On (colic)

Thalia never slept. This much is well-documented. Very well-documented. (New Girl, I feel your pain. Truly. )

Thalia needed to be swaddled and bounced and rocked and jiggled and held and swung around and sung to, then swung some more, jiggled and rocked and bounced and bounced again and then maybe swaddled some more after all that jiggling and rocking and bouncing and swinging. It was a bitch. And I didn’t even have nice triceps to show for it when all was said and done. Just your standard sleep deprivation signs: Eye bags, sallow skin, short fuse, faulty brain…you know the drill.

Sage is her own girl.

She likes to sleep, sometimes even long enough to let me catch up on a couple hours of Top Chef late in the dark of my bedroom late at night. She doesn’t fuss. She doesn’t cry for six hours a day, which I had just assumed was something that all babies did.

It’s all made me realize that Thalia was


I never said those words out loud until recently. I couldn’t. Proclaiming that Thalia had (colic) was like saying she was somehow lesser than other babies. And I’d be having none of that.

I think at times I’ve been afraid to write about how good, how easy, how delightful Sage has been (and she has been) in her first three months, for fear that it would somehow diminish my firstborn in the process. I admit that Thalia lives her life on a bit of a pedestal ’round these parts–her shortcomings are quirks, her challenges are mere idiosyncrasies. Isn’t that the birthright of the first child? It’s not that I’m like one of those crazed parents who expects perfection at every turn. One quick glance at the crap strewn about our apartment and you’d dismiss that notion outright. It’s more like: I’m okay with my daughter’s imperfections as long as they’re the imperfections that I’m okay with.

I’ll take skinny and picky and athletically inept but you keep your colic, Mister.

So now Thalila’s got this sweet, easy, narcoleptic of a sister to come along and cast her in a different light, a more true light, halogen-style, which in some ways dashes The Legend of Thalia, the superchild who was born smiling.

She’s still the superchild. The superchild who survived (colic).

I love you sweetheart, but throwing is not your forté.


39 thoughts on “On (colic)”

  1. She’s such a beauty in that dress.I had the SAME experience with Ben and Jack. Ben was fussy and never slept for longer than, oh, twenty minutes during the day. I never called it colic either.But Jack? My Buddha baby. Slept through the night at eight weeks, so fat and happy and full of smiles all the time. I swear, you could pinch the child (not that I did, mind you, but I’m sure Ben did), and still he’s smile.God, what a difference.I’m glad you had the order I did. Nice to have the easy baby second.

  2. Thalia, lovely. Sage sleeping, awesome. If I decide to have a third, after one fairly difficult infant and another truly difficult one, I pray I get to experience a mellow, chill baby!

  3. So true. When your in the thick of it, it is anything but colic.Denial is a powerful tool for survival, isn’t it?You’ve got more than one survivor of colic there, you know.Your experience with your Sage gives me hope for the future…and leaves me a little less anxious.

  4. As a first child who had colic and never slept and whose mother thought she was the shit, Thailia is in good company. Speaking as a non parent, I think you realize all the things your first does and doesn’t do, once you have a second. Or so it seems.ps. I can’t throw worth a dam either. It’s not a great loss though. However the not sleeping is, I wish I could steal that away from my brother.

  5. I am beginning to think that it is the second child’s birthright to be the total opposite of the first born. My kids are the best examples.

  6. Hee hee hee! Like you, my first son cried 12 hours a day (the other 12, he ate and pooped. And like you, I thought that’s just how babies came. Now, after 5 more babies, I know differently. For the record, my 6th baby, who is 1 1/2, still doesn’t sleep. This is why my 6th baby is my LAST baby.~DawnPS – Thalia sure is a cutie-pie!

  7. I, too am a survivor. Every night for the first six months of her life, my daughter cried and cried and cried. From 5-11 p.m.It wasn’t until I had my peaceful, sleepy second child did I realize how much I truly suffered.Oh wait. I knew all along.

  8. Same boat here. My Little Peach cried all the time. I walked for miles and miles with her in the stroller (only place she slept). When her brother came along, I braced myself for the crying, and it never came! He has just been so easy. I try not to compare them, they are both different and wonderful, but I was glad to skip the crying the second time around!

  9. I find this stigma of colic interesting. I have friends who’s daughter cried non-stop for the first 3 months so naturally when my son did quite a bit of crying in his first months I decided to ask these friends for advice. I said “Jenny was colicky, right?” “Oh, no she was just fussy.” (raised eyebrows)I on the other hand embraced the diagnosis of colic for Grady. Not because I felt like it made him defective in some way but because thank god there was a name for this awful, awful crying and OMG when is it going to end. 12 weeks. great, at least I have a timeline now. I got the impression that my friends felt this stigma, whether or not it was directed toward their daughter or to their abilities to parent. I never felt this for some reason, I guess I felt the “diagnosis” was all I needed to say to make others understand the difficulties we were dealing with.

