We continue to have sleep problems with Dylan, and I’m finding it really difficult to nail down exactly what’s going on because they’re ever-changing in nature. First he was resisting bedtime altogether, then he was sick, then he was fine but waking up because of an intermittent cough, then he was resisting naps, then he was waking up at 5 AM, then it was 3 AM, then there was this miraculous night when he slept just fine and because I am indescribably stupid and constantly believe whatever stage we’re in at this exact moment in time is what it’s going to be like FOREVER I was all, yayyyyy, sleeping problems fixed! And now for the last few nights he’s been waking up at 1 or 2 AM, completely wide-awake and cheery and ready to have a lengthy, spirited discussion about donkeys.

Basically this child is like a round-bellied, pudge-knuckled virus who continually mutates in order to more efficiently fuck with its host.

We all seem to be getting enough rest somehow, but man, I have to say I do not enjoy a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed toddler in the wee hours of the night normally devoted to REM cycles. A sleepy, just-needs-a-little-comfort warm ball of koala-clinginess is one thing, but a double-espresso Chatty McDonkeytalk is something else entirely. Last night I rocked him, sang to him, gave him milk, and eventually—judge me if you must—drugged his tiny ass with Benadryl in a frustrating two-hour stretch from 1-3 AM, while all the while JB issued forth great peaceful blubbery snores until I slid back into bed and “accidentally” kicked him, hard, in the meat of his upper thigh.

I’ve noticed that the person who gets up tends to run out of patience with the blatting child far before the person who obliviously sleeps through it all. Funny how that works, right? I was lying there staring at the ceiling mumbling, “What the fuck is his problem? Why won’t he sleep?” and JB yawned and theorized that maybe Dylan was just a little thirsty and didn’t know how to say so, at which point I exploded in a series of hisses.

“What do you mean, can’t say so? Have you not heard this child ask for milk? HE KNOWS HOW TO ASK FOR MILK. HE ASKS FOR MILK ALL THE TIME. It sounds like this: BABA? MILK? BABA? MILK? It’s the thing he likes to repeat the entire time you’re pouring the milk in the cup just to drive the point into your throbbing skull, IS THIS RINGING A BELL. And by the way I already gave him some goddamned milk while you were lying there sawing logs like a tranq-darted grizzly bear, motherfucker.”

(I will grudgingly acknowledge that I am not necessarily at my personal best at 3 AM.)

Now that we seem to have passed the very worst of the All Tantrums, All the Time stage, there is so much about Dylan that is deeply, almost painfully enjoyable right now. His tiny helium voice, his openmouthed excitement, his desire to be held and cuddled, his bustling rear end as he runs from one distraction to another. His mad dance skills. His love for reading along with Mouse Mess. His rosebud mouth and delicious soft cheeks.

It’s enough to make a person entirely resistant to the notion of him ever getting even one single day older, except for the faint and necessary hope that someday, just someday, he’ll start sleeping through the fucking night. Or at least be old enough to fasten to the bed with canvas restraints and a nice sturdy ball gag.

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Mrs.  Flinger
14 years ago

ohmygod, your 3am person is the same as my 3Am person.

Creepy.

And, as someone who’s children NEVER FUCKING SLEEP to save their lives (most literally) I empathize. But offer no solution. Except the ball gag is sounding oddly appropriate.

beach
beach
14 years ago

I cannot believe your stamina….seriously….I feel for you!!! that is why they are so cute…..so you don’t toss them out the window at their 3 am wake up calls…..on a positive health note( I think you burn more calories when you are awake than when you are sleeping) ….so maybe Dylan is helping you in your fitness quest!!

Melissa
Melissa
14 years ago

Dare I mention sleep training rehab? My monsters fall off the wagon now and again because of colds, etc. But if you know he’s healthy…maybe give it a shot again. Because once he knows you are going to come in and cuddle, he’ll keep doing it. I put a sippy of water in my son’s crib. Sometimes it’s all he needs to go back down in the middle of the night if it’s a thirsty problem. Just my 2 cents and I can relate.

Jamie
14 years ago

Ugh, my 16 month old has slept through the night and woke up at a reasonable time (reasonable time being 6 AM!)maybe a handfull of times. The rest of his life he’s spent getting me up at all hours of the night in completely unpredictable patterns. He’s not even a good napper! I guess some kids are great sleepers (Like my first, he’s a champion sleeper!) and some aren’t.

oregoncoastgirl
oregoncoastgirl
14 years ago

Chatty McDonkeytalk. LOVE!

