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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confiance
confiance
13 years ago

My mom loves to tell the story of how she drugged me every night for a week. I used to get HORRIBLE ear infections and something as simple as flicking a light switch could wake me up and then I’d scream. When I finally was better, I was in the habit of waking up every night. Multiple times.

So she started drugging me with Benadryl every night, just to get me back in the habit of sleeping.

She claims it was either that or kill me. I think I like the Benadryl method better.

Chelle
13 years ago

My son did this same thing right before every major growth spurt which, when you think about it, probably hurt at least a little bit. I mean, bones are stretching, here, that has to be uncomfortable.

And I resorted to Benadryl on several occasions. Some far less horrifying than the night you spent so, let him who is without sin cast the first stone, yada, yada.

Briana
13 years ago

My Dr. made me dose my kid for 3 nights straight with Benadryl to “reset his clock”. He was sleep crawling and waking up every hour jammed into another corner of the crib. This was back when he didn’t know how to get out of the crawl position (9mths?) He’s 11 mths now, and I got to call the Children’s Hospital helpline last night when he went APESHIT on us for 15 minutes whilst spewing diarrhea. Fun times. Apparently you are not supposed to take them to the ER unless they are APESHIT for an HOUR STRAIGHT without stopping. WTF.
AND I have a chest cold. No sick days for Moms. :(

ben
ben
13 years ago

Yes, I’m a little afraid of the carnivore-ish turtle.

Swistle
13 years ago

Ha ha ha! I was reading the first five paragraphs and I was on the edge of my seat all braced to leave the comment, “Drug him drug him OMG have you tried BENADRYL??”

Swistle
13 years ago

Also, in that little square about NaBloPoMo you look UNSPEAKABLY LOVELY. Every time I come to the site, I gaze at that picture for a minute. ….Wait, that’s sounding creepy. But geez, you look like a MODEL, only NICER.

biscuit
biscuit
13 years ago

I will never forget that school picture of Riley, it’s just too odd not to! The turtle, the mushrooms . . . I just do not understand!

I wanna nom on Dylan’s lil’ neck roll in the 1st pic.

I had no clue about children’s Banadryl. . . need to add that to my Target list.

SGM
SGM
13 years ago

Riley, if anyone made me sit amongst fungus and lizards, I would totally be upset about it too. Fight the power!

Sara
Sara
13 years ago

I have no advice. Nobody knows what the hell they’re doing. I’ve given up. Thank gawd for coffee and Redbull! Also, your kids are so so cute. :) Hang in there.

warcrygirl
13 years ago

Isn’t that why they make Benadryl? I mean, that whole easing congestion and sniffles and such was just a side-effect, right? I agree with the one comment above, give it to him earlier.

kristylynne
kristylynne
13 years ago

I’ve said it before and will say it again: the sleep issue is BY FAR the worst part about parenting. I have been there, and it sucks so incredibly much. Who knows what could have been wrong? Maybe he woke up convinced that it was playtime and just didn’t get why you were trying to put him to bed. Maybe he had a headache. How would you ever know? You can’t. All you can do is suffer through.

Stories like these make me second-guess my desire to have a second child. It’s all coming back to me now, and it was not pretty.

Benadryl = GOOD.

pam
pam
13 years ago

WHAT? we can give them benadryl now? hot damn! mine are almost 1, and i keep forgetting about benadryl. not that i’m going to drug them often, but, you know, it’s just good to know.

also, i second the ear infection thing. those things can crop up in five minutes, i swear. with three babies, i deal with them quite literally two to three times a month, so i’ve become quite the expert. the first whimper in the middle of the night from one of my boys, and we’re off to the ped the next day. (just happened yesterday, in fact.)

wish my daycare did pictures like that. oh my gah! SO cute!

Linda
Linda
13 years ago

My first child did the same kind of thing, too. It was pretty annoying, I must admit. My second never did, either. Actually, maybe he did and I didn’t hear him, because.. you know, I had earplugs in. HEH

Joanne
13 years ago

I think when you have a strong willed person who needs to know that nighttime=sleeping, you have to do what you can do to tell them that. For me, the only way I could do it was to put him in his room at 7:00, fed and dry and then leave the room until 7:00 the next morning. He did not cry for any old ten minutes, either. One night he cried for more than two hours, on and off. I was about to go in at one point and I heard him sort of stop and sigh, like he was going back to work after a break, and then start screaming again. For me, I just had to leave him alone, once I knew that he was safe and full and dry. I also administer Tylenol if I think a baby is grumpy, sad, in pain, teething, … almost anything. I have never given anyone Benadryl because I am TERRIFIED of it having the opposite reaction that I think it’s going to.

