One word... Colic.
That one word can strike fear into the hearts of the most seasoned parents. It takes seemingly normal men and women and changes them into completely irrational creatures... It works first through sound bombardment and moves quickly on to sleep deprivation followed very closely by intense paranoia. It works quickly, making a meal of poor unsuspecting parents well within the first week. For years afterwards, the very sound of the word will have them breaking out into a cold sweat.
Colic is really a term for you have a screaming baby and while we don't have an explanation for it, we can almost completely guarantee that the screaming will stop in a few months... good luck and godspeed.
After the first few evenings that Charlotte started screaming for no apparent reason, people began to whisper that dreaded word. And after a week, I began to believe them.
When you have a colicky baby, you would be amazed at the measures you take to quiet your screaming child. You walk with them, you sing, you massage, you bathe... You try everything. Most tactics don't work, but the ones that do, rarely work more than once.
When Charlotte was really small, the best way to calm her down was to swaddle her very tightly, give her a pacifier, hold her like a football under your arm and walk her around the house shushing into her ear. Tim was especially good at this technique. But it wasn't long before we realized that this method does not work very well out in public, and for legal and safety reasons, it doesn't work at all inside a moving vehicle!
We had car rides where she would scream for over an hour... It's amazing how quickly your resolve to remain calm and collected begins to melt. It was during these moments that Tim and I, our patience pushed to the breaking point, were most likely to snap at each other.
As the months went on and the colic continued, I began to lose hope that it would ever go away... But slowly, over time, the episodes became more sporadic. Sometimes there would be a quiet evening... We could talk in normal voices and be heard... There was a light at the end of the tunnel...
Nowadays, our little Charlotte is mostly over her colic. Every once in awhile it will rear it's ugly head and we mentally prepare ourselves for a long evening... But for the most part it is over... Our evenings are now mostly spent as a relatively quiet little family, just me, Tim and Charlotte... Talking in normal voices!