Baby got his two month shots yesterday. He screamed as if he were being multiply impaled- which, I suppose, he was. My role, according tot he nurse, was to comfort him. I was blazingly successful, if comforting your child means running out of the room and hiding in the hall. Go Mommy.
I really thought I had crying covered, too. In one of my jobs, I see about a kajillion crying preschoolers, and I've become, over the years, stone cold: No, tiny Machiavellian, tears will NOT enable you to eat my crayons. Or hit your friend. Or any of the other things you really, really want to do that are inadvisable and/or irritating. You ran when you weren't supposed to and tripped? Dust yourself off. You want your Mommy? So do I. My heart is hard, preschoolers: My heart is hard.
But it turns out there's a dreadful difference between the tears of a preschooler and the tears of an infant. A preschooler has both language and agency. You can explain things to a preschooler: Your Mommy is coming back. Crayons are poisonous. I told you not to run. Preschoolers' brains are tiny, but those tiny brains do tend to have some grasp of cause and effect.
Try explaining things to a two month old.
Hence my retreat to the hall, where I resorted to ragged repetition of my sole parenthood mantra: Not "be a good mother," because, heck, I know I'm going to bomb there, but "be a good enough mother."
"Good enough" means trying not to kill anyone. It means muddling through. It means admitting that I'm probably not going to be an awesome parent, but also that, if I put some effort in, I'm likely to rise above piss poor. Set the bar low and trundle over it: parenthood at its finest.
In the meantime, I'm pawning all remaining shots off on Dad.