For me, with my second, I have been really reluctant to let her cry up until very recently. I know she’s not my last (I am pregnant) but I still have this sad feeling when I think about her crying it out, so I just turned off the monitor a few nights ago and it’s been going pretty well. She wakes a few times a night and sometimes moans a little bit, but it’s nothing like the yelling that she was doing.

In my sleep book, the doctor who wrote it says that ‘birds fly, and babies cry’, meaning that it’s just what they do to express themselves. They don’t have words to say how they *feel* about going to sleep at the very unreasonable hour of 8:00 or whatever it is, so they cry. My husband told me, when I was trying to figure out what in the hell I was going to do with my first, that he was always going to cry about things that he didn’t like. He’d probably cry about not being able to go play in the street, but it didn’t mean that we’d let him. Once I thought about it that way, and started really working on a plan to get him to be able to sleep, it got better for us. I hope it gets better for you too.

Kari
Kari
13 years ago

I’ve got nothing – not a parent. But goddamn, the suggestion about taking him to a chiropractor because he needs an adjustment? That has me HOWLING.

Amy
Amy
13 years ago

I don’t have kids, but my parents used to put me to sleep by driving me around in the car. Dude, I’m 24 and the car still makes me sleepy.

But drugs are cool too, so whatever works ya know. My parents tried that on me, but my mother says benedryl made me scream. As an adult I realize that sometimes a sleep aid makes works the opposite on my body as its supposed to and becomes more of a stimulant. This is common with children, though rarer in adults. Good luck!

jetsy
jetsy
13 years ago

two words:

teething?

melatonin!

anna
13 years ago

I was just going to say that when my son does this, it’s an ear infection. It happened 6 times in one flu season before we got the tubes put in, and something about sitting up makes them feel better. But if you had it checked, I have no idea what it could be. Hope it gets better soon.

Walker
Walker
13 years ago

I just wanna say THANK YOU for being a part of my life in this semester!!!

“I used to think maybe you loved me now baby I’m sure
And I just cant wait till the day when you knock on my door
Now everytime I go for the mailbox , gotta hold myself down
Cos I just wait till you write me your coming around…

I’m walking on sunshine , wooah
I’m walking on sunshine, woooah
I’m walking on sunshine, woooah
and don’t it feel good!!”

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Hey , alright now
and dont it feel good!!
hey yeh”

Jeff
Jeff
13 years ago

I agree with Amy above. I drive my kids around in our cars when I’m out of ideas and at the end of my rope. Plope em in the car, drive around listening music/ipod, or be amazed at the terrible talent that is on the radio – conducting radio shows that someone at sometime thought was a great idea for a stimulating premise of a radio show.

Now there is some fodder for future blog entries….

Oh ya, and along the way – your kid usually passes out in their car seat. Keep it in mind next time, and download a decent playlist or audio book to keep you entertained and eyes on the road.

Suzanne
Suzanne
13 years ago

I’m just gonna go ahead and say it. Babies are out to get us. OUT. TO. GET. US.

Even the most persistent and consistent of parents will have nights like this. I think sometimes we forget that babies are not just stimulus-and-response machines, but also little tiny humans. Sometimes adults have a bad day and need a stiff drink to fall asleep. I’m not gonna blame a baby for the same. Maybe Dylan was super sad about ABC canceling Pushing Daisies or maybe the temporary nature of our existence was totally bumming him out.

Benadryl was a good call. And you’re a good mommy to little Dylan. He’s lucky to have you.

sharon
sharon
13 years ago

Hyland’s Teething tablets. They are wonderful! Even if they aren’t teething. Who knows what makes them work but they are great.

Leah
Leah
13 years ago

My youngest (18 mo) does that kind of shit weekly. I’ve found that if his poopin’ schedule is off by ANY amount of time then I can forget him sleeping. It’ll be 11 pm and partyin’ (running around my sleeping form in the bed, slugging back 3 or 4 bottles…er him, not me) and then he’ll do this HUGE download and there, all done. Once all cleaned up and new (warm) bottle served up, we can finally sleep. Of course there’s also those nights when there no REAL reason for him to be fussing…but mostly it’s a full gut that’s the problem.

Melissa
Melissa
13 years ago

You are not alone – with my little man, we are talking over an hour with the crying it out for 3 nights and no going in. Other than some minor issues, he has been a sleeper after sticking to our guns. It’s really hard to get through and we are glued to the video monitor the entire time but the end result is worth it. Do whatever it takes for all of you to get some sleep.

