April 15, 2014
I wrote this in the thick of it. I offer no advice for fellow mom's going through "witching hour" woes. But I offer my support and solidarity. It gets better as they get older, sort of.
My daughter cries every night from roughly 6:30pm until about 9:30pm. This was known to everyone but me as the “witching hour”. Technically this is 3 hours, plural, Charlotte; always the over-achiever (like her mom). She will pause, slip in a smile every 10 minutes or so and then go right back into grunts, wails, and full blown screaming-tandem-festivals (I refer to them as festivals because it sounds better than her scream crying for 10 minutes and then me scream crying in the guest room for 10 minutes and so on and so forth). In case you didn’t do the math this is about 170 minutes worth of the rough stuff.
The doctor said and I quote, “I am tempted to give her a colic diagnosis” but then based on the gas she was able to emit during her 2 month appointment the results are still inconclusive. It all seems highly scientific, until we asked the doctor how to help her pass gas, and she showed us by pressing lightly on her stomach. Our daughter finds farting quite enjoyable and hilarious, which gives my husband and I the peace of mind of knowing that she is in fact our child. As her mom, I somehow took personal offense to the idea that I could have a “colicky baby” and quickly dismissed this as a possibility. To me “colicky baby” coming from the doctor sounds like you are a bad mother and CPS has been notified. I especially reject this diagnosis because doctors seriously have no idea how to treat colic and it appears that many of the “treatments” should be called "basic parenting 101". When "treatment #1” is to “hold your baby” you begin to wonder if perhaps it’s coming from the same genius MD who suggested getting plenty of rest when you have a cold. "Treatment #2" is to "gently pat your baby on the back". Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.
6:30pm is about when my husband gets home from work. Being an engineer he did the math and realized that about 90% of his time with her is when she is crying. I remember when she was about a month old he asked me how in the world I could stay home with her every day. The truth is, Charlotte is the perfect baby during the day. She is wonderfully predictable. I have never seen a happier child. But I witness her transform just as my husband is pulling into the driveway; it looks something similar to a gremlin when it gets wet. I have had people without kids ask me how my husband and I survive this night after night and I am reminded of the fact that moms still decide to get pregnant again even after nine months of morning sickness or 39 hours of labor. There is some sort of motherhood amnesia that we undergo because every morning I wake up and Charlotte smiles at me, while we do the big diaper reveal, and I cross my fingers that I won’t uncover what my husband has coined “a poo-pocalypse”, and all the events of the past evening are forgiven and quite literally wiped clean.