Kramer
14 years ago

I totally feel your pain. I have a 4 year old and an 18 month old, both boys. The 4 year old has been a dream sleeper his whole life. The 18 month old? Not so much. I think he’s a vampire, seriously, he NEVER wants to sleep. We can’t even put him to bed at night or he screams in his crib until he pukes. Instead we literally have to wait him out until he passes out on the floor usually sometime between 10 & 12. Once out, we transfer him to his crib where he’ll sleep until 2-3 and then wake up and scream until someone (me) gets him and brings him to bed with my husband and I. If we don’t go get him he pulls out the vomit. I love him but man I miss my sleep so much.

seadragon
14 years ago

Oh that’s hilarious. I have also received some pretty unhelpful “helpful” advice mumbled to me in the middle of a very long night, and can’t say I was particularly pleasant in response.

Melanie Drake
Melanie Drake
14 years ago

Mouse Mess is awesome!

Mimi O.
14 years ago

Ugh. Sleep issues are the worst. I am such a wimp, if I have to get up in the middle of the night for anything at all I’m all yawny and lethargic the next day. I feel for you!

Swistle
14 years ago

OMG, laughing my tum muscles sore about the parent who deals with it having less patience than the parent who sleeps through it.

Annie
Annie
14 years ago

dude… ear plugs.

Kona
14 years ago

I’m so confused. I’ve been reading you basically since I had my first kid a year ago, and in all the times you’ve talked about Dylan’s sleep issues, it’s always you who’s getting out of bed to deal with him. What’s up with that? What makes Sir Snores-a-lot so special that he doesn’t have to move his ass? Does he have Middle of the Night Broken Leg syndrome (MNBLS)?

Jan
Jan
14 years ago

I am right there with you. My guy is 19 months old and is similar to Dylan in so many ways. He’s ready for bed by 8:00 and I can expect a wake-up call somewhere in the 4:00 range. He cries a bit on and off until 5:00 and then I give in and give him a bottle and he’s good until just after 6:00. Like you, I have no clue what to do. At this point I’ve given in and it’s whatever works. Someday we’ll get to sleep – I hope.

haitian american family of three

oh god this was my night, only my kid is almost three. up at 1am and did not go back to sleep until 4am. Laid her little booty down, quietness abounds and then jusssst as I fell back asleep, MAMA!! Cry, cry, cry. ANd that was me crying.
Sleep issues suck so much!

samantha jo campen
14 years ago

What do you mean, not at your personal best? Pshaw.

I can’t even IMAGINE going into Theo’s room only to be talked at about trucks. I’d lose it in a second because you’re right, a sleepy-yet-kind-of-awake toddler is MUCH DIFFERENT than a blabby blabberton.

Bennie bottle away dude.

Maureen
Maureen
14 years ago

So, I am going to be the ass and say, you just have to go with it. There is no solution, you aren’t doing anything wrong, it just is what it is-and that means waking up at night when you don’t want to.

Sometimes I feel like we all have too much information, things that we would just deal with are now grounds for these big discussions. My daughter is now 15-and we went through these spells, they sucked, and we all got through it.(and it was really hard)

Believe me, if I would have had a blog, I would have been all “This sucks!” And it does suck, big time. Yet it gets better, and they sleep better, and you begin to feel like a normal human being. Best of luck, and like all things-this too will pass.

I also want to add, I have added a phrase to my vocabulary-What Would Linda Do? I love your idea of doing things that scare you, so when I feel out of my comfort zone, I think WWLD? Girl, you are an inspiration!

katie
katie
14 years ago

wish I didn’t google “ball gag”

Titanium
14 years ago

Ah, the wonders of diphenhydramine! Life saver, that. Wait… I was supposed to be giving it to my kid? Uh… wow… maybe I just THOUGHT she was sleeping through the night all of a sudden ’cause I’ve been resting so well.

