Mommy, Please Make the Baby Stop Screaming. I Can’t Hear Franklin!

Everytime I go to give an update on this blog I think to myself, “How can I write something without bitching and whining the entire time about how bad this period of time sucks” and the answer seems to be, I can’t. But because I’ve been part of the blogging world for so long, I know that there are many women out there dying to have a baby – just one baby and would be thrilled to have two babies. I know this. And I try to be sensitive to it. Infertility is horrible. But, HOLY JESUS how can two babies scream so damn much?
And why does Elby have to have a meltdown because the cap to her marker fell off when she was putting it back in the box? Really? Five minutes of crying because the CAP TO YOUR FUCKING MARKER FELL OFF? Elby, I know it’s traumatic when you’ve put the top on your brown Crayola No Mess pen but no one I know of has ever died from that. Do we need to go to therapy and sit down with someone who understands? Will you have flashbacks and start peeing your pants again? Because I have bigger problems!!!!

I appreciate all the suggestions for how to deal with colic. Unfortunately most of them do not work on my kid. Hairdryer? Cries right through it. Vacuum? Nope. Being carried around in a sling? That works but my back can’t handle two and the other one then cries. From the timing of it, it doesn’t seem to be reflux but I’m having them checked for that to be sure. And yes, we’ve switched formula. I will keep trying different things even though it get all consuming. I know it will pass. I know this. But, honesty time: when I’m in the throes of the babies screaming five hours straight unrelenting…I think about women who have hurt their children and although I know those women were in deep post partum psychosis, I wonder why it doesn’t happen more frequently. Because I can see how you’d just want it to stop.

Trust me, I realize I just said something horrible and may get a ton of hate mail for even bringing up something so sick. I happen to be older and have had one child already who was an easy baby, of course, I didn’t realize that at the time because having a baby was so overwhelming and life changing I thought it was incredibly difficult. But, because of having been through it, and because I’m sane, I know that no matter how bad this gets with the twins, it will get better. And I know that no matter how loud they cry and how tense my whole body feels and how I want to punch a wall, it will only last so long. But what about the twenty-year-old single mother with a colicky baby? What do they do? How do they keep their sanity? How do they stop themselves from taking their frustration out on their children? Most of us (especially in this blogging arena) feel lucky to have our children and be a mother and we love to talk about it. But it’s a new thing for me dealing with this much screaming and it makes me realize how hard this part of parenting is. The part that takes every ounce of self control to keep an even tone with my older daughter when she yells at me to make the babies stop crying so she can hear her TV show, or that she needs juice or dinner or attention, the part that has not a lick of energy left over to brush my teeth, let alone empty the dishwasher or fold laundry.

My husband said to me the other day, “It’s sort of hard to bond with a colicky baby.” He is so right. Thank God he gets it. The more they cry the harder it is to feel loving and cuddly etc. you just want them to stop crying for five minutes. Why don’t more people talk about this?

FYI, your toddler rocking the baby in the swing with a lot of energy, tickling its feet and/or trying to share chocolate pudding with it, is not an approved of or effective treatment for colic.
Eventually, no matter what, you end up with this!
P.S. these pics were taken by my fabulous, hilarious, crazy great photographer and new blogger BFF, Diana at her blog Eat-Pray-Poop! which is all about her different path to become a mom. I linked to the post that sort of tells her story.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on February 20, 2008 7:26 pmUncategorized45 comments  


  1. Lynsey said,

    How about a hug? For you of course. Or how about a hotel room with no crying children and a babysiter so you can go and sleep for a day…or two….shall we start a fund? Again *hugs*.


    | February 20, 2008 @ 8:32 pm

  2. Trenches of Mommyhood said,

    “…I think about women who have hurt their children and although I know those women were in deep post partum psychosis, I wonder why it doesn’t happen more frequently. Because I can see how you’d just want it to stop.”

    Ahhh, yes, Ye Ole Shaken Baby Syndrome. We had a colic one in the Trenches (he’s 3 now and I swear still has that colicky cry) and I felt exactly the way you described. The only way it stopped was when I would put him in his crib w/o the monitor on so we could have 5 minutes to eat dinner in peace. Fun times, those were.

