Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Witching Hour

The Witching Hour

Henry is moving so quickly through phases, that a post once a month isn’t really enough to catch them all. For instance, for about a month now Henry has been falling asleep around 8 or 9 pm and staying asleep until 1 or 2 am. So, I no longer really have evening baby duty. I mean I still go through the motions; I carry around his baby monitor and listen for the slightest sound. But I feel like my shift is vestigial. Like I’m one of those Japanese soldiers that didn’t know the war was over and kept fighting. 

For what seemed like forever, everyday somewhere around 6-8 pm Henry would start to scream and he would be nearly inconsolable. I call this “The Witching Hour.” At first nothing seemed to calm him down, then slowly we’d learn more and more ways to sooth him. The real ah-ha moment for me was when I realized he was so upset because he was over tired and what we had to do was get him to go to sleep. It got to the point that when the screams started we had a whole repertoire of tricks: We’d try to rock him in our arms, I’d run the kitchen facet and let him hear the sound of the running water (My sister Manena taught me this trick and it was definitely the one that worked the most often), We’d let him go for a ride in his swing seat, Carol would put him on her stomach and shush in his ear, you get the idea. Then after we’d try every trick we’d go through the list again. On a good night one of our tricks would get him to stop screaming the first time on a bad night nothing would work until the third time.

But now three months in “The Witching Hour” is mostly a thing of the past.

The Ticking Time Bomb

Have you ever seen the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie “Sabotage”? If not, there are spoilers ahead. There’s a famous scene where a boy unwittingly brings a bomb on a bus. The audience knows there is a bomb and so they are on the edge of their seats. They know the bomb is going to go off but they don’t know when.

Having a kid in his car seat is a lot like that. You never know when he’s going to start to scream, but you know it’s going to happen. We just got back from a weekend trip to my in-laws house. Henry got to meet his great-grandparents, his Uncle Aaron and assorted great-aunts and uncles.

It is a 6 hour trip to get to Carol’s parent’s house. With Henry it took 8.

One thing you need to understand to appreciate this story is that whenever Carol and I drive Henry somewhere, even if it’s just to the supermarket we have to have one of us in the driver’s seat and the other in the back with Henry or else he’ll spit out his nuker and start screaming. So of course, this was also the set up for the long distance trip.

Even though it’s just a sedan the front and back of the car seemed like two distinct places during the trip because we adjusted the speakers so you could play music and hear it in the front and not the back so that it was quieter for Henry, but still interesting for the driver.  

On the way to her parent’s house I did the first half of the driving. And I found a couple of things surprising. The first surprising thing was that when Henry was screaming I was able to just ignore it completely and focus on my driving, which is a good thing cause otherwise I would have crashed the car, right? The other surprising thing was that hearing Carol singing Henry camp songs like “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain” in the back of the car while I’m listening to the “Red Hot Chili Peppers” in the front of the car, was more distracting to me then the screaming. I probably should have just turned off my music and made sure Carol didn’t forget any of the verses.

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