Melissa
Melissa
13 years ago

Oh and I agree with Swistle about your pic with the kids…you look great.

Heather D
Heather D
13 years ago

Now do that every day and night for 9 months. That was my baby, officially labeled by the Dr. a ‘mother killer’. Can you believe I had another kid after that? Fortunately she was much easier.

Marisa
Marisa
13 years ago

My daughter’s daycare used the same photography company because I totally recognize the backgrounds. It looks like your photographer was just as bad as ours at not fully capturing the cuteness. My daughter is an easy baby to photograph because she smiles and laughs at about anything. Well, her pictures show her mouth smiling but there’s something off around her eyes. Did they pose Dylan laying on the rock against the park background, or is that a girl-only pose?

Jessica
Jessica
13 years ago

@Kari – I would have been totally with you, but chiro was the only thing that ended up helping my niece with her constipation issues.

Sundry, I love Nablopomo! If you need us to click on some ads so you can continue this frequency, let us know!

Christine
Christine
13 years ago

I have done the same thing to both my kids at least twice. And yes, tonight I would dole out the Bendryl at 8:00 pm just to be safe. You NEED YOUR SLEEP.

My oldest did the same thing with the six hour no-sleep-a-thon. After the second night, I took her to the dr. and when they said NOTHING WAS WRONG I swear I almost left her there. No ear infection, nothing. That night I let her cry. And she cried for 3 hours and then fell asleep and things have been pretty good since then.

So all that to say, if you know there is nothing wrong, I say giving them a does with some Benadryl (when thing are at Defcon 10 at 3:30 am) and/or letting them cry it out is not going to kill anyone. And it will save your GD sanity. I know of what I speak.

Good luck tonight!

#6
#6
13 years ago

My first thought was a tooth is coming in.
I’m pretty sure I learned this thought process FROM YOU!!

Josh
13 years ago

Jesus, you should consider yourself a saint for just dosing your kid with drugs to shut him up, especially after six hours. I’m pissy after about fifteen minutes of being kept awake by anything. An hour in, I lose all control of my body and channel the full force of Lucifer at whatever it is that’s pissing me off. I tell you this now with absolutely no shame, I will feed a child beer if it makes them shut the fuck up. I realize some people may find that reprehensible, but the other alternative would probably be punching a baby in the face, which would undoubtedly be followed with punching my woman in the face when she then took the babies place as the one keeping me up with her “OMG why would you do that to our precious child!!!!!!” crap. (remember, at this point it’s Lucifer doing this, not me) Then I’d go to prison, and I’d rather feed a baby some beer than get raped in the ass and catch AIDS after a night of poor sleep, and fuck any moral code that calls me bad for choosing so. Besides, my parents fed me Dimetap to put me to sleep as a kid, and the only cold medicine I have ever abused for recreation as an adult was Robitussin, so there’s probably no harm in it.

jen paddack-hyde
13 years ago

I have been “fly by the seat of my pants” parenting for almost 14 years now. It doesn’t really get any easier…the problems just change. Good luck tonight.

FYI-Your posts make me smile…I’m new to your blog:)

Joanne
13 years ago

I can’t stop coming back and looking at that Riley picture. It makes me super sad and also amuses me. Like parenthood!

Amanda
Amanda
13 years ago

Aw, poor Riley man in that picture. (And poor you last night! Cudos for not punting the baby down the laundry chute!) Also? I never noticed that your children looked so much alike before. Strange, since Riley seems traumatized and Dylan looks like he’s contemplating the meaning of string. And yet, still so handsome, both.

Danell
Danell
13 years ago

Sounds like a case of Benedryl Deficiency to me. Similar deficiencies include Tylenol Deficiency and Advil Deficiency.

Tina
Tina
13 years ago

Hmmm… I think I would’ve given Benedryl earlier. As a preventative measure even.

I remember my grandmother giving me a shot of blackberry brandy when I was in 4th grade to ward off a sore throat. At least Benedryl is legal, right?

But I don’t have kids, so perhaps I shouldn’t propose untried solutions :)

Nancy
Nancy
13 years ago

I’ve given tylenol when a baby refused to sleep, but haven’t tried benadryl yet. Note to self.

There have been nights when BOTH twins are up and mad at the world and eventually, mom and dad get fed up. If they’re fed, dry and otherwise “normal”, we put them in their cribs, shut their door, shut our door, and turn off the baby monitor. Goodnight.