    I wish you the best.

    IT WILL GET BETTER. You already know this.

    | February 20, 2008 @ 8:38 pm

  3. Kate said,

    Your poor thing! I’m so sorry you are going through all of this. I know how hard it is (okay I don’t because I only have one baby but I can imagine). I have wondered all the same things that you are wondering. I was just talking to my husband about the same thing when you take a screaming/crying baby and mix that up with teen parents and no money/job/car and you can see how unfortunate things happen. It’s good that you know that this will pass. Hang on to that thought!
    p.s. has anyone told you lately that you’re a great mom? Well you are and it’s great that you talk so honestly and openly about everything. I for one love it.

    | February 20, 2008 @ 8:53 pm

  4. Diana said,

    Thanks for the shout-out…
    but more importantly thanks for your wonderful, funny blog that I love to read so much! There is such beauty in your honesty and believe me, you are really doing your readers a service by being true to yourself and them! It sucks that it is so hard, wish I could make a difference. But hey, I’ll contribute to the ‘fund’. Or maybe just show up with some pancakes after a long night. xxo

    | February 20, 2008 @ 9:38 pm

  5. susan said,

    Stefanie, hang on! You’re doing an amazing job though you can’t quite see it and never mind give yourself credit for it. Fuck the laundry and the dishes. That’s what deodorant and paper plates are for. Sleep when they sleep and if you can’t do that, sleep while you hold Elby as she watches Franklin. And if you have perky people all up in your business, tell them you can’t see them right now because you have all the girls on a perfect schedule which you just can’t interrupt. Cuz if you did, then your five course dinner won’t hit the table at the exact moment. That ought to shut them up. You are amazing!

    | February 20, 2008 @ 9:40 pm

  6. Shauna McGlynn said,

    I feel your pain. My first 2 were so easy and #3 was from HELL for a year. I really don’t know how I survived it, HOWEVER I did. My husband took her out every night from about 5-7 so I could feed, bathe and tuck in the other kids. I would start to cry around 6:45 just knowing they would be home soon. It sucked and nothing we tried (diet, meds, rocking, car, vacuum, etc) worked. You are not alone. As an aside, I am pregnant with my 4th (HUGE surprise 6 years after 3rd) and I actually have nightmares about this one being like the last. You are not exaggerating. It was a soul sucking experience and that was with only one screamer. A happy ending-she is the most easy going and charming 6 year old EVER! Good luck-

    | February 20, 2008 @ 9:55 pm

  7. Anonymous said,

    Love your honesty.. when i had my first, and the pediatrician asked how it was going.. and I said “Is it okay if I just dream about throwing him against the wall if I never do it??”.. I told him that I knew he thought I was a horrible mother.. I would never do it, but I did picture it.. and he said that he was more worried about the moms with the fake smiles who said it was always perfect — they are the ones who snap!!

    He is now 15, has been easygoing for the last 14 years, so it was all worth it.. but I remember.. I remember!!

    You know it will end, and it will.. don’t worry about the crazies who don’t understand that you are venting your feelings.. love your honesty.

    | February 20, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

  8. MereCat said,

    Don’t ever think twice about complaining on your own blog. You aren’t really complaining, you’re coping. This is freakin hard already. Talking it out is one of the few ways you have to soothe yourself.

    Also, I am one of the infertile ones that understand and appreciate your concern for the infertile, however this is a separate issue. I always felt guilty for the anger, etc. from the colic because I had so severely battled infertility that I thought I had no right to feel anything less than elated.

