Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bring the Noise

One of these years I'm going to learn how to stop being so damned smug. Either that or the universe is just going to keep smacking me in the head every once in a while, especially when I'm so obviously asking for it.

I just couldn't stop talking about what a pleasant baby Bo is. How happy he is all the time. How even with the reflux, he's still bubbly and giggly and how he'll projectile vomit and then laugh. My baby is the best baby in whole wide world. So there.

Right. Except for the screaming.

We took Bo to the doctor yesterday for his 2 month checkup* - he'll be 11 weeks old on Thursday - and during our conversation I asked for tips on how to make bath time easier. I think my exact words were how to make it not a living nightmare. Because, seriously**. The doctor suggested switching bath time to the mornings if we find that Bo is in a better mood. I said that might be a good idea since Bo is a miserable, screaming disaster from about 6 - 9pm every night and he said yeah, that's colic.

Colic. When I'd been mouthing off all over the place about how my boy is so great and do babies even get colic anymore? What the hell is colic anyway? Bam. Here's some colic. Shut up smug lady.

It's so sad, the screaming, and there's nothing I can do about it. He just screams and screams, his little tongue curled back in his mouth and his face all red. He screams so hard he stops making any sound and then coughs and hacks and screams some more. He screams so hard he makes his skin all blotchy for hours afterward. I walk him and talk to him in low tones and sing to him and do that obnoxious shushing noise but there's really nothing to do but wait until he feels better. Sometimes he'll rip a few killer farts and that helps. Yesterday and today we had scream fests in the morning too. Today he did not take one nap that lasted more than an hour.

And then I get scared. Today he wore himself out screaming but he wasn't sleeping. He was just sitting in his swing and sort of staring into space, without really blinking, which was totally freaking me out. Then he fell asleep and I couldn't leave him sleep in the swing because he just looked so strange; the look on his face was not one I'd ever seen before and it was unsettling and I get scared when I see things like that because the specter is always there. The specter of SIDS that never fully leaves my consciousness. So instead of leaving him nap in his swing I picked him up and stretched him out on my chest to nap. I wasn't going to get any laundry done that way but I would be able to feel every breath he took and thereby keep breathing myself.

I know it's upsetting for him too because he just wants to be held. He will not be put down when he's awake on a day when he's feeling especially screamy. Interestingly, today he was fine as long as he could see me. He was cool in his swing while I puttered around and fought the never ending war against animal hair (tumbleweeds of pet hair blow across your path around here) , but as soon as I was out of sight, the bottom lip would poke out and the whimpering would start. He cat napped in his bassinet this afternoon while I fought the Ikea dresser from hell one more time but again, as soon as I was out of his line of sight, instant whining. He'll tolerate the sling but he has to be in the mood for it, and that hasn't been recently.

It's exhausting and there are moments when I think I may actually go insane if the screaming doesn't stop Right. This. Minute. It's not the noise. I'm impervious to the noise. It's the fact that there's nothing I can do and he's so upset and I can't fix it for him and he can't tell me what's wrong. There are days when I want to hand Bo off to Frank as soon as he gets home from work because I just need a damn minute to maybe walk around the block and regroup. But it's not like Frank just came home from a day at the beach and it's not fair to thrust a screaming, writhing boy into his arms when he's just getting home from a long day of his own.

It's not the worst case in the world. He doesn't cry for consecutive hours. He takes breaks and short naps - because he wears himself the hell out - and he's still cheerful and happy and smiley. He still smiles and gurgles at me when he wakes, even if he screamed himself to sleep twenty minutes earlier. And he's still the best baby in the whole world, colic and reflux be damned.


* For those of you keeping score, Bo came in at 15lbs 7oz and 25 inches long. He's a frickin' moose. All of his development is right on track and he's even a little ahead of the game in that he's already recognized himself in the mirror and cracks himself up making faces and talking to himself. Because he's a genius.

** I may never bathe this child again. Today I decided to take advantage of his very cheerful mood to give him his first bath since last Wednesday. Frank was all ready with the video camera and as soon as Bo's foot touched the water, it was over. The screaming and the writhing began. If Bo had better motor skills he would launch himself right out of his whale of a tub, I'm sure. This screaming really gets me because I'm doing it to him and I'm causing him to be that way. It's so not worth it.

How dirty could he possibly be getting anyway?

My boy doesn't actually have freaky colorless eyes without pupils. It was either this or red, demon eyes. This is the best I could do with the red eye reduction tool. His eyes are still the dark, crystal blue they were at birth.


Lora said...

bathing is overrated.
the wipedowns are where it's at.

and my aunt told me that the only way she could make it thru the screaming with my colicky cousin was to look at the clock and actually time the screaming so you know your child isn't in endless agony.

it's true. what seemed like a lifetime with Jake was really only 10 minutes at a time usually

Rinny said...

He is a hoss! But adorable. Sorry about the colic that stinks. Harper does the no noise crying followed by hacking too. It's weird.