The Exorcism of Oliver Bowie

If you were to take a look at my nightstand these days, this is what you’d see:

  1. Diapers (pee and poop need to be contained, repeatedly)

  2. Baby bottles with water (for Ollie’s nightly feedings)

  3. Powdered baby formula (to mix into those baby bottles)

  4. A copy of The Roman Ritual (a guide to exorcisms)

  5. A bottle of holy water (to assist in those exorcisms)

You’re probably thinking that two of the things on that list are entirely out of place. You might be right in that assumption. But as the parent of a newborn baby, I feel comforted by numbers 4 and 5 on that list.

I listed the items strategically in that order. The reasons are as follows: This adorable imp didn’t come with a manual, so when Ollie wakes up in the middle of the night, it’s a process to figure out why he’s crying. First, we check his diaper. Did he pee or poop? If the answer is yes, then we change the diaper. Is he still crying? If it’s a yes again, then maybe he’s hungry. Now we mix the formula with the water, shake it up real good, and proceed to appease the beast.

After the feeding is done and a successful burping is achieved, we are left at a fork in the road. If the baby quieted down after the feeding, we thank all things divine and enjoy a couple more hours of sleep. If the baby is still crying after the feeding and burping, he’s probably possessed.

Signs of possession in a newborn are as follows:

  1. Eyes rolling back in their sockets

  2. Crying that rattles your very soul

  3. Explosive poop (reminiscent of Linda Blair’s puke in the Exorcist)

  4. A levitating bassinet

  5. And on rare occasions, a gravelly hellion voice kindly referring to your mother sucking cocks in hell (isn’t that quaint?)

This is where I carefully reach over for The Roman Ritual and consecrated H2O and begin the exorcism. I splash a little holy water on Ollie, then I yell out “vade retro satana” a few times (that’s “go back, Satan” in Latin) and then I throw in “the power of Christ compels you” for good measure. Typically after a couple of cycles, Ollie settles in for a nice long sleep, free of demonic possession.

Of course I’m kidding here. I sure as hell don’t want the Order of Saint Benedict abducting my baby boy. I love that adorable little guy. Let’s just all agree here that there is nothing in his world that will leave you ass over elbows like having a newborn. It is by no means a bad thing; it’s just capable of leaving you at your wit’s end. Because as adorable and wonderful as babies are, they can’t help but be little assholes too (You know that you’ve thought the same thing!)

The thing with babies is that aside from crying, they don’t know any other way to express their needs. I know it can be frustrating as hell for us as parents, and being sleep deprived can leave you edgy and in a piss-poor mood. But imagine being unable to express your hunger or discomfort in any other way. Cries are a baby’s voice. It’s how they communicate. The harder they cry, the more desperate they are to convey their need.

So, what do? Go down that checklist. Dirty diaper? Hungry? Gassy? In need of affection? It may not even be any of the aforementioned. Just try and be patient in the moments when it’s all going to hell. “Vade retro satana!”

It will eventually pass, and you’ll have your cuddly, snuggly, squishy and loving little angel back. For the moment, anyway.

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