“Sounds like classic colic,” the pediatrician said, when I brought Emma in for her check up when she was a few weeks old.
I had just finished describing how Emma didn’t fall asleep until 2:00AM. How at around 4:00PM she became increasingly irritable, scrunching her face up at some internal horror we could not see. Her discomfort progressed by the hour, nothing we did alleviated it. By midnight she was screaming and somewhere around 1:00AM, just as Richard and I thought we were losing all semblance of sanity, whatever plagued her abated. Between 2:00AM and 3:00AM she felt better or was so exhausted she was able to finally fall sleep.
The pediatrician nodded her head, patiently listening. “She’ll grow out of it,” she said.
“Is this normal?” I asked.
“It’s not uncommon,” the pediatrician assured me. “She’ll grow out of it,” she repeated.
“But when?” I asked.
“Usually after about three months,” She said. “Hang in there, it won’t go on forever.”
I reported all of this to Richard when I returned home.
“I don’t know how much more I can take,” He said.
In the morning Richard needed to get up for work, Nic was waking up at 6:00AM wanting breakfast, and for the first time I really understood why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. I remember being forgetful, losing things, I couldn’t remember what month it was, much less what day it was. I forgot to bring wipes and snacks for Nic to the playground one day and sat on one of the wooden benches in the playground and wept. Our building shut the water off for a few hours for maintenance and it felt as though I had been told the building was condemned and we needed to evacuate.
“I would give up state secrets within hours,” I said to Richard one evening in describing how tired I felt.
“Seriously?!” he asked laughing. “I don’t think you’re a candidate for state secrets to begin with.”
Then one evening after about three months, Richard and I were having dinner. He looked at me and said, “One more night of this and I’ll have to check into a hotel.”
Emma fell asleep at 8:30PM and slept through to the next morning.