It was 2 am. She just wouldn’t stop crying. In fact she got more and more agitated as time passed. No matter what I did she wouldn’t calm down. I knew she was fed and clean so it wasn’t that. Can this be what they call colic? I don’t know, I’ve never done this before. So it’s new territory, both for me and her.
We tried walking up and down the stairs, it seemed to calm her a bit. Going down to the kitchen, I found that pacing up and down, singing Greek anti-fascist songs (the Accordion) along with military marches (insane I know but it seemed to work) did the trick for a while. Don’t ask me on the song selection, at 2 am very little makes sense anyway, whether you’ve just finished your 18th pint of Addlestone’s cloudy cider or you’re just trying to persuade your 3-week old to sleep.
The marching and singing did the trick. She was soon asleep in my arms, oblivious of the havoc the crying had caused in my brain (and feet). I quietly went up the stairs, put her in her bed, covered her gently and flung myself face down on my bed, hoping for 3-4 hours of unbroken sleep. Two minutes later I heard her little breathing turn into panting, gradually building into crying. Again. Despair. When she finally hit that 98th octave I got up and picked her up again. Down the stairs, into the kitchen and “the Army is marching” once again, along with “Fascism shall not pass”. It was too optimistic to think I’d fool her second time round. Despair yet again.
I went into the living room, quickly emptied the pram from all the stuff that accumulated there (blankets, bags etc) and put her in. I sat on the sofa beside it and started pushing it back and forth. With my left hand I picked up the remote and turned the telly on. I caught a nice program on BBC3 on Tolkien so I tried to block out the baby’s protests and focus on Middle Earth.
It didn’t work. Baby was having none of it. “We’re not in the park and this is not a real ride. Will. Νot. Sleep”. After about 10 minutes I picked her up again and rested her head in my left arm. She just looked up at me and in seconds she closed her eyes. Slept. For fear of her waking up I watched most of that Tolkien program before I dared walking up the stairs and repeating the drill. I think it worked, or I may have just passed out and didn’t hear her. But I think it did. We live to fight another day.
On my way up the stairs, at the top, on the wall just above the landing we have a mirror. I saw my reflection, crazy hair, crazy eyes, holding this baby sleeping its serene sleep, and then it hit me: “you’re a dad mate, you’re a dad”.