Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Did I *actually* say this child never cries?

Uh, scratch that folks. We have entered a new phase. Gone are the good old quiet days, so tragically short-lived. Roan has begun to find her voice. The good news is that she has strong lungs. Very strong.

They say it's pretty typical at around 4-6 weeks for babies to start getting fussier, crying more, being harder to soothe, and having a harder time with gas. These are the symptoms of what gets the blanket label of "colic." And it seems our perfect angel is not exempt from this next stage in development.

For the most part it hasn't been too bad. And by "too bad" I mean I haven't jumped off any bridges yet. It's weird. She can go from smiling and cooing one minute to writhing and shrieking the next. She pulls her legs in and makes the most piteous frowny faces, seeming to suffer from terrible gas pains. And she can produce a symphony of bodily function noises to go with it - burping, gurgling, farting, pooping and spitting up.

One of the challenges of dealing with these fussy periods is that they are unpredictable as to when they will strike. If we get a hankering to go out to eat, we don't know whether she'll sleep through the meal or scream through it. And when I wake up in the morning I don't know if we'll be having a fussy start to the day or if all will be well till it's time for bed at night. It's just sort of moment to moment.

I think we're managing pretty well. When it's really bad Arwen, Jen and I take turns passing her around, patting her this way or bouncing her that way until finally something works. It's usually a matter of working our way through the dozen or two possible methods of soothing her until finally something does the trick.

I will say that I had two horrendous nights with her last week. I think the problem wasn't colic but a growth spurt instead. For two days straight she basically wanted to nurse all the time - instead of every 2-3 hours it was more like every hour. And instead of sleeping at night for a 4-5 hour stretch, she was awake and crying every hour or 2, sometimes every 45 minutes. And for those two days, if she wasn't nursing or sleeping she was screaming. I would get up in the morning wrecked but still facing a full day of Mommy Duty. It was not pretty. Jen and Arwen really stepped up though, watching her so I could sneak in a nap or a shower. And then - mercifully - after two days of agony she resumed a more normal routine as far as nursing and sleeping. All I can say is I'm glad that's behind us.

Even though it turns out our child is an actual human baby and not a perfect angel, she is still pretty terrific. Even on the days with the worst crying (except for the 2 days mentioned above which will forever live in infamy) she has her funny cute moments too. She always wakes up with a big, contagious smile on her face. She cracks me up with how engrossed she is by the mobile that hangs above her crib. I can lay her down crying for a diaper change, and one glimpse of that mobile and she's smiling and cooing. I mean what is it about clouds, moons and stars that is just so freaking hilarious? I also love the way her cheeks are taking over her face as she fattens up nicely. I adore the dimples in her elbows and the backs of her hands. Her little feet with their oversized toes are so cute. And when she's not crying with tummy pains, she sure smiles a lot. More rarely, she coos. And once she even seemed to laugh. I love the way she looks right into my eyes as she nurses. And when she falls asleep at my breast with a look of utter contentment on her peaceful face. Those are the moments I just soak up like a sponge.


Anonymous said...

Welcome to parenthood!
The Good
The bad
and The not-so-hot.
I hope you record her coos and crys, even the loud stressed ones, and mention her age on the recording. It will be priceless later. If she continues to cry a lot, much later.
Love, GGD

Anonymous said...

ok so Jough and I are thinking - no- on kids!
just kidding! I actually appreciate your honesty and reality check because no one tells you the bad stuff in detail.
Miss you guys!
Sarah and Jough