There is a club for parents of colicky babies. A no fee–except for your sanity–club. You might not have signed up for it. But a small baby came out screaming and stayed screaming, and in that moment, your membership was renewed for life.
The following are a few signs you are the parent or have been the parent of a colicky baby. Let’s talk truth.
You assume that all babies spit up a majority of the milk they’ve just drank, and as a result, go through three outfits a day, not counting an endless supply of bibs.
People stare at you for bouncing, whether or not you have a baby in your arms. Who am I kidding? Of course you have a baby in your arms. Because NO ONE ELSE can hold your baby. You try, oh, you’ve tried. You’ll hand that baby off to anyone who’s willing to hold your child. But here’s the deal… no one else can. Your baby can be sleeping peacefully in your arms, be gently handed off to a family member draped in one of your shirts in order to imitate your scent, and your child will wake as though they’ve been pinched. At this point they’ll begin to scream, and you’ll begin the task of putting them back to sleep. By doing what? The baby bounce. Added to this is the fact that you have not had two seconds to go to the bathroom in the last eight hours. FOR THE LOVE. You now attempt to hold your child, use the restroom, and pull up your pants (let’s be honest here—your pajama pants) with one hand.
People say things like this to you… Have you tried burping him/her? And you want to respond like this… Burping? Why no, I never thought of that. What other advice do you have? Oh, changing diapers and feeding the baby? THANK YOU FOR THE ADVICE. PERHAPS WHEN I’M DRIVING DOWN THE FREEWAY AT TWO IN THE MORNING, I’LL GIVE YOU A CALL AND YOU CAN DIAGNOSE MY CHILD’S PIERCING SCREAM OVER THE PHONE.
Your child only sleeps for small amounts at a time. They can be in your arms, a swing, a crib or a car seat sleeping away, but at forty-five minutes (fill in your child’s wake-up time here), they will yank themselves out of sleep, their eyes will fly open and they’ll begin to… I’m not going to finish this one. You know what happens next.
You stock up on D batteries for the swing and hypoallergenic baby formula. The second of those requires a second mortgage on your house.
You end up yelling at random grocery store workers and gas station employees who have done nothing wrong except to end up in your path on a day when you haven’t slept and can no longer remember what personal hygiene is. You want to whisper this to them… I’m the parent of a colicky baby right now. As soon as we get through this stage, I assume I’ll remember how to be nice again. But you don’t say anything. You just slink away, baby tucked into the Baby Bjorn attached to your chest. And that smell radiating from your child’s diaper? The one that smells a bit like green toxic waste? You’re used to that.
And lastly, you walk around whispering the serenity-now prayer for parents of colicky babies:
So, when you see another parent with that look–that haggard, worn-out, orange-carrot-spit-up-on-their-shirt-look–just throw a fist bump against your left shoulder and give them a chin lift of understanding.
Don’t tell them that the baby will grow out of it. Or that it’s just a phase. Or this too shall pass. And please, please don’t tell them to cherish the moments because they “grow up too fast”.
Right now, they just might need a hug. Or a meal.
Or someone to go the bathroom for them.