Thursday, February 15, 2007

On The Mend and Over The Bend

I feel like I just won the lotto, went on a date with Salma Hayek, and came up with a solution for global warming, all on the same day! Yes, my friends, the fevers are gone, the snot river has stopped flowing, and I have my charming little boy back. Plus, as an added bonus, which I guess would be the "date with Salma" part, he slept through the night for the first time in weeks.

How am I? Well, I was awoken by a sneezing fit, have my own snot river to deal with, and have had a weird, obnoxiously unpleasant taste in my throat for two days now... but who cares? My son is feeling better and all is right with the world.

Its strange how the powerlessness of being the parent of a sick child can completely level you, but being sick yourself is nothing at all when you put the two in comparison. And, this was only after off-and-on again three weeks, hardly even worth mentioning to parents who are struggling with children who are truly sick, but there it is. Like I said, my son is feeling better and all is right with the world.

Or, is it?

I heard on the radio the other day that a mom bit her infant on the cheek, because it wouldn't stop crying. Then, she just dropped the baby off at the hospital, saying she couldn't handle it any more, and left. The news story was just a small piece of a drive-time news update, so there weren't many more details reported. I don't know if this happened in Denver or some other city, but I think the story says a lot.

Clearly, the mom was overwhelmed. She may have been dealing with some postpartum depression. She might be very young and inexperienced with children. Or, maybe it was just an unfortunate alignment of planets and foul backstory that led up to a tragic, unbearable day with a toddler. We could sit around and devise thousands of possible situations that lead to the biting and abandonment.

I can certainly understand her frustration. A crying baby is hard to deal with on a number of levels. Although I haven't chewed on my son, aside from the occasional "monster chomp" on his ears during a wrestling session, I understand that the line between irritated and irrational can be a fuzzy one, especially when you're alone and help is hours away. Thankfully, I've been able to muster the sense needed to put him in his crib and give myself a time out when I've been really frustrated. Just a few minutes is all it takes to get your bearings again and you can approach things a little better.

This woman who bit her child? Did she lack that sense? Or, was she simply pushed too hard, too fast? Can any of us truly say that we haven't also been pushed, once or twice, beyond where we feel truly in control?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that we're all just five seconds from flesh-eating monsters, but I do think that the cheek-chewing is closer than most of us would feel comfortable admitting. Being a parent is stressful. It's hard work. And, yes, sometimes its ugly.

When I heard this story on the radio I was shocked. The more I thought about it, I was saddened. In this woman's darkest time, no one was there for her. I don't condone her behavior, but I see how its possible. A lot of parents don't get the support they need, and yet this damn moms-pulling-out-the-wine-glasses story won't go away. What's worse? A woman having a drink at a social gathering of parents? Or, a woman who feels so alone and unsupported that she has to resort to biting and abandoning her child?

Up Next: Something far less serious! Rob from How About Two? tagged me with a "5 odd things about you" assignment. I'll try to keep it to just five things, but honestly, I could rename this blog "Odd Things About Denver Dad" and have up a new post every day for years.


Rob said...

Yeah, I could post odd things about myself for years to come. It was tough limiting it to 5 (esp. 5 that I want to share!).

p-man said...

Strangely, my first thought upon reading your post was "what does baby cheek taste like?" which is, of course, totally wrong. In my defence, I had halibut cheeks for dinner last night. They were delicious and the thought of cheekless halibut plumbing the depths of the Pacific did not deter me at all.

Denver Dad said...

Rob... I agree. Five is kind of limiting, but at the same time, kind of nice. It would have taken me weeks to list the 98 strange or odd things about me.

P-Man... Mmmmm... baby cheeks.

Maria said...

I remember one terrible night when Liv would not stop crying.It was four a.m., I had a migraine and I just wanted to sleep. No way. She was not just crying, she was howling.

I remember leaning over her crib and saying in this loving, sing song voice,"Fuck you, oh...fuck you"

She finally slept. And I wasn't so far gone that I bit her. But, those nights can be harrowing. No excuse. But...yeah...parenting is really a wake up call to growing up. You have to be the grown up. A child just can't do it.

There is no one that you will ever love so deeply as your child, but you will want to sell them once in awhile. No one ever tells you that.

Denver Dad said...

Maria... that is one of the funniest stories I've ever heard. :)