Parenting has an ugly side.

For the past few weeks, Ian hasn’t been sleeping well. He seems to be getting back on schedule, but for a while he was sleeping in three- or four-hour stretches. Which is wonderful for a newborn, but stinks-on-ice for a six-month-old who’s been known to sleep for nine. (…and don’t tell me that he should be sleeping for ten or twelve. It just makes it worse.)

I’m not known for my patience. When I’m woken from sleep, I’m known to be a not-nice guy. While I was in college, my mother stopped calling during the afternoon because I’d snap if I’d been napping. When Ian wakes up crying at midnight, or two, or three, I find myself a very impatient man.

It’s gotten so that I wake up before he does. I can sense his stirrings. I open my eyes, and the walls are flashing with the soft, green glow from Ian’s baby monitor. Only one light. He’s not awake yet.

And I’m already angry. This has been going on for so long, and all I want is a full night’s rest. Now I have to wait until he finally wakes up before I can try to calm him down. Ian finally wakes up, crying. I sigh loudly, throw the covers from my body, and stalk from the room. I roll my eyes, and push open his door.

He’s on his stomach, head lifted, and crying loudly. I roll him onto his side and rub his back, trying to put him back to sleep. I search for his pacifier, but I’ve forgotten to wear my glasses. I search his crib, inch by inch, groping around the edges in a closing spiral before I realize that it’s probably fallen to the floor. All the while, Ian is screaming. In the dim light of the fireflies on his wall, I find the pacifier lying next to the vaporizer.

The search took too long, and Ian’s inconsolable. I put the pacifier in his mouth, but he won’t settle down. His head thrashes from side to side, his legs curl to his chest, and his hands rub his eyes and face, which knocks the pacifier from his mouth and onto the floor. I whisper, “Shhhh. Shhhh. Go to sleep. It’s okay. I’m here. You’ll be okay.” But my thoughts aren’t so soothing. “Shut up. Shut up! Just go to sleep. You’re fine. Knock it off!”

Ian finally falls back to sleep, and I go back to bed. But I’m still angry because I know he’ll only wake up in another hour or so. And in another hour or so, I’m back in his room, trying to calm him down. But this time I’m thinking, “I hate you.”

This is my son. Someone for whom I’d do anything. Anything! I love him more than I’ve loved anyone. My life has become his. And here I am, his father, at 4:37 in the morning, hating him.

He’s teething. He’s having a growth spurt. He’s probably having growing pains. I remember growing pains. They suck. He’s experiencing everything in his life for the first time, and he’s learning a thousand different things every day. And each morning he smiles at me, giggling and wriggling with delight at the sight of his daddy. But at 2:56 in the morning, I’m hating him.

4 Responses

  1. Aunt Rozanne
    Aunt Rozanne at |

    All I can say, Jared, (and I know it’s easy for me to say and hard for you to believe)is savor those moments as long as you can. Remember them, hold them, treasure them. And pray that by the time your son is grown, the world will be a little bit better place; and you won’t have to wake every hour in the middle of the night because he’s in a war half way across the world.

  2. Aunt Sanya
    Aunt Sanya at |

    Oh, yes, those are tough moments. They will pass. They won’t be as bad as when he is 16, has the keys to the car and is not home yet. He should have been home an hour ago. And, then you hear a siren in the distance. Your heart leaps. Should you call the police? You pray…..Dear God, please.

    A car pulls into the driveway with the lights off. A tiptoeing shape, carrying his shoes, shuts the car door quietly, inserts the key into the front door & twists it ever so slowly. The door barely makes a sound when it opens. And, then, you turn on the light. “We’ll talk in the morning son.”……………Thank you God.

  3. Mom/Grandma
    Mom/Grandma at |

    I’ve made no comments to your journal entries ’til now. I thought I should just butt out and let you discover on your own the challenges of being a parent. Each entry I’ve read has brought back many memories of your ‘growing pains’ (and mine)! Next time my sweet, adorable grandson wakes you, count your blessings and remember who put in your arms and give Him thanks. I love you!
    PS I want you to notice I made no comment about your degree of patience!!

  4. Dad
    Dad at |

    So it begins! Your time is not your own. (Really never has been) Ian will continue to become even more the focal point of your lives. Wait until sports & other after school activities. Wait until brothers or sisters come along and multiply the demand on your time. Wait until dating begins. Wait until college. On second thought, don’t wait at all. Give all of your time to Ian right now. The return of your investment in love is most enjoyable.

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