Baby & Me

Welcome to the crying game where you lose your mind

For the past six days, I have been woken up by a weeping little woman. I don’t know what it is, but crying has been Adoti’s portion for the week.

And once she’s woken up on the wrong side of the bed, the rest of the day will usually be irrigated with a steady flow of ‘tear’ water.

When she’s in that kind of mood, every small thing will set her off. If I just glance in her direction with anything other than a sunny smile, her face crumbles and she begins to wail, because yeah, I looked at her funny.

She’s also learning that crying is not the only way to express her emotions. In fact, it is severely limited in the range of feeling it can effectively put across. So she’ll throw something at the wall. Or revert to the tried and tested ‘smack-Mama-in-the-face’ move. Other times she’ll throw herself on the floor. Or try the new ‘smack-Nanny Lucy-in-the-face’ move.

When Mama gets on baby’s very last nerve, she turns around shoulders heaving, rivers and rivers of tears running down her face, and goes to a corner in her room, from where she continues to weep as if the world is falling on her head.

The whole point of the exercise is for someone to take pity and rescue her from the self-imposed exile, but if that doesn’t happen quickly enough, she will come into full view, let out a few hearty cries and then run back to the corner.

Eventually, the internally displaced child is repatriated from her corner camp to the living room, whereupon you would expect that she would at the very least stop crying. But no, the volume goes up a notch and there is renewed danger of Mama finding Adoti’s last nerve again and stomping all over it.

This is the point when she starts to point. Pointing is an activity in our house because the objects that Adoti points at are often fleeting and of little consequence.

She will point at the window, but when you take her there, she will point at the main door. You get to the door and she will point at the fridge. At the fridge, she will point at the cupboard. At the cupboard, she will point at the kitchen door.

As soon as you’re out on the balcony, she will point at the kitchen door again. In the kitchen, she will point at the bedroom. And so on and so forth until you’re ready to put the child in an envelope and mail her to someone. Anyone.

But just when you’re thinking of calling your pastor and having a quick ‘Come to Jesus’ moment, the tide turns and the child stops the wailing. Suddenly, she begins responding to your attempts to soothe her. Shortly, she’s running around and laughing out loud as if a rainbow had appeared after the flood of tears.

We’re still wracking our brains, wondering what brings on the crying episodes. Is she sleepy? Nope, she woke up at 8.30am and she slept through the night. Hungry? Nah … we just had lunch. Maybe her molars are coming in. Errm … no, they came in last week. Does she have a fever? No. I’ve checked her temperature 10 times. Sigh. Maybe it’s just a phase. Yup. Just a phase.

When I’m not buying postage stamps to put my baby in the mail, I’m amazed by her growth and development. Every day’s a different day. And while she makes me want to throttle her – every day without fail – she also makes me laugh. And makes me proud.

Sometime during the week, I was changing her diaper and Barney was on, as usual singing a song about something. There was a line in the song that went something like, “I can do anything and everything” and just when the last bar played, my little Princess raised her hands in the air and chimed in with a very loud and very clear, “Everything!” I swear my heart swelled so much with pride I thought I would burst.

I won’t be visiting the post office any time soon.