Of course I end up lying there staring at the ceiling, tense from head to toe, worrying over them and wondering what awful thing I’ve missed that’s causing them pain. But you know what? We always all fall asleep and the babies wake up in the morning happy, as if nothing ever happened. (they’re 16 months)

Marie Green
13 years ago

I agree with the possible ear infection- they sneak up really fast… I’ve had my daughter in and her ears were “fine” and 2 days later (at a well baby check) she had an “OMG HORRIBLE HORRIBLE RAGING INFECTION IN BOTH EARS” (dr’s words). Worth checking one, anywho’s.

Hope your night tonight is better!

Maria
13 years ago

I whole heartedly feel your pain, and have only one question….why, oh why did you wait til 4 AM to administer the Benedryl??? Ear infection, sore throat, head ache, hang nail…could be anything. When in doubt I generally do myself a favor and don’t sweat it with the OTC meds. I’ve been going through a similar thing with my 12 mo old son right now- I’m keeping fingers crossed we’ll both have a better night sleep tonight!

iidly
13 years ago

Ear infections can happen in a span of 4-6 hours, even on a clear ear. I’d take him in just for peace of mind (yours).

And for God’s sakes, don’t wait until 4 AM with benadryl or tylenol — dose him like 8 or 9 pm.

Jan
Jan
13 years ago

First off, those pictures totally made me lol. How cute are they?
My 8 month old boy is torturing me the same way as Dylan is you. He has never been a good sleeper. I have tried letting him cry it out and it seemed to have worked after a couple of nights for a few weeks. Now, I don’t know what’s up his ass. This past week he has been waking up around midnight and we’re lucky if he falls asleep by 3:00. We have walked him, rubbed his back, cuddled him, brought him to our bed and also just stared at him screaming in his crib with a faint hope that it would somehow stop the crying. He finally falls asleep from exhaustion in my arms in the horrendously uncomfortable rocking chair. I haven’t tried drugging him but it sounds tempting.
Like you, I don’t know what to do. I’ve been told to always make sure he’s awake when I put him in his crib for the night and if I have to go into his room in the wee hours to not pick him up. Also, pick a method and stick to it. Easier said than done, I know. Screw it and do what works. In the meantime we can only dream about what 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep would feel like. Sigh.
Good Luck!

babelbabe
13 years ago

wow. i am so shocked – and way glad – that nobody skewered you for drugging the kid.

I personally would have done the same thing (if I could have snuck the drugs past my hub), but I was sure someone was going to totally let you have it. (I don’t mean to sound so disappointed :))

hope tonight is better.

AmyQ
13 years ago

I have so been there. Actually last night was one of those nights and she is TWO! The difference now is that she can tell me what she wants, and that’s great except it changes every five seconds. She woke up at midnight, slept off and on and then was up from 3 – 5:30. Bah.
When Stella was Dylan’s age, she had a few nights that she went on sleep strike and I FELL ASLEEP one night while she was crying in her crib out of pure desperation and exhaustion and I don’t actually know how long she cried. I am sure it was a long time. And I am not usually a CIO method follower but – do what you gotta do. This too shall pass right?

Elizabeth
13 years ago

Man. I think I love you even more for admitting this. And I love the internet for the lack of douchering so far in the comments.

We’ve been lucky so far that the girl hasn’t done this. And I know you have tried crying it out before with no luck. Whenever she has regressed or had a brutal night we just try to be kind to each other (like you didn’t stab JB so excellent job) and then have a plan for the next night in case it goes tits up again.

And I hope it doesn’t.

Lindsay
13 years ago

Just wanted to add that trying motrin tonight may help…at least before bringing on the benadryl. I am a pharmacist and it is my “go to” solution! Even if they don’t seem in pain, it sometimes just relaxes them! I am keeping my fingers crossed for you tonight! :)

Mary
13 years ago

Oooh, it’s gonna get hot in here now! Hee!

I suggest baby tylenol, and having a doctor peek in his ears at the first opportunity. With my kids, it was always the ears.

Amanda Brown
13 years ago

The horror. It’s a wonder you’ve maintained your sanity and sense of humour through that all.
That last photo deserves a frame.

jamie
13 years ago

The turtle is scary. No wonder he cried.

April
April
13 years ago

I have been sitting on my ass all night and eating junk, but your latest photo has be inspired to get up and do 30 Day Shred right this minute!

In other news, even goober-like that kid is the cutest!

Hotch Potchery
13 years ago

..sheer exhaustion of being such an asshole for so long…

Awesome. Not that he (you) had a rough night…but your very accurate description of the little buggers when they just aren’t “feeling sleep”.