Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Baby Soothers

Over the course of my adventures with Miles, I have come across a number of women who also had screamy babies. I never knew such people were out there, screamy baby survivors. But they are. And when you find one, a real one, you feel the sort of bond that immediately makes you lifelong friends. It's like meeting a rugby player for the first time. You just know so much about this person that you can get right to checking each other's armpits for deodorant skids upon first meeting.

So in talking to these fellow survivors, I learned that the screaming babies tend to fall into categories. It's true.

I classify Miles as an "up and down" screamy baby. This means he needs to be moving up and down in order to not be screaming (although he screams much less now at week 17 of being alive than he did at week 3). At our house, we get our up and down action in on the stairs. We go up and down the bottom step again and again and again. At first we used the bouncy ball. Now only the stairs will do. Occaisionally, he will tolerate the back porch step. Mostly, it has to be the bottom step of our upstairs staircase.

Another mom with an up and down baby did lunges. Millions upon millions of lunges over and over again until she had thighs like Katherine Zeta Jones in Chicago. Beth from work had an up and down baby and they did the entire flight of stairs, up and down. So did the lady from yoga. One neighborhood mom walked up and down Vilsack Street until her kid was four months old. Luckily, he was born in spring and not, say, January.

Other moms had "around and around" babies who need to be circled around and around something. My friend does laps around the dining room table. Other people use the block, circling the neighborhood until the residents think they are stuck in a continuous mobius. I met an around and around baby who preferred the coffee table. I feel for that mom! The small circles! Oh, the vertigo!

Not to be judgy, but I don't feel the same empathy for people who had driving babies. Maybe it's because you can sit down while driving and it doesn't hurt your back? Not that there is anything fun about the gas money and carbon emissions, not to mention hours spent in a confined space with a screaming child. The ones whose babies needed the bus or subway are another story entirely. When public transportation is involved in pacifying a jetsetting baby, then others are witness to the humbling experience of a writhing little body and a grownup pleading, begging, praying for the screaming to stop. I am glad Miles is not a jetsetter, I think. At least the stairs are private.

What other kinds of screamy babies are out there? I am so curious to hear what soothed these little imps. Not because I am seeking advice, but gathering information about something that completely fascinates me even as it drains the hairs right out of my eyelids. What the heck is wrong with these babies that they scream for four months unless very specific conditions are met? And what, in fact, are the conditions others deal with in pacifying their screamy loved ones?

Do you have a screamy baby? What made this baby stop screaming? I am dying to know!


Amy said...

Did you read that article about anxiety and how you can trace an anxious personality back to infancy? Perhaps MW is a member of our club?

P said...

This is fascinating. Someone should fund a study.

CS said...


As someone who has no plans (or physical capacity) to take part in the birth a child, I find your posts incredibly fascinating.

I just saw this article and thought you might like to check it out (you can always pass it on to your Dean too!):

Also: I miss Pittsburgh!!

Carl (Hannah's friend from Pittsburgh...)

Katy said...

Hey Carl: I love your comment! I do miss reading about your adventures in the middle east. They made me feel almost like I had traveled there myself. Or at least that I could do so one day...

Not sure how I feel about that article. Maybe I will print it and leave it around the conference room in case the dean is looking for some reading materials.