Daniel developed colic shortly after he was born. For Meka and me, it was one long waking nightmare for three straight months. Usually, I had the coveted overnight shift. Meka would hand me the baby around one or two in the morning. I can’t speak for all colicky children, but – unlike the myth – he did not cry continuously. Instead, he’d whimper. Daniel sounded like someone was smacking him around. I would take him downstairs and sit with him in my basement office. I was afraid to have him upstairs for fear one of the neighbors would think I was beating him and call Family Services.
Every so often, something would happen and take Daniel’s mind off his hurting belly. Meka had an old cat – Coco – that made her home down in the basement on our couch. She didn’t meow, but she purred like no one’s business. One evening, Coco came waddling over to inspect Daniel, purring like a motor with a bad bearing. Daniel stopped in mid-cry, eyes wide with astonishment at the sound. Coco was our new best friend. The next night, I actually carried Coco over to Daniel (not a mean feat; she was pretty chunky). Daniel looked at her for a moment then pushed her away and started sobbing again. Coco was demoted back to the couch.
There was nothing I could do that seemed to help Daniel, so – actually – it was kind of boring. I would read a bit until my eyes got tired (after three months of no sleep, that didn’t take very long). Sometimes I would log onto the Internet with my dial-up modem. Downloading a picture or a song would kill an hour. Most of the time I watched television. I watched a lot of Classic Sports Network and CNN. One night, I was flipping through the channels and stopped at VH-1. They were airing a video from Shania Twain called Man! I Feel Like a Woman. It was a pretty catchy song and Ms. Twain was easy on the eyes. The next song started and Daniel began to cry again. It was only then I realized he had stopped while the video was airing.
VH-1 played the video a couple of more times that first night. Each time, Daniel stopped crying. Mercifully, the song was a big hit that fall and the video stayed in rotation. Other stimuli came and went and Daniel kept on whimpering through the night; sometimes sobbing, sometimes whining, sometimes screaming. About the time I thought I would snap from one more minute, I’d hear Shania Twain call from the television, “Let’s go, girls.” Daniel would sit up straight and I’d lay back and relax for four minutes. I’m not a bit country music fan. I have an album by Marty Robbins, an 8-track of Waylon and Willie. My third one is a CD of Come on Over by Shania Twain. I never listened to it much; Daniel couldn’t see straight yet, but he only seemed to like the video on TV. Still, I count myself as one of Shania Twain’s biggest fans, at least one of the most grateful. The $12.98 (plus tax) I paid at Circuit City was the only way I could think of to say thank you for keeping me sane.