(Kidding)

Michelle
14 years ago

Love, love, love Chatty McDonkeytalk. Whenever my daughter turns into Chatty Cathy at 3 a.m. and the husband is sleeping, I bring her to bed and plop her in between us. It takes about 2.5 smacks from her to wake him up. I figure we should all be awake to enjoy family time.

psumommy
14 years ago

My youngest is refusing to sleep all night, and all of my other kids like to get up in stages…for a month, one will come in at 3am for snuggles (and by “snuggles” I mean “constantly moving, kicking me in the gut and head-butting my nose every few minutes without warning”). Then we’ll have a short break, and another will start to come in at 5am every morning asking for breakfast or a movie. Then one will get out of bed every 5 minutes with every excuse under the sky for a month…it’s insane.

Only 16 years, 11 months, and 2 weeks to go until they’re all out of the house…and then I might move, change the locks and my phone number just for a year or so so I can GET SOME SLEEP.

Miss Behavin
14 years ago

My toddler is going through the same thing right now. He was sleeping beautifully a month ago – while he was going through an apparent growth spurt – eating everything within sight, and sleeping. Oh, and pooping.

But, the last two weeks have been fucking torture and he will not even nap! I at least need a break between rounds -sheesh!

Danell
Danell
14 years ago

I love you…at least once a week you make me laugh out loud at something that I’ve been miserable about at my own house. There’s just something about that “me too!” feeling that makes it better, you know?

Linda
Linda
14 years ago

Um…

“And by the way I already gave him some goddamned milk while you were lying there sawing logs like a tranq-darted grizzly bear, motherfucker”

Still shaking with laughter.

Amy
Amy
14 years ago

Screw the thigh I would have directed the blow just a tad bit over! I think kids are made that squishy and cute just so we won’t smash their tiny little heads into a wall at 3am!

Lesley
Lesley
14 years ago

I’m with whoever suggested JB helps out. This may involve accidentally kicking him as soon as Dylan’s whinging starts, to get him up, while you drift back to sleep.

Other than that I’ve got nothin’ but admiration for your ability to write humorously about enduring chronic sleeplessness.

Chatty McDonkeyTalk sounds like an idea for Mattel. I’m picturing a toy donkey with a string in its neck that, once pulled, activates a recording of Donkey brayings. Like PRAAAAAAYIIIIIIING FOR YOU TO GO TO SLEEP.

Kim
Kim
14 years ago

My 2.4 yr old does not sleep. Ever. I can count on one hand how many times he has slept through the night. We’ve tried everyhing: sleep training, warmer jammies, different bed, water to drink, yelling at him, cuddling him, drugging him with benadryl. And nothing has worked. He was up SEVEN fucking times last night. I ask you, do newborns even get up that much?? So what are we doing about it? His adenoids are being removed next week. It better be the answer to our prayers or his ass is out on the curb.

Sundry
Sundry
14 years ago

Oh, now I feel bad for making it sound like JB NEVER gets up. He does, and he will any time I ask him to. I usually am the one to get up because I’m the one that wakes up when Dylan cries, and my options are 1) wake JB up and lie there wide awake hoping that he’s able to get Dylan back to sleep then once he gets back to bed lying there STILL wide awake because truthfully, I’m better at getting Dylan back down than JB is and I usually have to go back in anyway, or 2) getting up and dealing with it.

If I’ve already been in there a few times and I’m ready to drop-kick some babies, though, I dispatch JB to take over. And he does, no problem. He just . . . DOESN’T HEAR THE CRYING.

Kate
14 years ago

My daughter, now 4, didn’t sleep thru the night until she was 22 months. Even now she’s not a great sleeper and several times a week, she wakes up in the night, calling for us or plodding into our room. She’s also taken to just climbing into bed with us and then I get woken up by an elbow to the eye or something equally as lovely.

And yes, I’m like you in that I am not at my best when woken in the night by small children interrupting my sleep. I think it’s just a knee-jerk reaction for tired mommas.

Hang in there.

Kristin c.
14 years ago

Chatty Mcdonkeytalk?!?!?!!!!!!!! I am fucking scream-laughing right now! Seriously? You are a goddamn genius. GENIUS!!!!

MomBabe
14 years ago

I’ve resorted to drugging my child. She’s 2 AND A HALF and if I don’t give her 6mg of melatonin an hour before bed, then I have to wake up in the middle of the night and do the whole bottle, diaper change, have her sleep in my bed thing. It’s annoying as hell.

