It’s strange how life changes once you’re subjugated to a little bundle of joy. For one, your vocabulary expands. I’ve said the word fussy more times in two months of parenthood than I had in three-plus decades of a previous existence, an existence when the only he-who-shall-not-be-named was Lord Voldemort, when I lived blissfully unaware of the existence of the Dark Lord Colic. It’s not that I hadn’t heard the word colic before. I just confused it with cholera, a disease that modern medicine has mostly conquered. Thus, I didn’t spend much brain power pondering colic, believing health care professionals had everything under control.
However, after Thomas set a high-water mark for tears, I studied up on the dreaded term colic. My wife asked me, “Do you think he’s got it? He’s been crying for over three hours.” Though I hated to admit it, the evidence was pointing in that direction–fed, burped, and diapered and he was still red-faced and screaming.
I’ve since learned that, like the number of licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know what causes colic because doctors have thrown up their hands and given up on curing it. Now, they more or less give you a rain slicker and tell you to batten down the hatches. “It gets better,” they say, usually after week eight. And sure enough, it did. In fact, I wouldn’t consider Thomas a colicky baby. He had a collicky week in which neither pacifier, nor bottle, nor swing, nor rocking chair, nor sweet lullaby, nor pleading parent could separate him from the love of God-awful wailing.
The Witching Hour
The witching hour, a colloquialism for the prefered hour in which a baby decides to go bonkers, usually started for Thomas around 5 pm. Thereafter, to hear Thomas tell it, he had more blues than B.B. King at a Memphis nightclub on a Friday night. He would wail away for hours, with us feeling as helpless as he actually was. And then, for reasons beyond our comprehension, he would just cease crying and then smile and act as happy as can be, as if he hadn’t just spent the last few hours practicing for the time in his life when he’ll have to pass a kidney stone. And then the next day, he would do it all over again.
This lasted for a week, though it felt like a good forty days and forty nights of continuous outbursts. And then, for no perceivable reason, the skies cleared, a rainbow appeared, and a dove descended with an olive branch, metaphorically speaking.
This week, in fact, I’ve actually gone from daydreaming about dreams to actually dreaming. Last night I had an old recurring dream: I was being chased by tornadoes again. Usually, I classify this dream, in which menacing twisters follow me in my rear-view mirror, as a nightmare, but this time I got out of the car and walked up to the tornadoes and gave them a big hug, like I was welcoming home some long lost friends.