  10. Same story in this house. Number one was colicky, number two was a saint. Will it make you feel better if I tell you the easy one may turn crazy same time next year?I’m always here to help :-).

  11. How wonderful that Sage is a good sleeper! Bliss! My Nicky has been too.That said though, I was the firstborn, and I had 6 month colic.My father’s response to me when he heard how wonderful a sleeper Nicky is? “There is no justice in this world.”That said though, although I desperately desire a second child, and will try like hell to have at least one more, I am TERRIFIED that I am due for my colicky baby. I’ll love him/her to absolute bits I’m sure, but damn I’ve been so spoiled by my first and I know I’m rolling a loaded set of dice on the second.

  12. I’m the Queen of (colic). Both of my babies had it. Cruel, cruel joke.My daughter just hit 3 mos and I fear saying that she seems to be over the (colic) for fear of the the wrath that possibly awaits me.

  13. There’s a definite pedestal around here too. Yes, still. It’s hard to avoid it.But this third child had better be the epitome of mellow, or else I’ll be blogging from a padded room.

  14. Oh, she is ADORABLE!My first was a very, um, high maintenance baby too. The second, Holden, was a freaking dream compared to Hollis. Sigh.

  15. Your experience with Sage is giving me hope that a second child might not be as difficult as Chicky – my COLICKY baby. That’s right. COLICKY, all caps. Because that’s how she spent the first four months of her life, all day, every day. In ALL CAPS. She demanded everything of me, including my utmost devotion and wonderment. And I gladly gave it.That cutie pie in the sweet dress, colic or not, is amazing. Own that colic, lady. You’re a survivor. Be proud you made it through and lived to tell the tale.

  16. Where was I 11 years ago? Riding around the neighborhood with my crying child. He was crying, I was crying. I was also in my nightgown. My husband was home sleeping and blissfully unaware. I only went home when I realized I might get pulled over for noise complaints! God I don’t miss that time period for anything. My son and I cried every day for 4 months. I tried all the old fashion means of treating colic and even some new ones. The only thing that worked was time. It does end. (insert long sigh) Of course I never got the chance to have another one. But even if you do have a colicky kid just know that is does end and you will survive. You’ll age a bit more and you’ll be more sympathetic to all the others that come. Sorry to go on. Just wanted to let you know that there is an end to it. The baby lives, the mother lives and the sleeping father, well the jury is still out on his sentence.

  17. Isn’t it funny what we realize when the next one comes along? Thalia surely isn’t any worse for (colicky) wear.

  18. Neither of my babies had colic (thank you God), but my first baby was SO fussy and high maintenance, never slept, the whole bit. But the second? Easy as pie. Slept. Smiled. Hung out.But no pedestals here. The older one LOVES LOVES LOVES to hear about how he was the fussiest baby ever, and how I had to haul his butt around constantly, etcetera. He finds the whole story very amusing. I do too… NOW. It wasn’t that amusing at the time.

  19. 1st baby was colicky, hoping that some of your luck rubs off on me in 6 weeks when no-named baby boy #2 gets here! ( i used the good boy name on #1, well come up with something for this one, i’m sure we will!)

  20. She’s beautiful. I had the umm, more challenging (yeah, that’s what we’ll call it) child second. Not fun. Lots of extra self-doubt and recrimination, and a HUGE lesson in humility. Oh, and it works REALLY well as birth control when contemplating whether to go for three.By 3, things got easier. A lot easier. Fun even. Enough that I might even someday consider maybe possibly discussing the possibility of having a hypothetical third child.

  21. Ahhhh…. a blissful sleeper. Nothing makes for a happier mommy than a regular amount of sleep. My first was average, second was fussy (but not colicky) and wouldn’t sleep anywhwere but held very tightly against my chest, but my third? Slept through the night at about 3-4 days old, in her own bed. I’m still in shock…Happy Birthday Thalia! She is so gorgeous, and sounds like a very fun child (now!) 🙂

  22. Bossy’s son was (colicky) too. Bossy didn’t know it back then, though. She just thought her infant was plotting methods to keep Bossy from enjoying episodes of Thirtysomething.

