20 Witching Hour techniques worth a try
I’m a father – you all probably know that by now. I now know what they’re talking about when they say its absolutely exhausting. It is. Yes, it’s a beautiful thing – my little girl has totally lit up my life – but it’s friggin’ tiring, like ‘date with Scarlett Johansson’ tiring.
I sat through all mind-numbing “Lord of the Rings” films; have tackled Melbourne rush hour traffic on more than one occasion; have been set back to dial-up speed by my ISP a couple of times; have tried to ride the big hill near my place on my rigid mountain bike; waited all those years for Scorsese to win an Oscar and sat around waiting for “Grindhouse” to come out down under. None of those things have been as exhausting as trying to put a baby to bed at night, though. None of them. I’ll take fuckin’ Frodo; shitty release date postponements and 64kb a second speeds over ‘The Witching Hour’ any old day.
What’s this Witching Hour, you ask? And does it have anything to do with Harry Potter?
It’s a pain in the ass, that’s what it is. It’s also the time when parents begin to bond with their children. Go figure. They scream, we come running… they know we’ll forever come running whenever they make a peep.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association says it “is that time in the early to mid (or sometimes late!) evening when our babies and young children can go from their previously placid, contented selves to crying, unhappy infants seemingly at the flick of a magic switch. It is not known exactly why babies have periods like this, but as so many have them, it may be important to their development.
Often these periods start around four to six weeks of age and start to reduce around 12 weeks of age. Even if no particular cause is identified for your unsettled evenings, you can be fairly confident they will improve in a few weeks. Some people will describe these unsettled periods as your baby having ‘colic’.”
I describe these unsettled periods as driving mum and dad crazy.
My daughter, Charisma, now 3 weeks old, tends to play up between 8pm and 11pm. In those hours, she’ll scream – her lungs off! – and then she’ll scream some more. I can hear her now as I type this column. You can pat her back, you can sing Bryan Ferry to her, you can put her in the vibrating chair… but none of them works any longer than a couple of minutes. We even tried the ‘take her for a ride in the car’ thing tonight. That worked for about 5 minutes… or the first couple of laps of our suburb. By the time we got her inside the house, and had to wrap her up in her warm gear again, she was wide-awake and ready to slog Apollo Creed again.
I’m willing to try anything – to get more than two hours sleep a night again – and so I’ve put together 20 more experimental solutions for Charisma’s ‘Wild Wobbly’ Sessions. Surely one of these things will get her to sleep?
20 ‘Help Charisma Settle’ Ideas
1. Read her Daily Variety.
2. Threaten to buy her her own DVD copy of “Farce of the Penguins” when she’s a couple of years older.
3. Say if she doesn’t stop crying, you’ll ask uncle Bob Shaye to make another “Last Mimzy” movie.
4. Play her the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ panel from last year’s Comic Con on the DVC.
5. Mention she’ll be answering all of Holden’s emails for Daddy when she’s old enough to type.
6. Let her stay up and watch an episode of “John from Cincinatti”
7. Play her my interview – on tape- with Harrison Ford (or any interview with Harrison Ford).
8. Read her the exhaustive list of Lindsay Lohan’s recent misdemeanours. Sure to be a sleep by the time it’s finished…. If it does?
9. Set up a portable DVD player in her cot and Put “Speed 2 : Cruise Control” in.
10. Accidentally leave one of Daddy’s special sticks in the crib for her to chew on.
11. Turn on e! so she can watch the True Hollywood Story on Nicole Ritchie.
12. Ask John Stamos for a small glass of whatever he’s on.
13. Play her the soundtrack to any David Lynch movie.
14. Get out all my tapes of the past year’s Oscars – by the time Billy Crystal’s finished his opening tune, she’ll be off snoozin’
15. Let Chewbacca rock her to sleep.
16. Sing her “Bohemian Rhapsody”
17. Have that talking David Duchovny doll close by in her cot – just pull its string and he speaks in the same constant tone for a couple of minutes on end.
18. Threaten to make Eddie Griffin her godfather.
19. Play Keanu Reeves’ audition tapes for her.
20. Read her the Caffeinated Clint column on Moviehole.
Yeah, I don’t think they’ll work either – well, maybe the last one will.
I’ll stick to the nightly ‘drive though the hood’.
(A scientist who seems to be able to sum up the world – or a movie – in just a few words, whilst the rest of us feel a page review isn’t even sufficient).
“Fuck, Fuck, Fuckity-Fuck!” – Mrs Morris mid-labour