Eventually I rocked her to sleep, and wondered what the hell was wrong with me that I would yell at a baby.
Yeah, I'm tired. Yeah, I'm stressed. Yeah, I'm struggling. Yeah, I haven't slept well the last couple of nights. Yeah, I have been a single parent since last Thursday morning (last Monday if you figure Someone was busy packing and getting ready for his trip), and yeah, I have been trying to catch up with housework that has been left undone for far too long (and is easier to do when no one else is home, like mopping the floors).
She's a baby. She laughs, she cries, she occasionally shrieks with fury or delight. She can't tell me she's hungry, or uncomfortable, or tired; it's a guessing game. She resents falling asleep. She fights it until the last moment, struggling until she drops off, suddenly limp and warm against me, and that's some of the best stuff right there.
So I yelled at her.
And I felt like crap for it, and cried right along with her.
I held her while she slept that deep, profound sleep that only babies know, and reminded myself that she will not remember, that she will not be scarred for life. When she woke up at three in the morning and wouldn't let me put her down, I carried her into my room and let her cuddle up to me until she dozed off and then woke again at eight. Much of that time, I was only half asleep, aware of the little girl next to me, aware of her breath on my neck, aware of her soft little sighs, aware of her warmth and weight...aware, and grateful.
I do my best, and I am so very aware of how often it is barely, or not quite, enough.
My poor kids...I'm not perfect...