The other night Dylan starting howling around 2 AM and since it’s (thankfully) been a long time since that has happened I had no context when I woke up, only the vague panicked sense that SOMETHING WAS HORRIBLY WRONG, and thus came bolting out of bed as though propelled by a high-bypass turbofan engine and arrived in his room panting and only semi-awake. “ARRRNNN,” I blared incoherently, scrabbling for the light in order to more accurately fend off the anaconda that had surely wrapped itself around his screaming body, while unleashing a flurry of randomly-aimed karate chops into the air. “BUHHH!”

He was, of course, fine—just sitting there rubbing his eyes while issuing forth an angry complaint about a bad dream or tangled blanket or erupting molar or whatever the heck his problem was, and as I patted him back to sleep I thought: no way could I do this again. I mean, I’ve had no second thoughts about adding a third child to our family, but specifically on the issue of sleep, I think I have really and truly used up the very last bit of my ability to get up multiple times per night with an infant for an extended period of time. For all those sentiments about Jebus never giving you more than you can handle, I say: bullshit. I’m pretty sure I was born with a finite amount of Deal With a Small Baby’s Inability to Sleep Through the Night Without Going Slap Out of Your Mind, and it is all gone, much like the spotless interior leather in the backseat of my car and the elasticity in my hooters.

As bad as it is when you’re being woken up every night, though, it’s almost worse when it happens out of the blue. The paper-thin defenses you managed to shore up during those early endless months in order to function at 3 AM without being completely immobilized by self pity are no longer available, and having to get up feels less like an unpleasant but necessary parental task and more like the end of human existence as we know it. Four horsemen! Seven trumpets! A pile of curdled milk-barf on an difficult-to-remove cribsheet! WE WILL ALL DIE IN A LAKE OF FIRE.

It’s possible I have a tendency to overreact about these things, I’m not sure.

I was thinking about this subject recently because of a friend’s adorable non-sleeping baby and the CRAZY amounts of advice she’s surely getting on what to do about the situation. I suffer from the same malady of most parents I know, which is that we cannot keep our traps closed when it comes to difficult childhood stages because 1) we truly do want to help if we can, but more importantly, 2) we LOVE to talk about our own horror stories and all the various ass-pains our children have caused us and we will hold forth on these subjects ALL DAY LONG if you don’t physically clap your hand over our mouths and tell us to stop for the love of christ. When it comes to sleep, I have no good advice whatsoever, but I can hardly believe how much I like to talk about it, and worse, how badly I want to interrupt whatever sleep scenario is being described in order to shout “I KNOW, RIGHT? TOTALLY! MY KID DOES THIS THING—”

Ditto food issues, behavior challenges, potty training, illnesses, random fears, etc, etc, etc. I don’t think it’s that I’m hoping to win at Misery Poker, I think it’s more than I’m so ridiculously geeked that someone else gets it, I can hardly contain myself. It’s like this instant connection: your kid does that too? Oh thank GOD! Holy fuck, I thought I broke my kid!

That’s what it’s really all about, isn’t it? I mean, none of us can offer bulletproof advice on how to deal with whatever parenting speed-bump is at hand, because much as I wish it were not so, there are basically ZERO black-and-white solutions for kids who won’t sleep, eat, or stop pummeling their parents in the gut with their furious little hooves during diaper changes. Sometimes, commiseration is all you can ask for. Which is why it’s nice to have a blog to vent on, so when a friend is talking to me, I can usually manage to shut myself the fuck up and listen for a change.

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alomellin
alomellin
13 years ago

“I think it’s more than I’m so ridiculously geeked that someone else gets it, I can hardly contain myself. It’s like this instant connection: your kid does that too? Oh thank GOD! Holy fuck, I thought I broke my kid!”
This. This exactly. Someone posted a link to your blog a few months ago on “the nest”. I spent the next 2 weeks reading it from start to finish. I kept emailing bits and pieces to my husband because, oh. my. god. SHE GETS IT!!!! We have a 15 month old little boy. Everything you write/have written about Dylan and Riley in that phase..it blows my mind. It’s like you live in my house! I have never been so relieved in all my life. Not only did you provide me with entertainment, but now I know I’m not alone. (I have laughed my ass off too) Thank you!