    One mre thing….I had the same question you have about how the very young ones with the colicky children don’t do more harm to their children than they do. I can’t believe how hard it is sometime to keep it in the middle of the road during the rougher crying spells.

    | February 20, 2008 @ 10:46 pm

  9. clickmom said,

    My first one had colic and for 3 or 4 hours a day I seriously considered putting him up for adoption because I must have been the least capable mother on the planet and surely someone else was going to do it better than me. Then when he was 12 weeks old it simply went away. Just like that. Gone. And I became a fabulous capapble mother and colic was a distant memory. Colic bites, but it doesn’t last forever. (Also, try a non-dairy formula) Hold on! They out grow it! Promise!

    | February 20, 2008 @ 10:55 pm

  10. Miss Perfect said,

    My son cried non-stop. It almost killed me.
    I sometimes would put him in his swing, turn the tv up and go and scream in my bedroom. He didn’t stop crying, but I felt a little better.
    I have no advice, just hoping it gets better.
    Have you tried ear plugs?
    My friend swore by them. She said it was much more manageable when screaming was at half volume.

    | February 20, 2008 @ 11:36 pm

  11. Ellen said,

    hang in there! it WILL get better.

    | February 21, 2008 @ 12:00 am

  12. Deezee said,

    I never dealt with colic, only a baby who never (!) slept, and that nearly did me in. You have more sympathy that you can imagine.

    (as if to illustrate your point for me, my dog is now incessantly barking right in my ear and won’t stop!)

    | February 21, 2008 @ 12:06 am

  13. Blondie said,

    Steph, you are an amazing mom and a beautiful woman! Seriously, you always seem so together and look what you are going through! I have to say, though, you have definitely opened my eyes to the reality of early motherhood and let’s just say, I never forget to take my birth control! You are an inspiration to us all and even more so because you share what a lot of women keep inside! Lots of Love!

    | February 21, 2008 @ 1:57 am

  14. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said,

    I took up smoking again.

    Colic – and colicky twins – is/are almost unbearable, but she will grow out of it. Just know it doesn’t get worse.

    At least until they are teenagers.

    | February 21, 2008 @ 2:10 am

  15. Anonymous said,

    please provide us with the email address of anyone who would send you hate mail….We shall tell them a thing er’ two!

    I have a five yr old (and that’s all) and somedays she gets under my skin so much, I DO scream. good luck and keep blogging.

    Also when my daughter was a baby and was colicky it was torture…I bet they have reflux. It seems like every kid on the planet is diagnosed with reflux!!! good luck

    | February 21, 2008 @ 2:15 am

  16. jeanie said,

    Oh lots of hugs.

    | February 21, 2008 @ 3:01 am

  17. erica said,

    Not to be all “advice-y” but wanted to let you know my son didn’t seem to have typical reflux symptoms either – he would often not scream until an hour later when he’d been put down for bed because he had milk/soy protein intolerance (MSPI). Because the formula or breastmilk didn’t get digested properly, it was an hour later that we noticed response a lot of times – the icky undigestible stuff would stay in his tummy and that exacerbates reflux as well as making him feel crappy. He also nursed constantly (to soothe his sore esophagus) and therefore gained weight well, and very rarely vomited (it stayed in his mouth and throat – silent reflux). I know you’re probably too busy to read the book or forum I’d recommend, but if on the off chance it seems like reflux to you I can direct you to some more info. I listened to 9 months of “colic” before my Dr took me and the information I collected seriously and gave us some Zantac to try, which along with hypoallergenic (dairy/soy free) formula made a huge, wonderful difference.

    | February 21, 2008 @ 3:05 am

  18. iheartchocolate said,

    I feel ya! I had one of those a year ago. It was SO tough to maintain any level of sanity, and I just had ONE at a time. I don’t know what I would have done with two! I must say though, this blog is your outlet. If someone has a problem with something you say, they can click that little “x” thingy in the corner of the page. They certainly have never been through it if they couldn’t relate in some way to what you have said. My colicky baby has turned into the most adorable, sweet, delicous one year old and I hope the very same for you. I pray you get lots of help, breaks and support as you go through these next few months.

    | February 21, 2008 @ 3:24 am

  19. Clarissa said,

    I met you at the mall on Sunday. We both stopped to look at each others twins by the carousel.

    My toddler also loves to rock the baby swing a little too much and one of the twins already has tasted a sweet blue lollipop his brother shared with him.

