The next day she was very fussy and still feverish. After her 10 minute nap (seriously) she was especially a mess and for a while was completely inconsolable. I felt so helpless; I wanted to be able to comfort her, but she was just so miserable. Some of the time she didn't even want me to hold her, or she couldn't accept my comfort, or something. She wanted me near, and I think she actually wanted to be held, but she wouldn't let me touch her; she would just stand in front of me stamping her feet and crying. When I'd reach for her, she'd push me away. The thought to smack her actually crossed my mind; I haven't had that thought since she was very small and would cry for hours. It startled me, and I just put my hands over my face and cried myself. It wasn't that I was angry—it was more like wanting to shake her out of it. I was just helpless. I sobbed, big racking sobs, and this, interestingly, actually quieted her for a moment. I'm sure it was funny to see Mom cry like this. It felt like an appropriate thing to do with those feelings.
That was 2 days ago. Yesterday her sitter, whom she loves more than anyone else in the whole world, called me in the afternoon to say she was inconsolable again. For her to be fussy with C means something is really wrong. So we took her to Urgent Care last night, where they told us what we suspected: ear infection. What I didn't know was that it was both ears. Last night she had her first dose of antibiotic and today is a much better day.
It doesn't disturb me now that I thought to hit her, but it did then. It's so clear that having a kid puts you right in the middle of it and you're forced to face your stuff. So much of it is an exercise in BEING, in feeling what you're feeling, in sitting through the boredom and frustration and powerlessness and worry and the certainty that we don't have a clue. It's all very spiritual, this experience, and it's not surprising that I sometimes want to escape. I have a hard time being present for my life as it is, even without the difficulty of caring for another human. Certainly doing it well (being a good parent) means accepting that you can't always do it well, that sometimes you'll have thoughts you don't like, that sometimes you'll respond in ways you wish you hadn't. Thankfully all I did yesterday was cry.