Saturday, September 13, 2008

Colic Sucks

It's 11pm. Do you know where your kid is?

My boy is in my husband's arms screaming his head off. Tomato face and all. This happens almost every evening between the hours of 8pm and 11pm. Sometimes a tad earlier or a tad later but always the same scenario.

He's been fed. He's been changed. He's been played with. He's been walked around and bounced. We've played music and turned the lights down low. We've put him in his swing. We've cuddled. We have exhausted almost all of our standbys to no avail. Putting him on the boob does tend to work but it also makes him spit up profusely, as he isn't really hungry but inevitably swallows the unwanted milk. I'm not sure if he just gets overtired or overstimulated or if it is true colic. Whatever it is - it stinks. I feel so helpless as Nate cries and there is nothing I can do to soothe him.

DH is losing patience. Fast. But he refuses to hand him over to me for help. He insists that the baby wants me, even though I assure him he would cry just as much in my arms. I know deep down inside, he'd probably cry a little less. But that's just because I'm the mommy. Mommies have that intuition. That instinct. Or in my case, they develop it as they get to know their little one. We can make things better. We're boo-boo fixers.

Of course, Nate prefers me slightly at this point. (1) I'm his food source. (2) I'm the one who has been home all day with him for the past 7 weeks. The only time I've left him is for an hour to get my hair cut while DH babysat (and believe me, I was dying to get out of the salon the minute I walked in).

DH, on the other hand, only had a week of paternity leave before returning back to work. He was supposed to have 2 weeks off but his work requested he return early. Yes, they are asshats but I have a whole 'nother post in the works about that. He works close to 50-60 hours a week, including some nights and weekends. He also cooks dinner every night for us after his 9am-6pm schedule. He's exhausted in the evenings and wants to unwind by working out, watching a movie, playing a video game or listening to some music. So, I take the baby and give him the R&R I know he needs. On weekends, he is the fundamental family man but it is really the only time he has one-on-one with Nate. At least when Nate is in a good or semi-good mood.

I want them to bond. But it is hard when the baby is crying and I can see the frustration written all over DH's face. My first instinct is to swoop in and take over. But I have to step back and I have to let DH learn for himself. I have to let him be the daddy. Even when he is obviously screwing things up (i.e. pouring water in the baby's eye during bathtime), I try not to nag. I've had to let the little stuff slide and realize that he is trying. It may not be up to my "standards" and I may not always agree with what he's doing (i.e. not using wipes after a pee) but I have to let him do it. I can offer suggestions or recommend things that have worked for me (i.e. "Have you tried holding him chest-to-chest? That seemed to help last time.") but that's as far as I can go. And it's not easy. But I realize Nate needs to be able to rely on and trust his father. He won't be able to do that if I'm always controlling everything.

It's funny how before Nate came along, I was the impatient one and DH was always the calm, cool and collected one. My how the roles have changed. It's like giving birth tamed me. Not that I have infinite patience but it certainly takes a lot to really upset me. I can take a lot of crying, screaming, fussing, etc. before it really gets to me. DH on the other hand can only take a few minutes before he starts to lose it.

Ahh, the sweet sound of peace. The boy is finally down. Only took an hour this go round. And DH has just breathed a sigh of relief. A much needed confidence/ego boost. There's another colic slayer in town.


Melissa said...

Kristen, I am so thankful for your new blog. As a first time mom-to-be, I'm pretty clueless when it comes to babies. Your everyday stories are givng me a great deal of [realisitic] insight into what motherhood will be like.

I hope Nate's colic calms down a bit; it must be terribly frustrating for you & DH. As everyone always says... "this, too, shall pass."

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

Lemy is very similar in her nighttime antics. We've found that Gripe water, given four times throughout the day has helped to calm her at night. It's supposed to reduce colic symptoms that result from an aggravated tummy. They sell it at Target and its main ingredients are ginger and baking soda. I highly recommend giving it a try as it has really helped us get through. It's helped with the inconsolable crying, hiccups and spitting up.

Lemy still freaks out sometimes and like Nate, she prefers me to G at such times but it is far better than it once was.

Hang in there! :)

kim said...

Delurking to say , my daughter did the same. I just resigned myself to not plan anything during these certain evening hours except walking the floor with her. Frustrating as it was, it helped me to know that it would be over at a certain hour as well. I would watch the clock and sure enough she usually was finished around the same time each night. Good Luck, he is gorgeous by the way.

Rachel said...

LG had colic too, it is tough. I just want to remind you that you aren't doing anything wrong. Just comfort your son as best you can. Go for a drive, take turns rocking him, walk with him, sing, it is something he will eventually outgrow.

If you start feeling frustrated with your son or the situation, take a break for awhile. I would occasionally put LG in his crib and take a shower. The shower helped me feel better and I couldn't hear him over the water. The 10 minutes of relaxation would help me through the crying spells.

I wish I could give you a hug.

wirrek said...

I am a fan of the "bouncy ball". It is just one of those big excercise balls you get at walmart for like 11 bucks. You just cradle your baby, and sit on it and bounce. I like it better than walking the floor because you can sit, but it kills your back after 10 minutes.

Geohde said...

It sure sounds like classic colic and you're doing all the right things.

It helps to remember it passes, and if it gets bad enough, your little man will not be harmed by being put down in his cot to yell for a bit- while you both get some much needed space and perspective :)

You're doing great.


Fertilized said...

I am sorry you are dealing with a coli-y fella. Hang in there.

Sounds like y'all will get the hang of it. I had to step back and stop hovering over hubs and baby. It may not be our way ..buts it's ok to have Dad's way ..even if mom doesn't do it that way. That's life

sara said...

Your post made me smile - saw your blog on Lost and Found. I'm hoping the colic stays calm and that things continue to move forward well!

Barb said...

I like this blog. :)

Grad3 said...

L was (and still sorta is) the exact same way and is getting better at tolerating the crying everyday.

I am not sure this well help- but I was colic for the first 4 months and I am so grateful that my parents let me live :) I know that Nate will be grateful too...

I know that I can only imagine how hard this is for you but I am cheering you on- hang in there!

eggorchicken said...

Hey :)
Just found your blog today and am really enjoying it! I have a 3.5 year old daughter and 15 month old son and I find myself constantly nodding and grinning at the memories you're evoking.

On the colic side, my daughter also did the evening screaming thing for a few weeks. I eventually noticed a link to my eating dairy (especially chocolate/chocolate cake etc) and her screaming. Within days of cutting out chocolate/dairy and caffeine we had peaceful nights! It's a hard commodity to give up, but those peaceful nights are worth it!! Maybe consider giving it a whirl?

Either way it will pass. ENJOY your little guy, he is an absolute CUTIE! :D