    I don’t have colicky twins but living non-scheduled days is getting to me. I had my first on a schedule by the third month and here I am going onto the fourth month with the twins and I just feed, change diapers and put them to nap on demand. I pray for golden minutes every day = when all three are sleeping.

    | February 21, 2008 @ 4:34 am

  20. andi said,

    Really? No child has ever died because a marker cap fell off? Can you please come over here and tell that to my 3-year-old too?

    And my sympathies about the colic. You are so right that it is easy to see how people can hurt their babies when they are at their wit’s end. Even though many of them probably wouldn’t admit it, I think many mothers have been in this place. I wish you a few moments of non-screaming silence.

    | February 21, 2008 @ 5:26 am

  21. kelli said,

    You are not alone in feeling that way. Thanks for having the guts to say that out loud, because it is extremely scary to put those thoughts out there for others to see and judge. It is scary to feel yourself not sane and understanding “those women” and their terrible choices. It is scary looking at their faces and just wanting them to STOP. You are not alone, and we should all, as Mothers, talk about this subject more so that it is known that it is not uncommon, and we are not crazy, and we will make it through. And boy what a special present in the end.

    | February 21, 2008 @ 7:06 am

  22. Anonymous said,

    I, too, would like my boys (3 and 5) to attend a lecture about how the marker top falling off will not immediately cause torture and death. Because this is a concept that is entirely unclear to them. Also, they should attend lectures entitled “I’ve taken off my coat successfully 400 times now, thus, I can probably do it eventually here, too.” “Mommy will bring me milk with dinner like she does EVERY NIGHT so I probably don’t have to ask for it.” and “My brother is holding a toy that I’ve never played with in my life; how to cope with the ensuing pain.” Haha.

    It will get better, yes, you do know this. Hit the floor. I loved the earplugs idea. Take care of yourself, because those babies need their mother, no matter how bored they are for a few weeks!

    | February 21, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

  23. Kyddryn said,

    Just about every mum I know has, at one time or another, felt the urge to drop the baby down a well and run like hell.

    They key is to recognize that it’s a perfectly natural response to stress and sleep deprivation, pass the little mite off to someone else, and go sit in the bathroom for a minute or ninety without beating yourself up over it. It’s a thought. Contrary to what some folks believe, thinking isn’t doing.

    You aren’t a bad mum or a bad human being for having the thought. It’s how you act on your thoughts that defines you.

    Also? Having a sense of empathy, last time I checked, is a GOOD thing.

    You’ll all muddle through somehow.

    Shade and Sweetwater,

    | February 21, 2008 @ 4:12 pm

  24. Amber said,

    I feel for you…I’m a 24 year old single mother of ONE four month old, and lately I’ve wanted to blow my brains out! I cannot even begin to imagine what you are going through. It will get better, the colic should magically disappear around 3 months!

    | February 21, 2008 @ 5:05 pm

  25. Becky said,

    “But what about the twenty-year-old single mother with a colicky baby?:

    Raises hand.

    Well, I dealt with it by taking up smoking cigarettes again (I’d quit when I was pregnant).

    It was some of the worst times of my life. Honestly.

    So, I do understand, even though it was only a singleton.

    And you know what? It’s your fucking (I had to use the f-word) blog, and you can say what you like. No one likes colic. No one.

    Give a holler if you need someone to talk to. I’m around.

    | February 21, 2008 @ 5:13 pm

  26. Kris said,

    Sweet Jesus, Stephanie. Hang in there. My first was like that. If I had two plus a toddler, I would have shot myself. Seriously. Thank you for typing the words not many of us are willing to, but felt more than once. I am (cough)fairly(cough) stable and was afraid I’d do something rash after hours of my daugheter crying without a logical reason. I can’t imagine being 15 with no resources and a colicky baby and NOT doing something rash. I have another one due in June and am terrified this one will be worse. My best is with you.

    | February 21, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

  27. Lil Mouse said,

    thanks for being so honest. we’re trying and twins over nothing sounds good right now. i’m sorry its so frustrating for you, but i hope that you figure out the problem and that it eases up a bit for you!

    | February 21, 2008 @ 6:36 pm

  28. Catwoman said,

    I remember once at 5 a.m. smacking the mattress with all the strength I had because Little Man was STILL not asleep and I was home alone with him and he just stared at me making those NOISES.

