I like to think that having gone through this whole parenting-a-baby-business twice now, I’m a little more savvy to what’s going on an infant’s ever-growing, but ultimately still Chiclet-sized brain. I know that babies love measuring cups and remote controls. I know that sometimes babies grind their teeth and that’s totally normal, even if it makes you want to toss them in the recycling bin. I know that no matter how gross a substance is, chances are it’ll come clean in the washing machine. And I know that when a baby goes through a stage of shaking their head back and forth, sometimes it’s just because they’re basically pint-sized stoners and they just like to trip out on what that does to their vision; a person need not necessarily work themselves into a full panic by researching stimming symptoms.

I also know the difference between a hungry cry, and woeful cry, and an angry cry. But I don’t for the life of me have any idea what to do when a baby refuses to sleep and issues forth a nonstop auditory assault for something like six solid hours in the middle of the night.

I comforted him, I fed him, I picked him up and rocked him, I brought him out to watch Fringe (oh stop, we covered his eyes during the scary parts). He would yawn and rub his eyes and look for all the world like he was purely exhausted and we’d put him back to bed and he’d scream. Angrily. He wasn’t in pain, he wasn’t feverish, he didn’t seem sick . . . he was just pissed off.

He’d fall into a light doze in the rocking chair but I can’t sleep in a goddamned rocking chair, not only is it uncomfortable but I’m pretty sure a 20-lb baby would drop from my arms like a stone the instant I nodded off. He didn’t like our bed. He didn’t want his crib, or his bouncy seat. It went on for HOURS. Way past the point where I thought a baby would simply pass out from the sheer exhaustion of being such an asshole for so long.

I don’t mean to bring up a sore subject but round about 3 AM I was feeling very nose-punchy about people who say they Never Ever Let Their Children Cry. Really? WELL THEN YOU HAVE NOT MET THIS BABY. Because there was no stopping the discontent, except for the rocking chair thing, and maybe some saintly motherfuckers would have stayed in that chair until the break of dawn but I’m sorry but I am NOT A ROBOT.

Finally, and I am not proud of this, I drugged him. It was 4 AM and I was cross-eyed with flayed nerves and tiredness and I didn’t even measure the Benadryl, I just glugged a little of what I hoped was a non-lethal amount into the nipple of his bottle and gave it to him. (I am also not proud of the fact that when I told JB my plans, and he said “Children’s Benadryl, right?” in a worried tone, I snapped, “NO I AM GOING TO CRUSH UP SOME ADULT DOSES AND ADMINISTER THEM RECTALLY.”)

After that, glorious silence. This morning, a totally non-pissed-off, dopey-grinning baby. WTF.

Was there anything I could have done to make the evening less of a horrorshow? What the hell am I going to do tonight if the same thing happens again? Am I ever going to feel like I really know what I’m doing, or is winging it just the name of the freaking game? I HAVE NO IDEA.

PS: Here are some amusing “school” pictures of Dylan, taken at daycare. I always find these funny, because they never fail to make a normally-cute kid look like . . . well, kind of a goober.


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Note that Riley flat-out refused to participate, possibly remembering this horrific incident from a year ago.

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Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
13 years ago

I love JB’s comment about the Benadryl. Come on!! Sounds like something my husband would ask, and your response sounds exactly like the response I would give.

Also school pictures…..awesome. The same exact thing happens to my son, he looks cute in all of the pictures I take, but then we get the school photos and they look so “staged”

samantha jo campen
13 years ago

I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I can’t even IMAGINE. In fact, I refuse to for it is too terrible.

My first thought is ear infection, simply because I am terrified of them since they are hard to figure out–Theo had a bad double ear infection and we had no clue. We thought he was fussy from teething. Wasn’t tugging his ears or anything. So I’m just a little freaked out by them, which is why I mention it. Not that you’re doing anything wrong! I swear! That night sucked and you can only do so much! You’re a good mom!

Sending sleepy thoughts to your children for this evening.

Rumblelizard
Rumblelizard
13 years ago

LOL, that first picture of Dylan makes him look like a CEO.

