Posted by Duff

The Dervish and I failed to reach an understanding for the first four months of her life. Possibly the only thing we had in common was that we were both frustrated with the status quo.

I felt guilty that, despite my best intentions, this early time wasn’t all duckies and bunnies and I wasn’t The Mom I’d Envisioned. It made no sense, since when she was born, she was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen and we spent that first night just staring at each other, content.

24 hours later, colic started.

Experts say that colic starts around three weeks, but having earned a PhD in the Dervish’s colic, I say day two. Man alive, did that begin the Summer (and Fall) of her discontent. Nearly every time we were alone together, and for the duration of that time, the Dervish was auditioning for slasher films, and I was her understudy. As I watched my husband drive away to work, I felt the closest thing to dread I’d ever experienced. With clumsy, sweaty hands, I would call my mother, and before any pleasantries were exchanged, Nana Bear would hear screams (a la Dervish) followed by sobs (mine).

This is when I switched to waterproof mascara. I didn’t want anyone else to know that we were floundering.

As I Bjorned concentric circles around a house that proved to have the wrong floor plan (each time I slowed for stairs the Dervish would kick me in the pelvis and make a sound oddly close to ‘MUSH‘!), I wondered if we had done her a disservice — having brought her into a world that so obviously made her miserable.

Nana Bear laughed. She said my daughter was quite like her mother at the same age, and she promised that when the Dervish found her own words and a way to move herself from A to B, that would be obvious.

Colic evolved to reveal that the Dervish has a rather expressive (albeit persistent) temperament, and one sweet day, she beamed at me in such a way that I felt a glimmer of hope. Suddenly, I wanted to understand her. I wanted her to know that she could count on me to try.

Bottom line, the Dervish did not wish to be an infant, and it frustrated her to no end. She hated being confined to any sedentary baby gear or being unable to X, Y, Z, and she most certainly would not be placated with toys. She wanted a bird’s eye view and constant changes of scenery. She wanted to touch what I was holding and taste what I was eating.

Honestly, I’m not sure I see that much of myself in her — she is far too Dervish to be too much anyone else. But I finally understood that as hard as it was for me to adjust to my role as a new Mom, she faced the Herculean task of becoming a new person. When I try to imagine the world through her eyes, I’m not surprised she came out swinging.

In fact, I’m grateful she did.