Sunday, September 26, 2010

Colic and Sex

            I think the thing I find most frustrating with having a colicky child is the damper it puts on the sex life. I know Michelle tries her best, but when the baby is either screaming or being walked from morning till bedtime, there isn’t much left in the woman’s energy levels for good old Dad.
            To give my wife credit, she’s the one hearing the constant wailing, waking up in the middle of the night to feed the baby’s unending belly, and going through major hormonal and physical changes. But she also gets to breastfeed, which seems like the ultimate in physical connection. It was brutal trying to get her to wean Celia. It wasn’t Celia who didn’t want to give it up, it was Michelle. That bond is so unique and powerful, it’s the most intimate time she has with her children.
            And it sucks the sex-drive right out of her.
            The father, meanwhile, works a solid hard day and comes home to a wife who hands him the child with black rings under her eyes and says, “Here. You take him.” The man not only doesn’t get to rest, but he loses all but a fraction of the attention from his wife. Talk about a major relationship killer – these kids are anchors, dragging a father down into despondency and isolation.
            As I sit here writing this, it strikes me that this is probably the most difficult stage of most people’s marriages. It’s the “make it or break it” time. In the midst of baby chaos all the energy becomes focused on the kids rather than each other. Even as the kids get past the wailing stage, they still need attention. Kids are a lifelong endeavor, and they’ll always need to be loved. I can see how parents could easily place their entire focus on raising kids, until the kids finally grow up, move out, and they realize they have nothing left for each other. 
            I know that there’s another side to it – that these kids are wonderful little lights, brightening our lives. But right now, I’m definitely not feeling that warm fuzzy feeling. I just want my son to grow up quickly, get this colic over with, and give us a chance to take a breath.
            What a pity. When Celia was his age, she was so delightful she received a ton of attention and people clamoring to babysit her. Joshua, the poor little lad, cries so much that nobody, not even his grandmother, wants to watch him for very long. And nobody coos at a wailing baby and says, “What a cutie.”
            I wonder if Joshua will be shaped by that for the rest of his life? I’d imagine that he will be. These are the formative years. I’m sure the crying will end, but perhaps Joshua will be more reserved and isolated than his sister as an adult. I suppose only time will tell.

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