I’m at that stage of pregnancy where reality is setting in. Little kicks and tiny pokes offer daily reminders that the sweet baby developing inside my body will soon be an actual real-life baby who lives in my house.
I've done this newborn thing once before. So, my daydreams of little cherubic babies in little white bonnets are balanced by memories of all-night feeding sessions, diaper-blowouts, and *shudder* colic.
Those hazy, sleep-deprived early days with my first daughter were not easy. We’d make it to the end of the day frazzled and cranky. By 5pm, Stella would start fussing. By 6pm, it was full-on screams.
I’m more than a little worried that baby number two will be equally skilled in the screaming department. So, in preparation, I’m remembering some tricks and techniques that I used to get me through those long, screamy evenings.
One of the most difficult things about colic was managing it on my own. My husband’s long hours meant I was flying solo most evenings. So, I started preparing for battle colic ahead of time.
I’d cook dinner in the afternoon. Right before colic time, I’d plate my dinner, maybe pour a glass of wine, and set a make-shift table in my bedroom.
I’d get my laptop ready. I’d bookmark my favorite blogs, and queue up trashy TV and good movies. With that, dinner and the evening’s entertainment were sorted.
Set The Stage.
There were a few things that calmed Stella: a cool, dark room, white noise, and constant motion. As we approached the crisis hour, I’d get ready.
I’d draw the curtains and crank up the AC. I’d turn on the vacuum (sorry neighbors!) and position our trusty baby hammock right next to the bed.
When whimpers turned to wails, I’d place my babe in her hammock. Perched on my bed, computer on my lap, I’d spend the next four or five hours rocking, bouncing, and swinging my girl in the dark.
Make Some Lemonade.
Colic is rotten. It really is no fun. But dwelling on the hours I lost to a crying baby wasn’t helpful for me. So I tried to make lemonade with my colicky lemons.
I reminded myself that, despite colic, I could still enjoy a good meal. I could watch a movie or spend hours cruising my favorite blogs -- a total luxury for a new parent! I took pleasure in the ritual of preparing for the witching hour and, in the predictable pace of our evenings. I almost learned to enjoy our time in the colic cocoon.
I certainly hope that baby number two does not have colic. Like, I really, really, really hope -- cross your fingers for me please? But I also know that if the screams start up, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to make those colic months a whole lot less painful.
Erica Knecht is a mother, writer, and professional nomad, currently based in Jakarta, Indonesia. When not gallivanting across Asia with her toddler in tow, she writes about the lighter side of tri-cultural parenting on her blog expatriababy.com