Weekend Madness

The weekend was a fine example of why many people choose not to clutter up their lives with children. Billy woke up at 7 on Saturday wanting milk (what else). He drank on and off till nine, then projectile vomited. Then he was hungry again. He drank till 11, and then projectile vomited again. Then he was hungry again. Unfortunately the laws of supply and demand kick in and there is no milk left. Thus we had bitter tears and recriminations in the form of anguished pouts and excruciatingly pleading eyes.

Of course all of this was on Heidi’s shoulders; I am the hapless observer offering pathetic crumbs of encouragement like ‘well, it’ll teach him to throw up all his food!’ or ‘at least he isn’t dead!’ My words had little effect on Heidi’s manic state of mind.

Around 3PM things improved; by this time Heidi had spent 8 hours straight servicing his needs. We went for a walk in the park and the motion of the carriage subdued him for nearly 3 hours. Returning home he roused and started his evening roaring session. This has become a routine now, any time between 6 and 8 he goes crazy. He completely forgets how to feed and bounces off Heidi’s breasts like a drunken sailor. Heidi went to ‘La Leche League’ yesterday and the woman told her that in China this stressful time is known as the ‘100 days crying’, other cultures call these hours ‘the witching hours’. NOBODY told us about this before. Thank you.

When this happens we carry him around, Heidi keeps trying to feed him or give him his dummy, we pull faces, we coo, we curse, we rock, we squeeze and we burp him and eventually he nods off.

Around 10pm I escaped to a friend’s house for an hour or two whilst they slept. On my return it was nappy change time and it was my turn to do it. As soon as I got the nappy off pee flew up in the air and a jet of what looked like pesto squirted onto his freshly laundered mat. This was ironic as pesto was the only thing we’d had time to prepare that day.

Sunday was worse; he decided not to wait until the evening to forget how to drink milk. He had his first wobbler at 6am and spent most of the day screaming. We went to the park for lunch and he slept for a little while but other than that it was endless. Soothing words from my mother persuaded Heidi that she should use the bottle before she goes mad. Heidi pumped a ton of milk and Billy drank it no problem from the bottle. This isn’t a full capitulation, not yet. She is still putting him on the breast most of the time, but the no bottles rule is out. 36 hours of screaming does strange things to the mind. Heidi has decided it isn’t good for either of them. Or me.

He is lucky he is so adorably cute otherwise he would’ve been flushed down the toilet like a dead fish long ago.

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Torah Train

I awoke with a start on the train this evening, my head knocking against the shoulder of a young boy sat next to me. When I came to I saw there was a tall Hasidic man stood directly in front of me. I noticed he was reading a thick leather-bound book written in Hebrew, perhaps the Torah, I’ve no idea. The script reminded me of Arabic and I started thinking about that episode of Sister Wendy I spoke of in my previous post. In the episode she shows us a page from the Holy Koran. The writing is so beautiful, she says, that Muslims believe just being in its presence is a blessing. Sister Wendy presents this notion in such a beguiling way I was quite taken by it.

My pleasant thoughts didn’t last long, all thoughts of Islam these days can lead to only one place and I found myself thinking about ‘Terror’. I still find this word clumsy on the tongue but it is as good as any I suppose. I imagined the man in front of me was a Muslim wearing a turban and it was the Koran he was holding, I thought I might have been scared if this was the case; shameful thoughts I know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if even decent Muslims feel the same way of late.

Then a horrifying thought entered my head. What if the Hasidic guy was an Islamist in disguise? I knew the absurdity of what I was thinking but I also new I was onto something. The guy had a bag on the floor and a large rucksack on his back. I looked up to see his face. He was fairly dark skinned. I started wondering how dark Jewish people can be. I knew I was being stupid and ignorant and probably racist but the thoughts kept coming. Wouldn’t dressing as a Hasidic Jew be the perfect disguise? Who would ever stop you and check your bag? And what about all those mad clerics who believe in Zionist plots to take over the world? They’d have a field day when they saw the CCTV footage on the news. Oh brain, please, no more!

I couldn’t stop thinking about it, we were approaching the Manhattan Bridge and I pictured the moment of the explosion. It would destroy my fellow passengers, the train, half the bridge and myself. Being high above the water made the prospect all the more terrifying. Why? My shattered body would have further to fall perhaps? The twitching nerves in my charred remains would get an unpleasant shock as they splashed into the East River?

I looked around the train and into the weary faces of the commuters. I considered that things like this had actually happened in Israel, in Britain and throughout the world. There really are individuals who would murder these people for no reason. No sane reason anyway.

I didn’t even calm down when we’d crossed the bridge. I’d promised myself whilst still over the water that if I made it to the other side I’d get off at the first stop. As we were pulling into Dekalb Avenue the man pulled the book out of the bag on the floor and opened his rucksack. My whole body froze; he’s going to drop the Torah on the detonator! This would be the final blasphemous irony; sure to be rewarded when he met his deranged maker.

Why I tensed my body so much I don’t know, I doubt shrapnel has a harder time getting through tense flesh. The bag was one foot from my face and I morbidly pondered whether I’d prefer the nails to go through my eyes first and come out the back of my skull or the other way around. I turned my head sideways; my eyes seemed too delicate to take the full force of the blast. These are Heidi and Billy’s eyes I thought, how can this man want to steel them from my family. How dare he!

When we got to the station I got up and walked as fast as I could to the other end of the platform. As I calmed down, I slowly came to my senses, realizing how stupid and melodramatic I’d been. I also realized I’d been affected by Terror for the first time. I began to hope in my heart that there is an afterlife, as I can think of no earthly punishment fitting enough for the immensity of these crimes.

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