Posted by Duff

Three weeks in, poor Atticus’ parents ought to be embarrassed at how quick we were to throw in the towel and label him colicky.

You have to understand, though, shrieky cries bring back a world of memories and hurt, and we have been so afraid of the Return of the Pterodactyl.  Add hormones for me and sleep deprivation for the both of us, and my good friend AVM had to remind me Atticus is not The Dervish.

Words I needed to hear. This experience is a far cry from my first with newbornhood. Atticus has moments, even hours, of calm awake time. Even at peak crying age.

And truth be told, The Dervish isn’t even The Dervish anymore. Not to the extreme anyway.  Leave it to a new baby to make her seem low maintenance. I wonder what I have been complaining about – she can feed herself, she can follow instructions (when she so chooses) and she can tell me she loves me. So I know that even when she is giving me bad feedback or failing to exhibit manners, things will turn around and I’ll have a fan again sometime soon.

But three-week olds don’t smile at you. They don’t say Thank You, they don’t give you a lot of positive feedback that you’re doing a good job. The best you get is the absence of complaint. So when the complaints come fast and furious, especially when the rest of the world is sleeping, the mind plays tricks. Makes you think it will always be this way. That you’ll never sleep again. That you’re doing something wrong. That you’re destined to have unhappy infants despite having built up patience, despite loving them since a positive pregnancy test.

So I thank The Dervish for her wide eyes, for asking me to tell her stories or sing songs that I’ve made up just for her, for remembering her please and thank yous, for mirroring our parenting as she cares for her dolls. She reminds us that we did this once, and so far, we have done an okay job. Her size is a testament to the swift passage of time, her sleep habits a reminder that eventually children can go all night without feedings, finish teething, and after many months, might even go to bed and stay there on the first try so their parents can collapse on the couch together, possibly still awake.

It will happen. And when it does, I’ll probably want another baby.

Yesterday, our family of four ran into some neighbors at the grocery store. This woman and her husband were contemplating a third child, she told me. I said to her, “Two hours of sleep says you’re a crazy person.”  But when I got home I looked at a picture hanging on my dining room wall. A picture of The Dervish kissing my 8 months’ pregnant belly.

And even though I yawn, and tonight I might want to cry when Atticus won’t sleep, I know why any of us could give in to that moment of insanity and do it all over again.