Felicia
Felicia
13 years ago

Maybe I should start a blog, because I find the urge to blather on about my own children (and their particular brand of assholery) nearly irresistable… I’m still learning how to just listen to others…

Mrs. Flinger
13 years ago

:: nods furiously as a mom with two non-sleepers ::

and passes the vodka.

JennB
JennB
13 years ago

Dude, I totally hear you. I had our 2nd and my first thought was, good he’s ok. The second thought was, thank god I never have to do that again. Sure, I’ll miss the smell of new babies, and how soft and sweet they are (when they’re not feeding from me or I’m having to scrape shit off their nether regions) while they squirm away.

I’ll miss it, but not enough to do it again.

Instead, we’re thinking of getting a puppy because we’re just that stupid.

BTW – did your genius child draw the state of New Hampshire on his Etch-A-Sketch?

Pete
Pete
13 years ago

Wait til you get to the bed wetting stage (if that happens)

MelV
MelV
13 years ago

I dont even know you but I swear we are living parallel lives and I heart you so much. More than once i have referred someone to you blog and said “see, this is how my life is!”

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

I’m pretty sure I was born with a finite amount of Deal With a Small Baby’s Inability to Sleep Through the Night Without Going Slap Out of Your Mind, and it is all gone, much like the spotless interior leather in the backseat of my car and the elasticity in my hooters.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! I don’t have leather interior but I used to have an intact headliner. Seriously, my car is a few inches of fabric away from being completely Ghettolicious. Thanks kids!

warcrygirl
13 years ago

Oops, that was me up there. Sorry for the anonymity.

-R-
-R-
13 years ago

Yes! It’s not even like I’m trying to give advice, it’s just that I have to tell you exactly what I did, in great detail. I don’t know why I am compelled to do this!

Jen
Jen
13 years ago

Fellow Seattleite here and only my second time commenting …

The worst is when people cheerily say “Oh, it’ll get better!” in response to whatever new parent malady one might be slogging through. I heard it ALL the time during the first several weeks after having my baby, and I just wanted to punch those people (my mom included) in the mouth for not validating my stabby feelings. Like, I KNOW it’s not always going to feel like bamboo shoots under my nails, but just LET ME bitch/moan/whine that I’m tired/sad/frustrated. And offering old-school tired-ass solutions one has probably already Googled/heard a thousand times doesn’t help, either, when you’re mired in the moment.

The people who offer this sentiment are the same ones who also liked to tell me all the time that ooh, my life was going to change after having a baby.

No shit? Really?

Fi
Fi
13 years ago

I would have laughed out loud at several points of this entry, had I not been so totally terrified of waking the 7 month old (finally) sleeping next to me. It’s so funny how quickly we take these sleeping milestones for granted!

Don’t think I’ve commented before – but I have read (and thoroughly enjoyed) your blog for a while. Hello! And good luck on the novel writing thing, I am pursuing a similar dream right now. When I am not distracting myself with blogs… xx

Jo
Jo
13 years ago

I’m new to your blog… and I LOVE it!

I’ve been there! I’ve bitten my tongue… but more often I have sudden diarrea of the too-much-information mouth! Thanks for sharing and making us all feel more normal.

She Likes Purple
13 years ago

Seriously, though, what the hell is up with their strength intensifying NINE MILLION TIMES when they kick you in the stomach with those seemingly small but VERY QUITE DEADLY legs? The only comfort is that sometimes he kicks the wall or his cheap plastic toys and that shit’s got to hurt and HA CHILD, THAT’S CALLED KARMA.

Renee
Renee
13 years ago

OMG, the hooves. I feel like yelling “look kid, I don’t want to change your diaper either!”