Janet Powell
Janet Powell
13 years ago

Give him the benadryl at 8 pm. all better

Leeann
13 years ago

OMG the pics made me LOL. Maybe Riley was crying because he was scared of the diabolical turtle in the bottom left corner?

Robin
Robin
13 years ago

I’m on my 2nd kid too and we also had a bad night (though not as bad as yours). I know it was probably teething/stuffy nose related but I still got PISSED OFF. There’s a reason why sleep deprivation is used as a torture technique. I’ve only had 2 full nights sleep in the last 6 months and that is because I had the flu, downed Nyquil and slept in the guest room.

Don’t feel bad about the benadryl, sometimes you just have to do it. For your sake and the kid’s.

Mary O
Mary O
13 years ago

I thought of ear infection right away too. Sometimes the only symptom can be that they refuse to lay down. It hurts less to be sitting up. I would probably call my pediatrician’s helpline if I were you, because you are right…you should NOT have to have another night like that. So miserable!

monkey
13 years ago

What is the deal with the dorkifying power of school pictures? Not to mention, the expression in the first one is actually a pretty good rendition of the first year lawyer photos they take of you at your firm. Why is Dylan suddenly an entry level associate at Latham and Watkins at the tender age of 10 months?

jen
jen
13 years ago

I would say if you are certain there is nothing going on like an asymptomatic ear infection mentioned by samantha, then let him cry it out. Get the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and give it a go. Though you’ve probably already heard about it (and maybe you don’t agree with that philosophy and that is totally fine) but it really saved me around the fourth month mark.

Of course I say that and my previously good sleeper has suddenly decided sleeping is for babies and will be up at 11, 2, and 4 not crying just hollering around. Maybe it is just a thing all the cool babies are doing right now. I so feel for you…I was about 5 minutes from dosing him up with Tylenol last night.

Alli
13 years ago

I will NEVER stop reading you because you had the balls to admit that to the internet. Also, now I am scared for what will happen once baby two makes his arrival in February.

Amber S
Amber S
13 years ago

Check out these bad boys. Momma’s lil helper just got a new name

http://www.hylands.com/products/calms4kids.php

Totally legit even ;)

Mel
Mel
13 years ago

I immediately thought ear infection too (sitting up = less pain).

Sara
Sara
13 years ago

I am 100% with Jen. Once you’re sure it’s not an ear infection, let him cry it out.

My second child did the “up for multiple hours in the middle of the night” crap, when she was right around Dylan’s age. After two weeks of that, I gave up and let her cry (after checking to make sure she was okay). It took two nights of 45 minutes and 15 minutes of crying, respectively, and she’s slept through the night ever since.

I was REALLY opposed to the whole “let them cry” thing, but she is a ridiculously strong-willed child, and she just WAS NOT going to go back to sleep. And honestly, at that point, it was a case of letting her cry or leaving her in the snow for the coyotes, so I figured the crying was the lesser of the two evisl.

Leticia
Leticia
13 years ago

I’ve been giving my kiddo motrin and rubbing his gums with numbing medicine every night before going to sleep to make sure he’s in no pain, even though he doesn’t act like he’s in pain until 2am… :o)

Hillary
13 years ago

Thank you for the laugh. I needed it today.

My 10-month-old just got “school” pictures, which I didn’t buy because he looks as teary-eyed as Riley’s hilarious ones or even more doofusy than the ones you posted of Dylan. He was sick that week and apparently so pissed off about the whole picture process that the only way they got him to sit still was to have his teacher hold him. In the corner of the pictures, you can totally see an elbow that’s not covered up by the dropcloth they tried to hide said teacher with.

Good luck tonight!

AndreAnna
13 years ago

I’m with Janet. Benadryl at 8.

My four-month old thinks sleeping at night is for pussies. And I have a toddler who was sleeping at 6 weeks, so this is pure agony. I think I may have eaten a bug this morning in my car in my haze thinking it was a raisinet.

Claudia
13 years ago

Oh my deepest sympathies. Been there. Which is why I was deeply angry when the GYN would ask, “So, going to try for a third?” Where was my cudgel when I needed it? I mean, do I really look that much like a masochist?

