Follow on Bloglovin
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
You can also find Monica's writing here:
Search The Girl Who
« Bah-Bah-Baby. | Main | The Ballad Of Two Couch Potatoes. »

Ladies and Gentlemen, My Face Is Melting.

On Monday, around lunchtime, El Diablo backed his black'n'flame three-story dump truck right up to my house, released a lever, and unloaded a good three or four tons of hellfire onto the roof. It came crashing down into the living room where I was standing and landed on Violet, who was in my arms semi-asleep. There I was one second just whiffing her milky burps, my nose to hers, a little lullabye to see her off. And then out of the blue my baby gets dipped in Inferno.

Her eyes bulged and I gently asked her what was up. You burping? She didn't really respond but rather began throttling her stubby arms as if she was trying to take off for a little flight around the room. Then, the dreaded sounds: slow rolling fogs of moan that pile into and on top of one another like a terrible highway scene, until its just a single blood-curdling scream on high.

Oh my.

I panicked, I guess. I tried the binky but but no dice. We whirled around the room singing fucking Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer again ; these days in times of despair it is my go-to tune even though I don't want it to be; it just is. Purple baby face. Tears. Crying so hard you can see the dogs look up at you with eyes begging for me to shower mercy upon them, to spare us all this harsh midday torture session. But it was useless. Everything was useless.

Six hours later it was still pretty much going on. I'd put her down for a sec in her swing, the fires would burn hotter. I'd pick her up, move toward...I dunno...the yard?...and she'd squeal the squeal of an unsettled soul. I fed. I diaper changed. I stood by the shower, hoping the tranquility of running water might enchant her. Nada. Twice giant poos offered the possible promise of relief...but no. Finally, I felt the Devil's fingers grappling in my torched hair.He was flirting with me and it was fucking working. Seduced by evil: I looked down at my daughter and screamed out 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!'

I set poor bawling Violet down in her crib and walked into the bathroom and slapped myself in the face. Except what was supposed to be a slap became a fist punch in the spirit of the moment, and so I actually punched myself on the high cheek. Pain shot through my adrenaline and tickled a nerve. But I liked it, needed it. Iate the pain like a hot wing. It was delicious, spicy. And no, I hadn't been close to belting Violet right then either. It was more that I needed to chill myself out by setting the babe down for a moment and bashing myself in the noodle. So, I stood there looking in the mirror at my mug. Maybe I took a couple deep breaths,I don't know. There was still big crying in the other room, but it had faded to background music.

An hour later, around 8, she finally passed out. I stared at her exquisite smallness as she breathed out and in over and over in my arms. We were both exhausted, our spirits water-logged. How could such a tender innocent three-month old ever pull off such an unholy display of terror? And oh the commitment. The hours of dedicated discomfort. Never giving in. Rarely giving up. What had it been, I wondered. Was it gas? An early tooth beginning to poke out? A full moon?

No.No. And no. It was: the devil, plain and simple. And we beat him at his own game, Violet. All that legendary badness and you and me, we licked him. And we'll do it again when we need to, huh? Just give Daddy a couple of days, sweetheart. Please.

Reader Comments (19)

hey man,

that's rough stuff. Pat yourself on the back for getting through that. Doesn't get much tougher. Sounds like Violet's got a little bit of the colic. Usually starts a couple months in. Its not you -- it is whatever is going on inside her (no one knows). Seems to really vary in intensity, frequency. My son had a bit of this. Drove my wife crazy... but it did go away. Hang in there

April 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfellowdad

That´s why i am dreading ever becoming a mother! That crying going on foreeever and it any easier to deal with if it´s your own baby vs. someone else´s? I can´t imagine.
My little cousin, when he was a baby, would cry himself into a state of being hardly able to breathe any more, for no detectable reason! he´d even start turning blue in the his desperate parents resorted to hold him quickly under the cold shower, and the shock would pull him instantly out of his crying spell. sounds cruel, but the state of crying for hours must feel even more horrible from the inside than a quick shock and then calming down and all´s well with the world again.

April 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Sounds like colic. Nothing you can do really...sorry to say. I used to keep a list next to me of things to do to soothe a fussy baby, white noise, changing diaper, swing, sing, etc. I focused on the list instead of the baby and would just go down item by item then start over again. It helped me feel not so helpless! Have you tried gripe water? It is supposed to work for gassiness. You are doing well, don't take it personal, keep doing what your doing.

