Post by Jessica R.
When my second child was born I discovered just how hard it was to care for an infant and a toddler all on zero sleep. I’m not proud to admit it, but I lost my temper on more than one occasion, usually over the silliest things possible. So there I’d sit, racked with guilt over having snapped because the two year old had spilled some crayons on the floor, whined about another cookie or even sung too loud.
I’d sit there and want to sob at the sight of her tiny face contorted in grief. And then I’d want to cry even harder when she’d sidle up to me and whisper, “I love you mommy,” in my ear, taking care not to wake up the infant sleeping in my arms.
That’s my baby. I get mad at her, and she feels the need to comfort me.
At some point in my sleep deprived haze I realized that she wasn’t just trying to comfort me, she was trying to get me to tell her I loved her too.
That’s also my baby, she’s one of the people who think that if you’re mad at them you don’t love them any more.
So I made up a ditty that I sang whenever she was mad or sad, I was mad or sad, or we were both mad or sad.
It went a little something like this:
“I love you when I’m grumpy, I love you when I’m sad,
I love you when I’m frumpy, I love you when I’m sad.
I love you when you’re grumpy, I love you when you’re mad,
I love you when you’re naughty, I love you when you’re sad.
I love you, love you, love you all the time.”
It was not the work of a true poet, or even of someone who has any call writing lyrics to songs, but it did the trick. When I’d start singing she’d stop looking terrified and lost, and I’d miraculously start to feel better too. The tune and the tempo often changed, but the gist remained. I’d start off with those phrases and let the song get sillier and sillier until we were both giggling through our tears.
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