Every evening, somewhere around 6pm, my baby gets fussy and cries. No, screams. For a few hours. Sometimes everything Stu and I try to calm him down works and sometimes it doesn’t. He likes to be swaddled, he likes to be held, he likes to go for walks, and he likes it when I sing to him. He also likes to eat, a lot. Some days, it’s exhausting trying to keep up with him. Hold him, feed him, change him, repeat. Some days, breastfeeding feels incredibly isolating and overwhelming. It’s all on me. Stu can’t help me with this one. Grandma can’t either. Just all me.
I’m a perfectionist and I want to do everything right. Especially this. Parenting. If there is one thing in life that no one should screw up, this is it. Right? So, I’ve done what I typically do. I do my research. I read everything. And, like usual, there are disagreeing extremes. It’s insane how many possible remedies for colic there are!
I just want to be clear. I’m not writing this post for parenting advice from the masses on social media. I definitely don’t claim to know it all. It’s just that I have a pediatrician. I have close friends who are veteran moms that I seek wisdom from personally. I have access to a lactation consultant. Unsolicited parenting advice usually leaves me more confused than informed. Basically, what I’m trying to gently say is this: I’m going to blog about parenting now. You may disagree. You may have a better idea. You may think since I only have 8 weeks of experience, that I don’t know anything. While that may be true, can we keep it to ourselves? Truthfully, I write posts like this for myself. As a creative outlet, as a processing tool, as a way to express my emotions, and as a way to document a precious time in my life. I only share it in hopes that it’s meaningful to others and because close family and friends have told me they enjoy reading what I write. So, no helpful comments are necessary, kapeesh? 😉
Anyway, sorry for the tangent. My perfectionism does not help me relax during those screaming moments. I feel like there must be a solution so I try everything! And when nothing seems to work, I get overwhelmed, overtired, and stressed out. Most babies simply have to outgrow it, or so I’m told. And in those helpless moments I find myself asking, “How long is this going to last?”
The screaming always stops eventually. He nurses himself to sleep and cuddles up for the night. He is soft and warm. His chubby little hand has a fistful of my hair, like he’s clinging to me for dear life. He just looks so peaceful and sweet that I can’t stand it. I smell the top of his head and immediately regret asking my question because I know the answer. How long is this going to last? Not long enough.
Colic is hard. Breastfeeding is hard. It’s hard being the only one who can meet his needs right now. But, it’s also a privilege to be his mama right now. When he cries, he wants me. Only me. Someday, not too far in the future, he’ll stop crying. If he’s like his dad, he may never, ever cry again! 😉 I’ll want him to need me, but he’ll be independent. I’ll want to be the one he wants, but he’ll want his dad. For guy stuff. And at that point, what will I know? The experts say colic usually resolves itself around 3 to 4 months. What’s 3 to 4 months in the grand scheme of his entire life? (I’ll try to remind myself of that tonight when he starts fussing again!)
The experts also say that if I hold him too much and rock him or nurse him to sleep, that he won’t be able to self soothe. I get that. I understand it. But, he’s so little right now! He’ll only stay snuggled like this on my chest for a few short months. In time, he’ll push me away because he’s crawling towards his toys. Too busy for cuddles. Or he’ll be walking out the door with a backpack on to school. Or across the stage to get his degree. It sounds sappy but it’s true! I’ll teach him to self soothe soon enough. When the colic is gone and he’s a little older. Right now, he belongs curled up right here listening to my heartbeat.
How many growing boys like kisses from their mom? Not many I know. Therefore, I drop one on his little head or cheeks whenever my heart desires. He can’t stop me now but someday, he will. How long is this going to last? Not long enough.
A friend recently reminded me that God gives babies to just the right mama for them. And he gave Colton to me, not to anyone else. I’ll make mistakes but I truly don’t believe that God will let me mess him up. Rather, I think he’ll continue to equip me to know what’s right and what’s best for Mr. C. In the meantime, I’m leaning on Him to get us through the rough times.
Another friend reminded me of this verse. I think it speaks for itself.
“He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.” -Isaiah 40:11
To my son: Watching you grow up so fast is tougher than colic. So, even when it’s hard on your mama- stay little, little man.