Anyway, my first child was a great sleeper until she hit 7 months and was crawling all over the place. Suddenly, she’d wake up once or twice every single damn night screaming. I’d check for werewolves, zombies, nope. I’d considered all kinds of maladies: teething, ear infections, etc. Nope. It continued until she started walking at 11 months. THen, the constant walking (dear god) wore her out and she’d sleep all the way through the night. Must have been some growth thing. Maybe her body hurt with all the growing or the fact that she could stand up required her to do it and then not be able to get down again. I don’t know. But it would take hours to get her back to sleep. I’d end up on the couch with her sleeping on my chest. We did not own a rocking chair so that option wasn’t available. It sucked.

My only suggestion (besides your wize use of pharmaceuticals) would be maybe getting one of those baby slings. You could sit him in it and lay back on the couch and he wouldn’t fall on the floor. Or, better: get JB to do it.

I also tried letting her just cry but she’d cry until she’d vomit which I then had to clean up. Plus, in a 1,000 sf house, there’s no where you can go to not hear that sound boring into your skull. You just. want. it. to. stop.

Ashley
13 years ago

I should be a fucking expert on this having 2 kids who refused to sleep through the night until the magic age of 2, as you know. After going through HELL with Owen I knew to just skip the crib altogether (just in case), glad I took my own advice. Sticking August in a full twin bed (on the ground) from the get go saved “some” sanity. He still didn’t sleep through the night until recently, but I was able to fall asleep with him and then sneak out later on. Any chance you could squeeze into his crib? HA! Oh, I also 2nd the Hylands calm baby, they work for the restlessness. I find the tincture works better though, you know, when your out of Benadryl.

Rach
Rach
13 years ago

My first thought was ear infection, too. They can pop out of nowhere, you know.

Obviously, the pages of your “Rearing Your Second Child” handbook were stuck together with baby barf or you wouldn’t have missed the page about giving Tylenol any time anyone seems fussy. That’s the only way I survived. It wasn’t every night, but nights like your last night are basically CRYING out for it.

Erica
13 years ago

Dude. I have totally drugged my kid so she’d sleep. TWICE.

Sometimes, they just get themselves all worked up into a giant tizzy and no amount of ANYTHING will calm them down. A little Benadryl and it takes the edge off enough to let her sleep.

I’m firmly in the “you gotta do whatcha gotta do” camp of parenting.

Melissa
Melissa
13 years ago

I am a firm believer in a dose of Tylenol when a baby seems so unhappy. Don’t you ever get a headache for no good reason (no illness to go with it)? Or a backache, neckache, etc?

I figure that babies must get achy, between trying to learn how to use their body and being handled by adults (I think I’d be sore if I were always being manhandled like we do to babies – not that we’re doing anything wrong of course, but we put their bodies into position in the grocery cart, stroller, car seat, highchair, etc).

Then you add in the amount of work their teensy little brains do in a day, and I think they are prime candidates for headaches. Life is overwhelming for us big people sometimes, so I figure the little ones must get bogged down by the burdens of figuring out life, and a headache seems like it could so easily come with that. And of course, then there’s teething, which could be the issue even if there’s no sign of it.

So I would have given a dose of Tylenol or Motrin, just to see if it would help.

Now my old-fashioned pediatrician when I was a baby told my mother to dip my pacifier in whiskey and rub it on my gums when I was cranky as a baby. Doctor prescribed whiskey on an infant – I swear to God, I’ve seen it in my baby book written on a precription pad. So if that didn’t kill me (although it sure did give me a love for the whiskey!), then a dose of Motrin here and there just to see if it’ll help can’t be that bad.

Christina
13 years ago

I know someone up there mentioned ear infection. We has this happen with the first wee tot. We were JUST at the doctor two days prior and they said nope nothing wrong with the kiddo. No ear infection, just a virus. I hate hearing that more then… well anything at this point in my life.

Any who, the night of the third day was much like what you described and so I took him back to the doctor and holy crap kid has a massive ear infection. I asked the doctor how 72 hours could produce such different results. She just smiled and said it happens. Fucker. Just a thought.

Or he is just going through a little growth spurt and wanted to hang with momma and daddy!?

Hope tonight is better!