She Likes Purple
14 years ago

Mike will always, always get up if I ask, but I only ask because I’m sitting there ABOUT TO SLIT MY OWN WRISTS from exhaustion and frustration and I cannot think of doing anything other than passing the fucking buck and, yeah, that’s not exactly the kind of circumstance that encourages me to appreciate my husband for all he does (and all he snores through).

And when he does get up BECAUSE I AM SO FUCKING DONE, it’s not like I’m enjoying sleep and resting and, ahhhh, co-parenting us bliss. No. I’m tense. And on edge. And AHHHH.

So, I totally, TOTALLY get where you’re coming from. Totally.

Did I mention totally?

Niki P
Niki P
14 years ago

That fucking JB. What a fucking fuck. (Good thing he’s kinda hot!!)

Liz
Liz
14 years ago

So, ok, not to compare my dog to your child, but um, I’m going to: Our damn dog won’t sleep. 1:30am: Whine. Whine. Whine. WHIMPER.Whine. Whine. Whine.

And you know what? I can totally sleep through this. But my husband canNOT and gets so stressed out and so annoyed and so pissy at 3am I now anxiously jump out of bed to quiet the 100lb monster (the dog. Not the husband). And I find this so totally unfair, because, seriously, *I* can sleep through it, so why is this my problem?

But it is: I do NOT understand why he can’t deal with it better, but I can’t stop myself from trying to diffuse the situation from the get go, because no matter what the reason, he just can’t (for the record: babies crying? Totally not a problem for him. Dog pacing and whining? OMG). This is all my way of saying that the one night I was in a nyquil drugged sleep and was shaken awake to “deal with the dog,” well, my 3am person made your 3am person look like a nice southern lady.

alomellin
alomellin
14 years ago

Wow…how did you know I needed this today? My son is almost 20 months old. He has an obnoxious habit of throwing the most incredible fit EVER when I pick him up from daycare. Complete with bashing his head on the ground, kicking, scratching, hitting, screaming..it’s awesome. I literally carrie him out under my arm like a football while he wailed and did his amazing “I have no spine” back bend. I was angry at him. The age is hard. I love it so much for all the reasons you mentioned, but when it’s bad sometimes..it’s BAD. I always try to remind myself that the good times far outweigh the bad. It’s just hard to remember that when I want to stuff him in the trunk.

Phoe
14 years ago

I’m a little scared to have kids now.

I think I can deal with the actual process of childbirth (although it seems, um, less than savory).

But sleep? I loooooves my sleep.

:sigh:

sharon
sharon
14 years ago

Man, I’ve been there. That sweet baby of mine is now 8 and still gets up at night. NO crying, but he’s kind of big and takes up a lot of my precious bed space when he joins us. BUT, I also can threaten to take away Wii, DS, computer, and everything else. That usually works. Hang in there. These bad sleepers are very bright, have a lot going on in those little heads of theirs in the early morning hours.

Mandi
Mandi
14 years ago

You, my dear, are freaking hysterical!!

I have absolutely NO problem with anything you just wrote and I laughed out loud there at the end. And my first thought was, “I can’t wait to see people react to this!” LOL

I mean, you mention (gasp!) drugging your preshussss with Benadryl and then utter the words ‘ball gag’ in the same post as preshussss. Very slightly inappropriate? Yes. Freaking funny? YES!! And I thank you for entertaining me. :o)

Oh, and I hope Chatty McDonkeyTalk figures out the whole sleeping thing soon. Although, it makes for funny posts which are highly entertaining to me. (Thanks Dylan!! :D)

Kim S.
Kim S.
14 years ago

I’ll add my voice to the tribe. My twin girls are 2 1/2 and still fucking with me NIGHTLY. Last night I slept for 1.5 hours, up for 2 hours, slept for 3 hours and up for the day! This is why I shove my cryhole with Skittles and coffee. It is just like when they were infants and I was nursing them. But I had way more patience back then. Now…not so much.

