in this. *more hugs*

  4. Winnie Says:

    **hugs** love love love coming your way!

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