July 26th, 2001



A very strange night, last night. I was stupid and let a book eat my brain after Jet had gone to sleep, and I was so stupid and stayed up late to read it. It didn't help that John was up late doing research into houses, I'm not sure if they were houses in Seattle or houses around here, or what, but it wasn't until 11 that he came down, and I still had to get ready for bed and pump, so I wasn't into bed until 11:30. I usually use John's timing to get ready for bed because it was just easy. It really was my own fault, though, I should have just gone to bed early after having to get up twice the night before. I was pretty mad at myself with all this.

Then, of course, Jet was up at 12:30. So John took him and gave him a bottle, which, of course ended up with Jet staying asleep so long that *I* was hurting with milk. I woke up at 3, feeling bad, but managed to force myself back to sleep at about 3:30. Then woke up again an hour later, so I started pumping at 4:40. Before I did, I woke up John and told John that I was going to do that and he'd have to take care of Jet if Jet woke up. At 4:45, Jet woke up, of course, and for five minutes I heard him crying, and John *still* hadn't woken up to take care of him. I yelled for John twice, and he still didn't wake up or answer. I was so mad.

I had to carefully unplug myself, set down all the stuff so that it couldn't tip over to spill milk everywhere, and then slammed into the bedroom and gave John what for. He just never had woken up. Even with all that crying on the monitor, he'd just never woken up. I made me want to scream, in some ways, because I get woken up by everything and John can sleep through Jet crying and it was just so maddening.

I know. I have got a great husband who is willing to do a lot of the childcare stuff during the day, at night, any time I ask. He really is great about all that. I do know that. I was just so angry, though, from squashed expectations that I was just yelling at him and he was scared out of his mind by getting woken up by my coming in with a crash and screaming at him.

He did get Jet and he did feed him the milk I pumped, and being completely unable to go back to sleep and Jet not really wanting to go back to sleep, they just stayed up afterwards and went out to get me chocolate donuts. I slept fitfully even while they were gone. Rage has bad after affects on me. It was the combination of being stuck helpless at the pump while John had *promised* to take care of Jet that got me so fucked up.

Now I know why kids get so upset and angry when a promise is broken, or things seem 'unfair'. Even if I think through the probability that, logically, I could have just unplugged and comforted Jet and then gotten John quietly; emotionally, that would have been totally impossible. I was just so upset at being disappointed in such a big way when I'd even gone to the effort to communicate, openly, about what it was I needed and wanted from John. I can beat myself up when I expect something from him that I haven't explicitly *said*; but when I actually have gone past my old reflexes and actually told him specifically what I want, he's built up the trust in me that he'll do it.

And this time he didn't do it.

He did apologize, and he did go to the extra effort for breakfast, and it's not like I don't forgive him or even understand. He doesn't wake up as easily as I do, and it's just a fact in some ways. I think, in some ways, it's something in me that's now afraid that if, at night, I am somewhere else in the house and really have to have John's help with something that I just can't count on getting it. If I screamed for help, the way I yelled his name last night, I still can't wake him up. I would be stuck, on my own, to just deal. I don't have a doubt that I could deal, I just feel kind of abandoned when I thought I could count on him completely. Ah... yup... that's it. That's what makes me want to cry.
  • Current Mood
    tired tired


I guess fear really is the base of rage. Now that I actually know what it is that I fear, I'm not mad anymore. That's a really good thing.

Some of the trigger was from, of all things, Hollywood Squares last night, one of the questions was "What does the blah-blah-blah recommend you do if your child wakes up scared and wants to sleep in bed with you?" The star answered, "Let them, you're there to protect them, aren't you?" and the actual answer was "You should not let them, because that'll undermine the child learning that they can deal with it themselves."

Deal with it themselves.

I remember waking up afraid at night and just, gut-deep bone-deep, knowing that I couldn't go to my parents. That it was nearly a law of physics that I couldn't wake them up unless it was an emergency and there was real damage involved. I was alone and I could deal with it.

I wonder if that was the result of that kind of upbringing? That early independence, so touted by Dr. Spock, in the form of a baby crying themselves to sleep, might have been the model for the way I am now. Supremely self-confident about the fact that I can handle bad situations alone, but also terribly, totally convinced that I have to face them alone. That there is no one that will help me. And I can't ask for help, can't talk about the fear because I know that no one will understand or offer the kind of help or comfort that makes a difference, and I cannot ever trust another to help me. That I am, essentially, alone.

Alone? you ask? A loving husband of 14 years, countless friends, an old social schedule that used to have to be planned out half a year in advance? Alone?

In the deepest, darkest night, with my own rage and fear and sorrows, I think I'm always really alone because I can't talk about it. I can write, sometimes, a shadow of the things that cry out to be said, but in the end, I think, everyone really is alone. Then again, that might just be my old training. That there is no one to rely on, no one that really understands, no one that listens and really feels what it is I feel. No one that knows how to really comfort me in the ways that are wordless but more real. And maybe that's all a ghost of a childhood of independence forced early by the training my parents got on how to raise an 'unspoiled' baby.

And people wonder why there's so much money in psychiatry.

Maybe that's why some modern parents are so vehemently and emphatically in the opposite direction, and I'm going to have to watch that myself in some ways. Once discipline actually gets to be something that can be useful, I'm going to really have to watch it.

It was mildly mind blowing, though, at the baby massage class, when the teachers were emphatic about asking the baby's permission before starting the massage. To ask a baby that doesn't even know that words are being spoken if it's okay... and to have that be such an important part of the ritual of touch. It was just... the whole implication of the importance of a baby's choice, was just so cool.

Anyway... I guess I want to raise a son who knows he can handle it alone, but also knows he doesn't always have to.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative

knitting raveled sleeves

Sharp hot emotions of the moment. Funny to see how different they are from the end of the day and everything talked through and resolved. Fifteen years ago, John and I went to a pre-marriage thingy and I think the one piece of advice I took from it was 'never go to bed angry at each other'. We've talked a lot and while he doesn't know exactly how I feel, he now has an idea.

Which goes to show me why I married him in the first place. I really can talk about anything with him, even the hard things, and even if he doesn't have the same experiences, it's just useful to be able to bring things into the light with him and have him listen, never judge, and, best of all, he doesn't make sympathy noises when he really can't know what it's like. He just listens, and that may be the best thing of all.

Okay. I might sometimes feel alone, but I'm not, not really.