GingerB
13 years ago

The diaper hooves? And when you pick them up after a kick, don’t you all get the death grip by claw, usually on your face? Only me, really? Aw, shit. I love you Linda, and your readers, and I love blogging, and just wrote about it here Gas-Food-Lodging because I am so totally obsessed with it that when someone asks me what’s new I want to sit down and tell them this. I love you all. I feel so much better hearing about your crap and spilling the beans on mine. This blogosphere really is the best therapy I’ve had. And your Ladies Man post, really did enrich my life. Really!

Thank you and your readers.

jonniker
13 years ago

God, is it me, or do you have more friends with non-sleeping babies? Because after this experience I’m wondering if ANY babies sleep?

As I said on Twitter, hearing others’ stories really is the best. Just knowing that we all SURVIVE is all I need to get me through the day sometimes.

Btw, my non-sleeper is asleep on my lap right now. Oy to the vey.

Kate
13 years ago

Phew. I’m glad it’s not just me that always has a story/nightmare/experience to share. Seriously, I don’t do this to nullify YOUR story…I just want to share that I’ve BEEN there. So we have common ground and shared experiences and can be friends, see? We’re alike!

Hmmm. Maybe I need better friend-making skills.

Anyway, I totally hear you on the sleep thing. My daughter didn’t sleep thru the night until 22 months so my quota of “Deal With a Small Baby’s Inability to Sleep Through the Night Without Going Slap Out of Your Mind” is WAY gone and I’m not sure the resulting sleep deficit will ever be erased.

jonniker
13 years ago

Also, I LOVE the company and the bitching and the whole thing. Love. And let us remind ourselves what a remarkable reversal this is.

NancyJ
NancyJ
13 years ago

And it never ends…that commiserating…that feeling of “oh thank God! I’m not the only one with a kid that sleeps til 2pm, stays up til 3am, says this, does that” is going strong with me in regards to my almost 19 year old son. Sometimes it’s such a relief to know he’s not a slacker!; he’s a college kid home on summer vacation!

Casey
13 years ago

Ah, listening is overrated.

But seriously, sometimes I feel guilty that I am letting the fact that I give birth to horrible sleepers deter me from number three. But, it’s the God’s honest truth. I am spectacular at the pregnancy thing. Really, a beauty to behold. Not a barf, not a quease, no heartburn, no swollen ankles, not even too much weight gain (I mean, considering the last baby was 10 lbs).

But! I am HORRIBLE at the baby thing. My husband and I fight, I spend my days weeping from sleep deprevation. The list marches woefully on.

One of my favorite people in the whole world achieved her favored status because she had the same experiences as me, only worse because she co-sleeps with hers until they’re…well, she’s still co-sleeping, that is.

There. I feel better now.

Cookie
13 years ago

That is what I love about your blog. When my boys are driving me up the d@mn wall and I want to run away to a tropical island and never come back, it’s nice to know that someone else gets it. That someone else has children that drive them crazy. That I am not alone. That my preschooler is not the pickiest eater on the d@mn planet. That my toddler is not the only one still waking their mommy up at night (and surpisingly doesn’t disturb the husband). It’s nice having someone to relate too. I love reading the comments, because then there are so many more people to relate to.

pam
pam
13 years ago

amen. and this is why i belong to so many mothers-of-multiples message boards and blog networks.

Tiffany
Tiffany
13 years ago

My husband doesn’t get why I read your blog. He doesn’t get the need to share with other people the stories and lives of our children. I just sit here and while I read your entries I laugh, cry and nod my head because THANK YOU JEBUS someone gets it!!!

I wish I had the time/smarts/balls/whatever to start my own blog because I can tell one helluva story, and Lord knows with an 18 mo old boy and 3 1/2 yr old girl, I’ve got lots!

But for now I will read yours and just say a little prayer to the mommy gods who bring us together with every antic or frustration to be each others friends.

kim at allconsuming
13 years ago

Isn’t that comment from Alomellin lovely!

