The Witching Hour

This post also appeared on in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

I’m not sure what’s been going on with Will the last two nights, but as soon as 8:30 p.m. rolls around he becomes the Devil.

It’s not enough to say that he cries or that he’s slightly fussy. I’m not sure what sets him off, but he goes absolutely ape shit. One minute he’s happily sucking on his bottle or being held, and in the blink of an eye he’s crying so hard he’s turning purple and just wailing and screaming. I’m not exaggerating here either, he’s crying so hard it’s like he’s Kobe Bryant and the Lakers getting beaten by the Celtics. And for the next 30 minutes or so he’s absolutely inconsolable. He doesn’t want his pacifier, won’t take a bottle, he’s got a clean diaper, the swing doesn’t even come close to working and even his little vibrating seat does nothing for him.

For parents of babies with colic, I don’t know how you managed. If Will cried like that on a consistent basis throughout the day, I’m honestly not sure if I’d still be living in the house. I’m impatient as it is, but with the sound of crying echoing in my brain for hours on end I would be dead inside. And I know I shouldn’t get frustrated with Will but I do. It’s my biggest shortcoming as a father. I feel bad about it and I’m trying to fix it, but when the screeching and hollering starts I just lose it. It’s not like I’m abusive or anything, that would never happen, but one time I just started screaming at Will, saying “WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?? TELL DADDY WHAT YOU WANT AND I’LL DO IT! JUST STOP SCREAMING!!!!”

Suffice it to say, MJ does not tolerate this well. So I tried to take out my frustration by other means. When he’s crying like a maniac I start talking in my soothing, baby-talk voice, but I’m saying things like “Hey buddy, you’re the devil. Daddy wants to rip his ears off so he can’t hear this awful noise. If you don’t stop crying Daddy’s gonna run head first through the glass slider and end it all right now.” Hey, I figured if I was using the soothing voice that’s what counted. But apparently MJ thinks Will is a baby genius because she claims he knows what I’m saying and that it’s negative. The kid just discovered his hands last week, yet now I’m supposed to be believe he’s a linguistics and body language expert.

In the end, the only thing that soothes him when he’s that upset is MJ. I guess no one does it like mommy does it right? But do any other parents have this problem with their otherwise happy babies? MJ calls it “Will’s witching hour” but I don’t know what the hell that means. How can he be perfectly content one minute and a crazed lunatic the next?

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3 thoughts on “The Witching Hour

  1. Baby’s need exercise and sometimes the only way to get it is to cry. They exert this energy to get better sleep.

    I honestly believe that. It could be gas, could be that he’s cold, hot or just OVER TIRED..that’s a big one, if you miss the bed time window you’re screwed.
    But sometimes they just need to cry it out. The witching hour is a known phen. David did it for maybe 3 weeks, it stopped and then he’d do it again, and it’d stop…the best thing for your sanity is to check everything, diaper, hard belly, thirsty, hungry, when was his last poop?, when did he last eat, nap and then if everything is sorted out, let him go. Put him down and close the door (so you can hear him but not so loud) and just take a break.

  2. I swear you could be writing from our living room. We’ve got a similar problem from April Baby as well. We found a solution though. Once he’s fed, changed, and in a happy place for just a few minutes we load him into the baby carrier. Hubby uses the bijorn, I use a moby. Our son seems to need that chest to chest contact to soothe a little. I won’t say it works every time, but ANY time helps our house. We’ve even taken him walking the dog screaming his head off so that he doesn’t wake up the 2yr old. A mom’s got to do, what a mom’s got to do. Well….that and a glass of wine for mama never hurt. 🙂

  3. OK!! Someone else fels this way too.. of course we,re dealing with teething now but when vic3 is on a rampage no one else does it like mommy. I dont know what else it can be.. So in other words i feel your pain. See you guys soon..

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