Flashback to a Colicky Newborn


The boy at 2 months, always crying.

Everything has to be done differently now.

He’s put to bed in our room because he doesn’t tolerate his crib for more than two hours. So I bought this expensive swing contraption (something I said as a cluelessly indignant pregnant lady that I’d never do) because now I know I’ll do anything that’s going to buy me forty-five scream-free minutes.

Me, perpetually sleep deprived.

When even those gaudy bright and loud plastic toys start jumping off the shelves into my arms with the promise of his precious attention, of advancing his development, of evoking that guilt, the voice that nags inside my head, he’s not rolling over yet and that baby on the Internet is…

And on and on.

Until I sink back into a fierce dependency on my intuition. It is like sinking into a warm, familiar chair. Everything is going to be just fine. Take a breath. He is a precious, precious boy, and his purity is heartbreaking and perfect. The screaming will stop. Eventually, the screaming has to stop.

My husband comes into the bedroom and reminds me of the meteor shower. It is nine o’clock at night on a Friday and he says there are screech owls in the trees. I am pulled between wanting him to keep his voice down–the baby swings in his contraption next to the bed and hikes his breath, not fully asleep–and wanting to see and hear what I am so desperately missing.

My perpetual sleeplessness has a dulling effect on my curiosity.

The star show goes on without my audience. The screech owls too. Sleep is hard to come by, and soon the baby will be at my side, placed gently all aswaddle next to me, and all night my fear for his safety will keep part of me awake: the lioness part. The mother bear part.

That other me doesn’t matter anymore. She’s like the stars, the screech owls. Going on in some other place, put off for another time.

-Written in August, 2011


The boy at five, always smiling.



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