Its comes from nowhere. A red shriek of fury and you instantly know you’re in for some trouble. Somewhere inside her core hunger, tiredness and boredom have reacted together and her tiny life splits, a vent opens, and out it all pours.
You have to find the cure. Some days, it is milk. Some days, it is darkness and singing. But not today. Today is the day it will grind you down, leave you shattered and exhausted. So you try everything. You pace every room with her in your arms, never stopping in the same place twice. You stand by the window in the sun, swaying. You bounce her up and down, or let her stand, or lie her on the mat with the nappy off.
You catch a silence, and freeze., hoping that’s it.
But then for no reason, it rises again. When she looks at you, it no longer makes her smile – there’s no recognition in her eyes, and her face is red, tears are rage distilled. Your wits ended an hour ago and you’re making silent prayers for mum to get home.
Then you find it. A floorboard in the bedroom creaks underfoot, and she jumps, catches a breath. A floorboard you’ve never even noticed before. Add it to the list. Back and forward you rock – the see-saw-creak has her in a trance and you just know you’ve got it. A few more minutes and she’s gone, away, at peace.
When she shut her eyes to finally sleep, the lashes were wet and starry.
I need a brew.