Sam’s Story: Week 4

Like many boys my age, I was charged with mowing the lawn while I was growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It’s normally pretty easy work, but my family was saddled with an old crank of a riding mower that had seen a few too many days but refused to give up the mechanical ghost. It only ran on one speed, its blades were dull, and its bagging system was broken so that it just sprayed a fine green mist of clippings behind it as I rode across the yard.

Most importantly, though, it was a real pain to get started. In fact, I think that I was the only person on Earth who could get that thing to run. You had to follow a strict checklist of setting the throttle at just the right point between “choke” and “run”, pulling the starter cord three times slowly, then pulling it twice quickly, then gunning the engine before it sputtered out.

Handling a crying baby isn’t that different, except in this case you have to expertly apply a number of maneuvers to calm her down instead of getting her going. All this week Sam has had problems with colic (probably gas), forcing Ger and I to build an impressive arsenal of tricks for calming her down and (if we’re lucky) getting her to sleep. Besides the obvious remedies like feeding and diaper changing, these tricks include cradling her face-down so that slight pressure is on her stomach, playing static on the radio, getting her to stare at black-and-white patterns, swaddling, lying her over a shoulder and patting her butt, walking up and down the stairs, and reading her the ingredients off a cereal box.

Also, earlier today we added the Snugli to our bag of tricks. We put Sam in this thing while she was wailing and she quieted down immediately then went to sleep. Here’s a picture:

Finally, the facilitator at the New Mother’s Support Group recommended to Geralyn a “natural” remedy called Gripe Water. Apparently it’s some kind of European brain tonic that she claims eases colic, gas pains, stomach pains, teething pains, and just about any other bad thing you can think of. We’ve been giving it Sam via a little syringe, and she does seem to calm down sometimes after taking it, either by coincidence or its super amazing restorative prowess. It smells like licorice.

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Not much else to report, other than we took Sam to church for the first time this morning and she did fine. She slept through most of it and only fussed a little. She did fart during one of the prayers, though. We’ll have to curb that kind of behavior eventually. She should wait until after the prayer is over to blast gas.

Below are the pictures for this week. There are fewer this time, as we’re over the initial spasms of involuntary photography that afflict every new parent and leave them with a hundred identical pictures of the same sleeping baby. Enjoy.

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5 thoughts on “Sam’s Story: Week 4

  1. The first time I saw Sam, right at the moment of birth, she shocked me by putting on a very human expression of bewilderment and surprise. It was the kind of look you’d expect from someone who rounds a corner to have bright lights flashed in her face and a crowd of people scream “Surprise!” I wasn’t expecting such a familiar expression from a newborn.
    Come to think of it, it was kind of a surprise birthday party, wasn’t it?

  2. OK, that Gripe Water is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time. Based on the ingredient list it looks like it’s baking soda in water. Amazing how versatile that stuff is, isn’t it?

  3. Someone has obviously not been a desperate parent of a presumably colicy &/or gassy baby. 🙂 I’m telling you, it works! I gave her a little (not even a full dose) just today and it cured her hiccups.
    Another ingredient is ginger, which is known to ease nausea. Ginger tea is even recommended to pregnant women to ease morning sickness.

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