looking back on the colic stage

As I sat pondering the colic stage that we recently came out of with our baby girl I was thinking of some of the avenues I tried to use in order to get help. I did a few things.

1. Advice from friends/family/complete strangers aghast at why I can’t keep my baby quiet in the grocery store – Whether asked for or not I got a lot of advice – and since I was pretty at a loss and I’m so new at this I generally listened pretty eagerly. A few things were helpful, such as: this will end! a few things weren’t, such as: just don’t worry about it (really? my child is SCREAMING in my ear and I’m supposed to not worry?)
2. Advice from Internet Forums: When I got the most frustrated I would type things into Google such as: baby won’t stop crying? WHY????. The results were similar to the family/friend/stranger results. Some things were helpful (Be consistent with night time routines), and some things weren’t. I actually read a comment where a woman said that if a child is crying you MUST keep holding/comforting the child at all times, to heck with everything else – were I to follow this advice I don’t believe I would have showered, used the restroom, cooked dinner, cleaned, or pretty much done anything for at least three months time. I have a hard time believing that woman to be the mother of a colicky child, more like some psych major without kids.
3. Ask for Advice and Comfort from the Lord: Honestly, part of this felt like mixed results too. Sometimes, I wasn’t given any special advice from the Lord on what to do. But I was ALWAYS given comfort, and man did it make all the difference.

Have a great General Conference Weekend everyone! And if you don’t get those specific answers you’re looking for, maybe try seeking comfort instead. He’s there. He loves you. He will answer you, just maybe not in the way you want. I’m praying I’ll remember that as I seek some direction for my life and family. :)

Amber may be…relieved

I hesitate to actually say it. In fact, I’ve been waiting a few weeks to write this post just in case my words jinx me. But here it is, I think the baby is finally coming out of her colic. What used to be 4 to 6 hours of daily crying has morphed into 1 to 2. What used to be inexplicable is now caused by tiredness, boredom, poop, or a tummy ache. And what used to be a Mom at the end of her rope is now a Mom who can’t wait to see what cute thing her happy baby will do next. I can’t even begin to describe the relief I feel. It has made parenting so much more enjoyable and so much more fun.
So here’s the ultimate question, if I could go back in time and have a meeting with the Lord would I say, “She’s broken, could you please fix it?” would I? It’s a tough call, hindsight is so much easier than being in the moment. But if I knew what I know now, I’d have to say…no. Instead I would ask for a meeting with the Lord, where I would say, “Thank you Lord, for a perfect baby, and thank you for allowing her to teach me so much.”

I’m reminded of the Book of Mormon story where Alma and his new converts were given strength and comfort instead of immediate relief.

In Mosiah 24: 14 – 15 it says:

14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

Experiences like this really do make me want to stand as a witness for the Lord. There were many times when I was so at a loss for what to do. I was exhausted mentally and physically. I wanted nothing more than to comfort my darling baby and yet it seemed as though I couldn’t. It was at these points of struggle that I prayed with all my might for guidance from the Lord, and more often than not I would recieve comfort and the ability to patiently hold my crying daughter, knowing that it was O.K. I don’t have to fix it. She and I would survive this time and be closer because of it. There really is something special that comes from holding a baby while she cries for hours on end. No, that isn’t meant as a joke. While it can certainly frazzle you, it also creates an amazing bond. I think my daughter knows that I am always there for her. I think she feels how much I love her. I hope that even though she won’t remember this time that she will continue to know and feel our love. I know I feel the love of my Heavenly Father, and something tells me he’s hoping the same thing about me.

A good baby

She screamed and cried and groaned. Her tears are so big and her cries are so pleading. It must be hard to be a baby, unable to really relay your fears, unsure of how to control your body, completely dependent on others to take care of every want and need. The doctor told us our daughter is a little bit colicy, although I don’t think we really needed her to tell us. We are pretty well aware of her preponderance for fussing. My in-laws keep bringing up my husband’s infamous cousin who, “cried for a year straight”, if you’re reading this you know who you are :). I understand the connection but it doesn’t make me feel any better, ‘You mean this could last how many more months?’ Is what I feel like saying.

I think what I hate most of all is when people ask me if she’s a good baby. I know that they are meaning to ask whether or not she cries a lot and I don’t know what to say. Of course she’s a good baby! No baby is bad. So she cries, that doesn’t change the fact that she is the most adorable, loveley, sweet person I have ever met in my life. I know it isn’t meant to say that she is bad, it’s more a question to ask how I’m doing and I’m grateful to the people that care. I just don’t know what to say. Truth be told I think she is starting to move on past the crying stage. She seems to cry less and less each night, but it’s still hard.

Tonight she only fussed for an hour. I lay down next to her and stroked her arm as she cried. Then she looked into my eyes and was quiet, she smiled, and reached out to grab my face. It was by no means a gentle caress. She reached out and grabbed hard, getting a little hair in the process, but it was one of those moments when you know for certain that if this little person could talk she would be saying, “I love you too mom”. And suddenly it’s all so worth it. The crying, the fussing, even the occasional screaming is all worth the eternal reward of being connected to this person that you love and that loves you. She fell asleep soon after, and I watched her doze. I love you my darling. You can always cry on my shoulder.