Jaida
Jaida
13 years ago

OMG I am so right there with you. We were also struck down by the stomach flu from hell (you haven’t lived til you’ve done tandem barfing with a toddler, all while pregnant) and my normally unflappable two-year-old has been a complete mess. I feel like I’m getting the newborn colic we never had. I too reached my breaking point a few times, although we didn’t have any baby Benadryl in the house (why oh WHY not??).

Maybe it was just his night to “re-set” after feeling like crap for so long? Oh, and the nice thing about husbands is that they generally don’t have good enough long-term memory to torment us with the nasty things that erupt from our mouths on nights like that!

Donna
Donna
13 years ago

Babies have moods just like everyone else. Benadryl is the bomb.
I thought his name was Dylan, not Calvin.

Heh.

sara moon
sara moon
13 years ago

omg omg omg omg that picuture of riley is so hyterically funny i’m laughing out loud – alone – whilst being sick as a mofo. instant dose of cold medicine that there was.

yay for riley!! school pictures suck!!

Sarah
13 years ago

Benedryl is totally the route we take when Elliott pulls a stunt like that. Or when he decides to have 3am Dance Party.

The way it’s been explained to me, some kids do the nighttime-of-my-discontent thing when they are working on a new skill (like walking, Monsieur Dylan?). They are *compelled* to practice 24/7 and their little pea-brains just can’t shut it down until they have mastered whatever it is that they’re working on. Unfortunately, the first year is just one nonstop stream of New Skillz, so, that sucks for most of us who have babies that do this.

Next time, I say go for the Benedryl first. Pre-emptively, even.

Ashleas
Ashleas
13 years ago

WOO! Benadryl! Personally, I prefer the NyQuil which I have used many many times to drug MY OWN BUTT into sleep.

Renee
Renee
13 years ago

This exact issue is one of the primary reasons that my youngest child (who will be TEN!! in just a few days) was my last.

She DID. NOT. sleep through the night until she was almost FIVE. Yes, FIVE. I am still recovering from the sleep deprivation during those years. Good God. Stuart would get up one night and then I’d take the next and we tried every single thing that you could think. She STILL doesn’t like sleeping in her own room.

I’m just now moving her bed out of MY room. TEN years old people. She STILL wakes up twice a night.

Linda – you really do have to do whatever you can in instances like this. Sometimes, it’s just a thing but YOU have to have sleep as well. Good luck that it’s just a short term issue and will resolve itself. Really damn quickly.

Kelly
13 years ago

I have no advice, but my daughter behaved like this whenever a tooth was even remotely ready to emerge. She had ZERO tolerance for the discomfort of teething and would become the inconsolable baby monster. I like me some Benadryl too!

Beth
Beth
13 years ago

Those pictures are hilarious! And we have ones like the one of Riley. You can literally see the tears pooled in my son’s eyes, and his lower lip is stuck out in a pout.

Are Dylan’s molars already in or could that be the problems. Sorry if that’s too obvs.

Beth
Beth
13 years ago

subtract an s and add a question mark to my comment above.

Jen
Jen
13 years ago

LOL! OMG I HAD THE IDENTICAL NIGHT LAST NIGHT!

At least we’re not ALONE-alone in this, right?

Lise
Lise
13 years ago

Sounds like you’ve received some helpful advice here, so I’m going to be totally unhelpful and say that I think it’s all about winging it. One of my very best friends described her college major as a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of thing. I think that pretty much sums up parenting.

autumn
autumn
13 years ago

I’m with Sara, let him cry. My daughter pulled this crap when she was a year old and she would wake up 4 or 5 times a night, just screaming. I would have to spend an hour each time trying to rock/soothe her back to sleep. It was exhausting. Finally, I asked my pediatrician, and she said once you’re sure there’s nothing wrong let her cry and learn to put herself back to sleep. It went against every motherly instinct I had to let her cry and not rush in to try to fix it, but it worked! She cried 25 minutes the first night and 15 the next night and has slept like an angel through the night ever since! Sometimes you just can’t “fix” whatever is “wrong” and they have to figure it out on their own.

Leah
13 years ago

I know I should be past the stage of thinking it’s acceptable to compare my pets to another person’s children, but…when the little orange cat gets screamy during the night for no reason, we usually just lock him in the bathroom for ten minutes, after which he emerges calm and snuggly and ready to go back to sleep. We keep hoping this will work with the baby when the time comes because, well, there’s no such thing as feline Benadryl. (Or is there?!)