    I crawled to the bottom of the mattress and beat the shit out of it while sobbing.

    And it actually helped, so find yourself a punching bag and let it out, girl.

    | February 21, 2008 @ 7:44 pm

  29. just4ofus said,

    I am sure someone will send you hate mail. One of those happy mom’s who is just happy to have kids. You know the “stepford moms” cause’ their antidepressents work really numbingly well and or they are just telling a lie.
    You’re honest. Motherhood can really suck sometimes, and you know that it will get better.
    But in the brink of the crying, you do understand how someone could lose control. Any real person will tell you they understand that. I don’t know what the mothers who don’t have support (like your husband) do in those times.

    | February 21, 2008 @ 8:25 pm

  30. Anonymous said,

    Hang in there. I’m your age and had a colicky baby. I think menopause and colic are a bad mix.

    Let’s just put it this way, I was sitting in front of my window, topless and pumping, when my neighboor walked by mowing. You know how you get all hot and sweaty when you pump. He could see me. He kept mowing and I was too tired to move.

    I’m hearing ya. But keep in mind, princess was my first and last baby. That cured me.

    | February 21, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

  31. Anonymous said,

    I hear ya! My first was a shit of a baby. Screamed all day, didn’t sleep at night. Thank god he was cute and smiled in between screaming or he would not have survived.

    I remember one very hot day, cradling him for a good hour, until he finally went to sleep in my arms. Every time I went to put him down, I would think “just 5 more minutes” to really cement the deal. By this time we were stuck together with sticky sweat. When i did finally put him down, he opened his eyes and started screaming. So did I. Then I punched his bedroom door out of pure and utter frustration and despair.

    There is a natural remedy called “Colic Relief” that I used once out of desperation. He pooed to the heavens and back and then slept 7 hours. Then I was worried I’d drugged him. I’m in Australia so not sure what you’re equivalent would be, but here’s a link – I’ll send you some if you get desperate!


    | February 21, 2008 @ 10:09 pm

  32. Amnesia said,

    Mom of twins. HATED THE FIRST 18 months. Colic / crying…I remember wanting to throw Roark out of a window…and I am not kidding. I love love love my kids, but you are SPOT ON. The crying is hard to handle. And I have two older kids, so I can attest that previous experience doesn’t help. As mothers, we instinctively want to fix things – especially with our kids. And you just cannot fix the crying baby.

    | February 21, 2008 @ 10:39 pm

  33. MereCat said,

    Hey Steph, How old are they now? Real age and adjusted… you should be about to turn a corner.

    | February 22, 2008 @ 3:26 am

  34. Shannon said,

    Ben and I have had many converstaions at 3 am about how it is totally understandable that parents hurt their babies in moments of utter frustration. Eli is 6 1/2 months old and just now sleeping longer than 2 hours at a time. We are finally starting o feel human. sort of. The colick should pass soon. It did here at about 16 weeks. A few times I put him in his stroller out in the backyard, just so Caleb and I could watch Spongebob without the screaming! The loong backyard was very helpful. He was only one baby and it only lasted 1-2 hours a day, so I have no idea how you guys are dealing with it. big hugs!

    | February 22, 2008 @ 6:27 am

  35. michelle Fryer said,

    Oh my I had no idea it was that bad. I love all the support you are getting but I know it doesn’t make that big if a difference unless the babies shut the fuck up. Do you need me to get Nanny Stella to come over to your house to straighten everyone out.

    | February 22, 2008 @ 10:48 am

  36. Anonymous said,

    My son was colicky— I found peace, sometimes, driving himn around in the car (I ignored the price of gas, my sanity was worth it). And, despite, what the dr. said not to, I started feeidng him cereal at 2 months and that helped. Alimentum helped a little too.
    Good luck.

    | February 22, 2008 @ 5:51 pm

  37. Melissa said,

    Ah yes. My once colicky baby who would never sleep for more than 20 minutes night or day is now three. And every day I still think about how those mom’s with less support, less education, less maturity, less *everything* would make it through those dark days without something tragic happening…..especially when I was about to drop kick by darling first born across the room because, for the love of god, that endless crying… nay… SCREAMING! I cannot in my worst nightmares imagine living through it times 2.