Joanne
14 years ago

Oh, it sucks. I hate thinking about sleep. My daughter is just a little older than D, and she goes to bed super early when she has night wakings and it helps. Sometimes she goes to bed at like 6:30, though! She always wakes up early, like if she sleeps til 7:00 we consider it Sleeping Way In. Since we have yet another baby, who is five months old and breastfed, I am responsible for her and my husband is responsible for her sister in the night. But if we didn’t have the little baby, I think it would be fair to take turns, no matter who hears what. Because I am the kind of person who gets very, very resentful of another person’s inability to hear a baby cry. I’m afraid that I might be the kind of person who gets pretty murderous after being resentful, and I don’t want to go to prison for the rest of my life, so we take turns. :)

LJ
LJ
14 years ago

Wow, are you bringing back memories of my now 20 year old daughter when she was young. We like you tried everything and nothing seemed to work. Hate to say it, but she didn’t sleep till she was 4. After that she played catch up and still is. Hope the sleeping gets better real soon…

Redbecca
Redbecca
14 years ago

Sippy cup of water in the crib. I introduced it to him one evening before bed and you could see the light bulb go off above his head. 99% of the time it works. Almost overnight we went from the between 1 – 3am wakeup to sleeping through the night. One of those cups that doesn’t leak (I know they are rare, but there are a few!) and is bottom heavy so it resists tipping.
He usually still wakes, but manages to put himself back to sleep after a few sucks on that cup. Our problem right now is the cold. His room is the coldest in the house and he doesn’t like blankets. I’m trying to find a solution that doesn’t dry or sweat him out or bake the rest of us or suck all the money into heating bills.

Redbecca
Redbecca
14 years ago

sorry, a second thought occurs to me. It could be overtiredness. When they start to get erratic with naps it gets to be a real challenge to make sure they get enough sleep. A toddler who is overtired will pull the middle night wakes or super early wakes. As much as it pains you, try an earlier bedtime (even just about 20 minutes earlier) and consider moving the time for his afternoon nap. We can’t let ours y sleep past 6:30am if he STTN or he will fight the nap like a monster. If he does skip a nap, then bed time is automatically 30 – 60 minutes earlier, depending on how tired he appears and how quickly we can get through dinner and bath.

Amy
Amy
14 years ago

Chatty McDonkeytalk – snort! One of my kids had a brief phobia about donkeys, not sure why. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about them here, too.

VirtualSprite
14 years ago

I think the most beautiful words my doctor ever said to me was, “He’s two now. You can give him Benadryl.”

I’m pretty sure I kissed her opened-mouth right there in the exam room.

He’s five now and he sleeps through the night, but I’m afraid sleep deprivation from the first three years that he didn’t has killed many, many brain cells and I have no idea what we did to get to the point of not having an intimate relationship with 2 a.m.

Wendy
14 years ago

Hee to the Chatty McDonkeytalk.

I have a nap resistant 16 month old. I ran into a friend at the grocery store the other day and she was complaining that she had to wake her kid up to take him to the store because he’d been napping for 3(!!) hours. She sniffed “sometimes his naps are just too darn long”.

I wanted to punch her in the neck. But that is because I am a petty and mean person.

Katie
Katie
14 years ago

I have been following your blog for a while and you always crack me up!

My daughter (now 11) woke up 3 times a night for 2 years. And 1 time a night for the next 6 months. I never let her cry and I never anything drastic to “fix her”. I’m not sure how I survived getting up to teach high school knuckleheads every day during that time (starting at 7:30). Also, my husband snoring beside me the whole time! I feel your pain! Well, not anymore, but I’ve been there! It will get better….. eventually. And some day, you will look back and wonder “How did I survive?!” But you will! And, you will still love them in the end, somehow. Just don’t ever let him live it down! I know my daughter won’t!

Good Luck! I will be thinking about you! Feeling sorry for you! And wishing sleep for you ASAP!!

pam
pam
14 years ago

hee hee hee! i hope he starts sleeping better, but man, if he does, will we still get posts like this? because i loved it.

Amy M.
Amy M.
14 years ago

Chatty McDonkeytalk is awesome! We’re all about ducks at my house.

My husband woke up this morning & marveled at how wonderfully the 16-month-old slept last night. Sure, but I got up at 1:30, 3:00 & 5:00. Not that I’m bitter. Jerk.
Bring on the espresso!

Michelle
Michelle
14 years ago

You are brillant when sleep deprived! I needed a good laugh this morning, sorry it was at your expense. My 4 kids range in age
between 13 and 21 and I have the opposite
problem, can’t ever get them to get up on
time. All of them could sleep through a nuclear attack, I swear!

Becky
Becky
14 years ago

you cracked me up with the:

(I will grudgingly acknowledge that I am not necessarily at my personal best at 3 AM.)

Who is?