April 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I have been there! Hell on wheels - have you tried this thing called 'Infacol' (maybe it is UK only...) but tis a juice that must have come from the gods - you give it to the bairn before a feed - (in a little piptte thing) helps burping etc - and get this - calms them. 'Miracle juice' other mates call it. Those early days... phew, thy don't half test us eh?

April 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Crazy colic daughter would love the sound of the hair dryer we would hold it for hours when she was fussy--belated idea at the 4 month mark when she was over the worst of it was to tape the sound of the hair dryer!

April 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Good tips and I thank ya.

Infacol? Gripe Water? God, that's awesome. I'm gonna look around for that stuff.

Or maybe just good old fashion Chianti.

April 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSerge

Hey Serge,

Infacol is the same as Gas-X but I'm pretty sure you can't give that to a baby. Maybe they have a infant dosage.


April 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Dude, my daughter was born in January too and had the same sort of sudden bouts of insanity.

Two words: Gripe water.

It doesn't soothe her all of the time, but I'd go as far as to say it works 65 percent of the time, especially at night, for some reason.

April 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPete

Also don't start chalking it up to there's nothing you can do, and just give her gripe water or gas-x, if this continues to be a regular thing, go to your pediatrician and see if he or she will agree to write a presciption for a hypoallergenic baby formula. Your daugter may have a food allergy or have difficulty in digesting the protein in cows milk. I recall "neocate" being one brand. There is no reason why your daughter should be uncomfortable for months, regardless of what everone else has said....Or she just may have had gas that day.

And if that fails, weed usually settled my stomach after some nasty franzone's pizza...


April 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

In the states, you can try a product called Mylicon -- it helps relieve gas. I also found that hold my baby along my arm, resting her tummy on my arm, with her facing the floor, seemed to help.

April 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterColleen

Mylicon drops saved me. It's all the same stuff but the acitve ingredient is simethicone.

Hang in there!

April 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Gripe water is great! You can find it at a health food store. I bought it at Daves Health and Nutrition here is the address
1108 E 3300 S
Salt Lake City, UT
Just thought I'd put the address on here because I was DESPERATE when I searched for it and it worked well.

April 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermizkylie

Hey, old friend.

Someone told me this a long, long time ago, and I didn't believe it... but knowing it has saved me from falling into unthinkable moments of awfulness many, many times since. Six or seven days BEFORE a full moon and a new moon, people start to go a little... nuts. Every difficult moment BEGINS at Def Con 5, for no other reason at all. All kinds of people. And your mission then is to get to full moon or new moon day. That's your finish line. Thankfully, the US Navy has brought dads like you and me this handy pocket guide:

April 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Murff

Seriously, try Mozart. Concertos, symphonies, chamber music, etc. It works.

April 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hey there Serge,

Hang in there. It doesn't last forever, though I'm sure you want to scratch your eyes out when you're in the midst of her crying jag. It won't hurt Violet to put her in her crib when you're worn out from the screaming & walk away for a few minutes.

I don't know if you've tried it, but a quick car ride sometimes calmed my two when nothing else would work. Sometimes they would even fall asleep. Also those vibrating bouncy seats sometimes help.


April 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

My second son suffered from colic as well. I agree with everyone on the gripe water. Didn't work all the time, but agree with the 65% of the time estimate.

Other thing that helped was a running vacuum cleaner. I would put my son in his swing, place the vacuum cleaner nearby and turn it on. He calmed down almost instantly.

In an effort to save my vacuum cleaner's motor, I ended up purchasing online a cd of vacuum cleaner noise. Search white noise online. You'll be surprised what you find.

All this to say, this is very common. So common loads of people sell white noise online. Hang in there, it does get better.

April 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

How to get Infacol in the US - see above! Some info on the stuff:

Trust me! Gripe water is also great post feed...

Keep the chianti for yourself!

April 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCrummymummywhodrinks

Hopefully that's not 3.2 gripe water they sell over in SLC :)

April 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPete

hi serge
my daughter had the same thing - for a couple of months 9pm was her witching hour. the only thing that worked was a nice warm bath. try it. gripe water did nothing for us, well it made her throw up.
hang in there and do try the warm bath.
love your family and your and monica's stories.

April 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>