    Good job and good luck.

    | February 22, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

  38. Becca said,

    Oh that sounds terrible. Two colicky babies!
    Do you think this would help?

    | February 23, 2008 @ 2:33 am

  39. workout mommy said,

    I love the honesty because it is so true. I never understood how people could harm their babies, until I had one that never.stopped.screaming.

    and then I went and had another one!

    Hang in there and hopefully peaceful times are around the corner.

    PS: my son asks me to nurse my crying baby so he can hear his tv show too!

    | February 23, 2008 @ 5:10 pm

  40. Sunshine said,

    My first had colic. I sang nursery rhymes with obscene and often murderous words. In as sweet a voice as I could muster. Because none of the things that were supposed to work did. And I hung on and it eventually stopped.

    My last looked like he might be going that way and we would stick his pacifier in orange frosting from those breakfast orange roll tubes… it was MAGIC!

    I wish you luck, quiet and sleep.

    | February 23, 2008 @ 10:34 pm

  41. Surcie said,

    I was in Colic Hell with my son. Since then, I keep hearing about a book called “Colic Solved” (see Amazon.com). I don’t know if it’ll help you, but based on everything I’ve read about it, I wish I had it back when I was at the end of my rope.

    | February 23, 2008 @ 11:19 pm

  42. Amanda said,

    My daughter had a terrible milk allergy at that age that made her scream like she was on the verge of death for hours a day. It was awful. I remember thinking the same thing – it’s hard enough for ME to stay sane! Imagine if I was a young teen mother or something!

    Hang in there. It gets better fast.

    | February 24, 2008 @ 2:45 am

  43. whatthef*ck said,

    oh god fucking brutal. and two of them? jesus christ.

    one awful night i yelled at my few-week-old daughter, “you fat fucking ugly baby I HATE YOUUUUUUUUU.” she looked like my husband’s Uncle Frank and she had bad baby acne. usually babies are cute so we dont leave them in the wilderness.

    try this mantra: this too shall pass. this too shall pass. in the meantime, can you bring in some reinforcements? you can’t afford not to, right?

    oh and to make matters worse, i tagged you. tell me to shove my tag up my ass if you want.

    | February 24, 2008 @ 6:07 am

  44. Trish said,

    Hiya, Poor you!!!! Don’t know how you are doing it with 2 crying at once! You are amazing. I would have run away from home already or given them to wolves to raise. I have one that is 7 months, one that is 6 years and one that is 17 years old-I still want to run away. I got headphone for the 6 year old so that he can hear Spongebob when his sister is crying. His bitching just makes her cry more. For the babies try (if you haven’t already) giving them a lavander bath and a good rub down with lavander lotion or oil. If they seem to start screaming around the same time every day do it about half an hour earlier. Also watered down chamomile tea (1-2 ounces) might help. Chamomile soothes their tummies and helps them sleep. Good luck to you!!!

    | March 3, 2008 @ 11:04 am

  45. babybellyblog said,

    We are 8 months out of the colic phase…our daughter (just one lucky us!) cried non-stop day and night for 3 months…then slowly tapered down until finally at 5 months she was smiling. It may have happened earlier then that but it took at least one month for our post-traumatic-stress-disorder to subside enough that we could see it. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through…but it really does end. I wish I could come and hold your babies for you…Blogapy (blogging as therapy ) was the only thing that got me through it I think. And I complained ALL the time…I thought people for sure were wondering why I was even a mother =). The fact that you haven’t shook them yet means that you’re doing a good job =) It does get better and people do understand!

    | March 8, 2008 @ 9:45 pm

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