  23. Thalia sounds like she was pretty high maintenance – just like my first. But, I do have to say right here, that Thalia doesn’t sound colicky. If she had been colicky, she would have cried, all the time, no matter how you swaddled or jiggled her. Like my sister, as my mom likes to tell us (over and over and over, the martyr ;-).) Only time she didn’t cry was when she slept, and it lasted 6 months. I never had one of those… But that makes me wonder. Would we as parents prefer to use the term Colicky instead of “high maintenance” or “fussy”? Is that another post?My first was also my most difficult infant. How do they just *know* they are the first? That they can be high maintenance? That we have nothing better to do than meet their every need?Then, she was a joy after those first 8 weeks or so. Never stopped smiling, never cried. Happiest baby ever. Now she is almost 8, and a bit of that “high-maintenance” trait is rearing its little head. Ah well.My other two were much easier babies, but definitely more head strong as toddlers (the youngest is two, and boy-howdy is headstrong and b-o-s-s-y.) Anyways, I’m sure they are all following that birth order thing, not matter how I, as a mother, try to avoid the labels of oldest, middle and youngest child.

  24. My one and only has been a mellow chill baby. She really only cries when she wants something (food, new diaper, etc.) and has never cried for more than a few minutes at a time. (Yes, I realize I’m damning myself for actually typing this all out.)My grandmother, after spending time with my daughter, told my mom that she doesn’t think I should have any more babies, because they CAN’T be as good as my Little Biscuit. Hee. And she had six kids.Luckily, I’m not planning on having anymore. (Much to most peoples’ dismay. That’s a different snarkier tangent though.)

  25. Since Maya had colic FOR 5 MONTHS, I choose to believe what I read, that children who suffered from colic as infants grow up to be more sensitive and brilliant. Something to do with their awareness of the world around them.But I wouldn’t want to diminish Sage by suggesting such a thing, so I won’t mention it. 😉

  26. My second son was so much more laid back even as a newborn. Everyone kept saying that it would change, but it hasn’t so far.

  27. Miss Rori isn’t colicky, in fact she only cries when wet, hungry or just wants to be held. Her problem is she has her days and night mixed up. She’s my second child, my first, Aidan was a peach, still is in fact. Rori’s just wearing her old momma down..quickly.

  28. Was that picture taken on one of your commercial locations? I’m confused, what with all the grass and all…c’mon admit it, you long for the suburban life after all.

  29. What a beautiful girl!Q was a pretty easy baby, aside from the usual baby neediness, so I fear what is in store if we have another one.

  30. Cordy was a colicky, high-needs baby for the first six months. She hated sleep and wanted to be held all the time. It was miserable. Mira was colicky, too, but – dare I say it? – she seems to be better now. Now she can be put down for short periods, and doesn’t cry for long periods. If she goes back to crying again, I’m coming back here to delete this comment and erase all evidence I said that.

  31. Post like this give me hope that if I do ever have a second child, there is actually a chance that that second child might actually sleep like a normal human being. I can hope . . .(Can I also hope that my theoretical next kid might also EAT normally? Or is that tempting fate? Hmm . . .)

  32. I am just hoping that I will have a similar experience. I LOVE my daughter, we survived that early time, and I would like to have a couple of kids, but I just don’t think I can do the colic again…at least not of the same proportions.

  33. Hi Liz,A child with colic makes you retarded. You do stupid things. Say stupid things. Believe stupid things. It makes you create colic stations in your home, places where gripe water, drops, soothers, holders, warm facecloths, beads, rocking chairs, swings and tequila (parents) are all within arms length. Colic makes you drive your kid around for hours late at night, until you show up at hospital emergency with him sound asleep in his car seat, which you drop on the counter before the nurse saying, “He’s irritable and he won’t sleep.”Or so I’ve heard.

  34. I had the same experience with my second child. I did not acknowledge he had been colicy till it was all over. I knew what a non-colicy baby was, but somehow I never figured it was bad enough to be called colic till I looked back…

  35. When Myles was diagnosed with reflux, I was actually RELIEVED it wasn’t just colic. At least you can (sort of) treat reflux. Now that he’s not screaming and throwing up all the time, I get to see what his real disposition is like, kind of how I imagine it must be when colic finally subsides. And unfortunately, he’s not much of a sleeper (understatement of the year). And now I have nothing to blame it on.

  36. *Exactly* the same story, although I was not shy to proclaim it and bitch about at the time (which brings it’s own unique set of guilts). Jack, #1, was Hard Work. Supremely. Gorgeous now, of course. Sam–mellow, fat, sleeping boy (mostly).Be careful though. A funky 3-4 month old period could be coming up. It won’t last.

  37. Oh good heavens, are you telling me if Child One is a non-sleeper, I might actually get a sleeping break on Child Two?! Because two of Child One would do me in in the sleep department.

  38. ha ha ha…I can totally relate. When my daughter started crying at 2 weeks old I was scared to even *think* it might be colic. Then when my son screamed and screeched for months, I knew how easy I had it with her. Sigh. Don’t worry, if your little one isn’t fussy at 3 months old, it’d be really surprising if she started now!Hollyhttp://www.fussybaby.ca

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