And you know what? We have a 5 year gap between #2 and #3 because we were fertile and careless. Somehow, after #2 being the non-sleeping screamer we got a good one who slept through.the.night. at 9.5 weeks! I KNOW!

But you see, that fertility and carelessness came to bite us fair and square on the arse and #4 came along sooner rather than later. And he – who will be 2 next month – still wakes up at least once a night. Yeah. Awesome.

But this:
I don’t think it’s that I’m hoping to win at Misery Poker, I think it’s more than I’m so ridiculously geeked that someone else gets it, I can hardly contain myself.

Nails it completely.

jonniker
13 years ago

Casey, in the spirit of commiserating, um, THAT IS ME RIGHT NOW. Husband and I about to kill each other (uh, divorce was brought up in a sleepless fight bender. DIVORCE) and I … I am that co-sleeping parent. I gave up. It is the ONLY WAAAAAAYYYY.

lisa
13 years ago

SO well said.

shriek house
13 years ago

Ahahaha, I’m sending my SIL *straight* over here so she can understand why I am totally verbally incontinent on the subject of her very first pregnancy. Thank you for such a witty and precise explanation!

Incubating & babies: my personal “one time at band camp?” gestalt.

Shawna
Shawna
13 years ago

There was the mother of a 10-week old at playgroup today who blathered on about how her daughter had finally (finally!) slept a full eight hours straight last night. I don’t think I like her very much.

As the mother of a kid who didn’t sleep through the night until she was over 2, I too gave into the co-sleeping pretty quickly. It was indeed, the “ONLY WAAAAAYYYY”.

Jasie VanGesen
13 years ago

“It’s like this instant connection: your kid does that too? Oh thank GOD! Holy fuck, I thought I broke my kid!” <— THIS.

Also, compared to me you are a fucking supermom when woken up in the middle of the night. I go straight into crazy bitch mode…

Debi
Debi
13 years ago

I good friend of mine has an 8 week old. Up until now, she had mothers and MIL’s staying with her to help. Well, they’ve been gone about a week. She fessed up the other day that “man this no sleeping thing is tough.” You know what I did? I laughed. I laughed in her face because there was no advice I could give that would help. We ended up in giggles because there’s nothing else to say!

seadragon
13 years ago

You say “it’s nice to have a blog to vent on”, but it’s also so nice to read a blog with these sorts of stories. Otherwise, all I would read are those misery-inflicting books and generic websites (hello BabyCenter) that offer advice that never works and makes you feel like you are doing EVERYTHING WRONG.

(Oh yeah, and my fifteen month still doesn’t sleep through the night.)

mnsm31
13 years ago

your kid does that too? Oh thank GOD! Holy fuck, I thought I broke my kid!

LOVE IT.

jenB
13 years ago

I LOVE COMMISERATION, but I do love me some advice. Current problem – kid doesn’t want to learn how to ride her bike. It “hurts” and stopping the bike my pedaling backwards IS THE WORST THING EVER!! EVER!!

Nicki
Nicki
13 years ago

I have 3 weird boys (whom I love dearly, rest assured; they are still alive after all), who venture into little asshole territory with frightening regularity. It’s just, nice, I guess, when you can find someone else who gets it and doesn’t make you feel like a freak because your kids haven’t cured cancer/slept through the night/eat Thai food at Thai hot levels…. You get the general idea, I’m sure. Hang in there.

Traci
Traci
13 years ago

Just have to chime in and say that I’m not sure what I love more: reading your blog, Linda, or finding a group of commenters who have a sense of humor and can generally be on ‘different’ sides of parenting choices without getting twisted up by that. I second the Linda/reader love!

Heather from NC
Heather from NC
13 years ago

“…hoping to win at Misery Poker…”

Brilliant! I am so going to steal that phrase.
Writing like that is why I read you every day.

Christina
13 years ago

I completely agree with this. It is not that I think my situation is worse… it is that I finally feel I have a sista in the sisterhood of parenting/life. Sometimes this parenting gig can feel mighty lonely otherwise!