Melanie
Melanie
13 years ago

I recommend the Hylands products as well. They have really helped my son with his teething/restlessness. On a fussy day I usually just give him a few before bed ornap and he generally goes to sleep just fine.

Just remember it won’t last forever. He will eventually get the hang of it! Hang in there.

Korinna
13 years ago

Dude, that sucks.

If you decide to run away from home, it kind of sounds like you shouldn’t count on heading to any of your Commenters’ (this one included) homes.

Crank, drugged up babies galore.

jennifer
jennifer
13 years ago

take him to a chiropractor! no lie! when all else fails – most likely he needs an adjustment! Look on the international chiropractic pediatric association (www.icpa4kids.com) website for a good one

SJ
SJ
13 years ago

I say take him to the doctor to check for an ear infection. I know you said you were just there but they can literally pop up within hours, even if he was just given a clean bill of health. Good luck.

Jess
13 years ago

Oh Riley. What a face!

We have two babes, about the same age as Riley and Dylan. And honestly, sometimes they just get too tired to go to sleep. And crying is the ONLY way they’ll finally zonk out. (covering head and running for cover.)We went with the Ferber method for both of them and even though Lily’s been putting herself down for months now (she’s 16 months) but she still has issues. Sometimes she just needs a little fit session to get it out. Phases. She goes through phases with sleep. And though sometimes there are reasons for her discontent a lot of times she’s just testing boundaries and wishes I’d be the robot she’s always longed for. Sorry baby.

Karen
13 years ago

My 20 month-old did this to me last night. I was up three times with him, and nothing worked…not even the bottle.

As a last resort, I used my home remedy fix-all: Vicks Vapo Rub. Rub some on the bottom of their feet (a generous amount), and then put socks on their feet. If they’re having any congestion, it will help ease it, but if they’re not it still works, as it has a calming agent to it as well.

Worked like a charm.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

sometimes when my son was not yet a year old, he would pull that stunt—i would tire him out by letting him cry for about 10 minutes…..then i would go in and he’d be exhausted and ready to sleep—sometimes i wonder if they just need to expend some energy….

Sundry
Sundry
13 years ago

10 minutes, huh? BOY THAT SURE SOUNDS NICE.

; )

Jamie
13 years ago

I would have done the exact same thing, only maybe earlier. I feel for you, I do. I’ve got a non-sleeper (5 months) and a super sleeper (3 years). Crossing my fingers he doesn’t do it again tonight!!

Bumbling
13 years ago

I think he just might have had a headache or was sore somehow. He’s learning to crawl and rolling all over the place, right (or at least trying to – heh). Well, I firmly believe that they must get sore muscles/backs/necks/legs from time to time. If he starts again tonight, try the Tylenol route. Now, if it goes on for 1 or 2 more days, I think a trip to the Pediatrican to take a look at his ears again is warranted, I know you just had him checked but he could have gotten an ear infection anytime after that since ear infections are from the Devil and that mofo likes to fuck with tired parents. Also, tell the Pedi to check the baby’s sinuses.
Now YOU go eat some chocolate covered something to make yourself feel better. Doctors orders.

Gleemonex
13 years ago

Drugs’re good, mkay.

C.L
C.L
13 years ago

I know a certain blogger who is going to have a field day with this post. Oh, wait, she doesn’t come here anymore! :) (I had to say it….sorry)

I agree that sometimes all you can do is let them cry it out, which personally doesn’t really make the night any easier, or even better drug the kid! I say this as a loving mother. :)

Blythe
13 years ago

The worst part of nights like that, for me, is that I spend all those hours as I pace and rock worrying that it’s going to happen again tomorrow night and the next night and OMG HE WILL NEVER EVER SLEEP AND WE WILL ALL BE ZOMBIES FOREVER.

And then he usually sleeps like an angel the next night and the next night and the next night. Just to toy with me.

You’re a rock star blogger and mama. That is all.

M
M
13 years ago

I know other people have said it already, but I think he might have an ear infection. I would get him checked again.

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