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February 7, 2005 / allyo

Cranky as we wanna be

We had kind of a rough weekend. The Boy turned into his less-pleasant alter ego, the Crank. It’s one of the few times since he was a newborn that he’s cried inconsolably for any amount of time; he’s generally a very happy, easy-going little guy. I’ve been a little concerned that he’s unhappy with something in my diet and am on week two of no dairy. I’ve been mildly obsessed with everything else as well, “Maybe it’s onions? Peppers? Ok, no chocolate, no garlic…” etc. etc. etc. I mean, it’s hard not to take it personally when your usually happy nurser acts as though radioactive acid is coming out of your boob, rather than the usually yummy boob juice. Whether that is all related to the two-day return of the Crankster, I don’t know but it gives you some clue as to my state of mind the last few days. Last night around 9 (way past his bed time) he turned back into my Boy, Sir Giggles-a-Lot, and the thought that had been running through my head all weekend was confirmed. “Sure, you’re good for Miss B. (babysitter), but Mommy gets the Crank. Great.”

Uh-oh. See that slippery slope? That one there? I almost fell right down it. Let me back up a couple of decades. My parents divorced when I was 2, my mom was a completely incompetent parent at the time – one of my earliest memories is of her being arrested for shoplifting – so about a year later her parents and my dad went to court and my grandparents sued for custody. I think the breaking point was when she sent me by myself, without even my pooh bear for company, in a cab to my grandparent’s house.

Anyway, my dad was young and in college and working multiple jobs, so my grandparents took me in. My dad never missed a Sunday visit – seriously, I remember him not picking me up once and once only – until I was old enough to drive and make my own decisions about where to spend my Sunday afternoons. When I was around 5 he married my step-mom, who is arguably the best step-mom in the history of everything. My dad did everything he could to maintain a great relationship with me, down to never, ever getting mad at me. If there was a need for discipline, my step-mom played the bad cop. Great. Except, this ensured that by the time I was an adult if my dad even looked at me cross-eyed I couldn’t handle it. If he actually did get mad at me, I’d think he didn’t love me, that I had screwed up so badly I wouldn’t ever be forgiven. And I’m sure it contributed to the fact that, until therapy a few years ago, I wouldn’t ask for a hand if I had been literally drowning. I know that often I’ve been drowning in a metaphorical sense many times and put up a façade of everything’s-ok-here-nothing-to-see-move-along until I collapsed from the weight of whatever it was. Usually in the form of a total hysterical meltdown. Fun times.

Now, I’m not blaming my dad for my neurosis, after all it takes a village to raise a neurotic mess. I’m certain lots of other factors, including but not limited to my grandmother’s expectation of perfection and my own personality, were equally as important. But, as all this ran through my head last night as I grumped to myself about my baby’s crankiness and I realized something. My Boy can be as cranky as he wants to be. If he rages every weekend from sunup Saturday to sundown Sunday, mommy and daddy will still love him. If everyone else gets his sunny side and we get the Crank, fine. We’ll take it all, the good and the bad, because that’s what we’re here for. This is one neurosis that stops with me.

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