The Girl decided last night to really stretch out her lungs. She started fussing around 7:00, picked up steam around 9:00, and did a full-on banshee wail from 10:00 to about midnight.
The good news is her lungs are obviously strong. And it could have been worse – the cycle could have started at midnight.
Still, in just the few years since The Boy was born, I’d forgotten just how draining those screaming fits can be. It’s sort of like forgetting pain. Today The Wife and I are pretty zombified, and we’re both dreading tonight’s performance.
Miraculously, The Boy managed to sleep through it.
It isn’t just the noise that drains you. It’s the not knowing – not knowing how long it will go, what’s bothering her, or what to do about it. We did all the obvious things – feeding, swaying, singing, swaddling, etc. – to no effect. The Girl isn’t fooled by pacifiers, usually spitting them out within seconds. (“This one’s defective. No milk!”) When I hold her with her head on my shoulder, she can push her head off, but she can’t support it, so it’s anybody’s guess which way it will loll. The only way to prevent that is a sort of knuckleball grip, but that isn’t so good, either.
It’s hard, too, to stay sane and patient with The Boy when The Girl rubs your nerves raw. He has been great, but an active three-year old boy is a handful in the best of circumstances, let alone when you’re already drained.
After a few hours, you start to think about alternatives. Would a doghouse in the backyard really be so bad? It’s the summer, and it’s not like we have dingoes running around the neighborhood…
Idea for birth control: film a two-hour infant banshee wail, and show the film, in real time, to teenagers. Keep the sound up good and high. Nobody leaves the auditorium. Attendance at the screening (say, a midnight show on a Tuesday) is mandatory. Amnesty International might object, but I bet it would work…