Kristin
13 years ago

I feel the same way about the sleeping issue (have a 2.5 year who was an ok sleeper as an infant but then became sleep challenged for MANY months after turning 18 months old), so it’s a little worrisome that I am expecting baby #2 in 6 weeks. Every once in awhile my son wakes up in the middle of the night and I reenact the scenario you described so well–my husband calls it the drunken bear, as I lumber around in a half crouch, falling into walls and mumbling incoherently. I am just assuming that I have some hidden inner reservoir of strength that I can magically summon when our little girl arrives.

Also–you are so right about the sharing, commiserating, venting, etc. when one becomes a parent. It is truly amazing how this experience bonds you to people having the same experience. Thank god for the internet. Unfortunately I was not really aware of the parenting blog world when I had my son, and I really could have used the support at the time. I started my own blog about a year ago because I wanted to find that community, and it has been a good experience so far. It helps you feel less isolated and lonely. Thanks for always posting so honestly about the challenges, Linda!

nonsoccermom
13 years ago

I do this exact thing too. And then when I’m done rambling about THIS THING MY KID DID – I realize that I very rudely interrupted the original speaker and now they are staring at me like I have two heads. Oops. But it can’t be controlled! It isn’t my fault! And clearly I’m not the only one!

Maria
13 years ago

I was sitting in a meeting yesterday, and one among us is expecting her first child. Once the business discussion was over, the conversation turned to parenthood, and the many idiosyncrasies of babies and toddlers she could expect. Just as you described the room was filled with coworkers vying for their turn to blat out “Well, my child…” It’s an inevitable conversation that I think helps us all stay sane.

Nell
Nell
13 years ago

Holy fuck I think I broke my kid??
Hilarious!!! Great way to start the day as always!!

Audubon Ron
13 years ago

With hope, we pray, for the day when the child realizes they are no longer an appendage of their parents. That’s the point when they want NO MORE intervention; in fact, they want to walk to school by their self, because mommy embarrasses them. In their teens, when their IQ drops 50 points, they awaken one day completely enlightened. They know EVERYTHING there is know about everything. Then they will, according to certain biological time clocks start to root for a mate like an armadillo digging for a grub. They almost always marry someone you hardly like. Then they have kids…

That is righteous. That is your reward.

Rebecca
Rebecca
13 years ago

Thank God. I needed to read this after a night of driving a screaming 9 month old around from 12-2 am then not being able to get her off my boob the rest of the night. I think my mantra last night was “What the fuck is your problem?!”

Also, I second the person who said they feel like Babycenter makes them feel like they’re doing everything wrong. My baby already makes me feel like a shitty parent; I don’t need a website doing it too. That’s why I love this blog. Like you said, other people get it.

schmutzie
13 years ago
GingerB
13 years ago

My god Rebecca, you drive the baby around at night? We are so lame. Our ten month old just keeps getting the binky stuck in her mouth over and over and over. Does driving help? Will she step eating one ounce and then sleeping just long enough for me to hit REM sleep and then waking again??

I love you all and your non-sleepers. I do. I just wrote a typo that made this say I Lose you all . . . losing my mind.

lumpyheadsmom
13 years ago

It’s also why blogs have so many comments.

Because I know, right? My kid does this thing where he . . .

The Informal Matriarch
13 years ago

so true…SO FREAKING TRUE!

Amanda
13 years ago

This is so right on. I manage not to blather on about my kid to my non-parent friends, but man oh man, when I’m around my friends with kids, I cannot shut the eff up.

spacegeek
spacegeek
13 years ago

Agh! One of my kids is coming down sick–this is always heralded by less-than-two-minute howling at the top of her lungs every hour throughout the night before the real illness arrives. This time is just enough for mommy to think Something Is Really Wrong and leap out of bed, fully awake and hurtle down the hallway to her room. Yep, she’s still asleep and just pissed off because she can’t breathe.
That was last night. Yawn. I hear you!!!

Merrily
13 years ago

and those effing men sleep right on through it…