I’ve been grumpy a good portion of the last two weeks. Elinor has been less grumpy than I have been; I don’t understand how a little baby can survive on less sleep than a 31-year-old mom.

I think the following is a universal parent experience: you listen to parent educators warn you about never shaking the baby, and you turn to your partner with eyebrows raised, certain that you will never even think about doing such a thing. But there comes a day when the baby has made a whiny, grumbling, high-pitched noise nearly continuously for most of the day, indicative of extreme fatigue, and you will do everything in your power to help the baby sleep, but sleep will not come, and you yourself will wish to make such a noise, and instead you will cry out in frustration and make your baby cry, and then you will comfort said babe, and then the babe will whine again, and you will set the babe down in her crib and walk away because you have an overwhelming urge to shake that baby and make her tell you what she needs and wants.

Because all you want to do is provide her with what she needs and wants.

But after leaving the baby in her crib for five minutes, and praying to God that she will sleep, and calling your sister in Albuquerque, and whining to her, and then going back to the baby, and walking with her, and bouncing her on your lap while shielding her from the computer screen as you desperately search for emails that remind you that you are an intelligent, functioning adult, only to read about what you consider to be a corporate takeover of the school board election, you feel your blood boiling in your capillaries. And you call your friend Erin who still gets to vote in Denver, ruing your decision to live in the ‘burbs, to lecture her on who she should vote for, and you rant and work yourself into a relative frenzy over the school board election, and as your rant subsides you realize that, though irked and dismayed by the school board election, you are really just exhausted, and very very very tired of that whining noise that your baby is making.

That was last Tuesday.

Since then, life has been a little better. It is good to rant, and to have many people graciously willing to listen to your rants. But yesterday, though Elinor was in a fantastic mood, she wasn’t sleeping again. And instead of obsessing over the school board election (results are in; corporations win, again), instead you obsess over whether or not you will have to go back to work so that your husband will not have to work those corporate hours for a corporate law firm anymore. And you spend too much time cruising CANPO’s job postings as your baby bounces in her bouncy swing, and you are now dismayed that, though possessing a MEd, five years experience in a classroom, and many competent life skills, on paper you are not qualified for most jobs. And teaching takes up as much time as a corporate law job, and your baby should have at least one parent around for dinner time consistently, and you are worried that you have wasted your life.

And then your friend Janice sends you a link to NaNoWriMo (http://www.nanowrimo.org/), and as you rant to your mom about not being qualified for 9-5 jobs that pay more than teaching, she tells you to write, and when your husband comes home, grumpy from his corporate day, he tells you to write. And you want to yell at all of them, but instead you finally get the baby down again at 11, and instead of curling up next to your husband’s lovely furnace-y and sleepy body, you sit down, sign up for National Novel Writing Month, and write two pages of what you are sure will be a crap novel.

At least you didn’t shake the baby.

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