Last week Dylan caught one of those daycare colds that makes the rounds like a scene from Outbreak, where one child coughs and their nearest playmate instantly starts rubbing their eyes and after .07 seconds have elapsed the kid across the room has green slime jetting from both nostrils.

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Woe.

He was mostly okay during the day, but for two nights his lying-down cough seemed to worsen into croupy territory and as a result no one got any sleep. Most of you are probably all too familiar with the wee-hour croup routine, which involves steamy baths and lots of hours logged sitting bolt upright in the rocking chair, hoping against hope that the next gap between chest-racking coughs will be long enough for both of you to pass out for an entire restful minute or so.

He’s fine now, but all that nighttime intervention seems to have set us into one butt-fucker of a sleep regression, for I have no other explanation as to why he is continuing to wake throughout the night. I mentioned a while ago that Dylan predictably wakes up once, and as it turns out once is exactly my limit. Anything more than that and I’m plunged into a spiraling well of frustration and self-pity, and as JB can attest, when my bedmate snores peacefully through Cryfest #4, 3:27 AM Edition, I don’t just get kicky, I start aiming for the balls.

(“ZzzzzOw. What the hell?”

“IT IS YOUR TURN. THE TIME OF YOUR TURN IS NOW. GET THE FUCK UP AND DEAL WITH THAT BLATTING CHILD BEFORE I LOSE WHAT’S LEFT OF MY SANITY. YOU WILL NOTE MY HEAD HAS SPUN 180 DEGREES AND I AM SPEAKING WITH THE VOICE OF SATAN. THAT INDICATES YOU SHOULD HURRY.”)

I hope to hell Dylan gets back to his usual routine on his own, because I have completely given up on the idea of sleep training. It didn’t really work when he was younger, and I highly doubt it will work now that he’s in possession of a steel will that cannot be broken no matter what lengths his desperate parents go to. In addition to being funny, smart, and downright adorable, my youngest son is—and I’m not saying this lightly—the most obstinate child on the face of the planet. I’ve never known stubbornness like his, and I’m including my own inability to concede when it comes to certain matters about which I am correct and you are not.

I’m sure it’s a trait that will eventually serve him well in life, unless he chooses a career in the military, but what I’m saying is if he refuses to sleep we are pretty much all fucked until 1) he chooses otherwise, or 2) the Benadryl kicks in, and don’t even think I won’t go there.

Anyway, in the midst of the sleep deprivation and resentment and all, I sort of suddenly realized that his 2-year birthday is coming right up. Two years! (OF NOT SLEEPING OH MY GOD.) It’s both hard to believe he’ll be two already—wasn’t he just a tiny redheaded baby?—and impossible to remember a time when he wasn’t part of our lives.

We aren’t having some big party or anything, but I would like to think of something creative to do with his cake. Specifically, I would like it to be horse-themed, and really, that’s the sort of thing they should mention in that otherwise horrifically comprehensive What to Expect series: enjoy your adult interests while you can, sucker, because someday you will spend your spare time surfing photos of horse-shaped cakes and buying novelty cookie cutters. And staring at this photo with both terror and admiration.

Of course, knowing Dylan I will probably drive myself batty to come up with a perfect equine-pastry and he will refuse to eat it or possibly hurl it across the room in disgust. Then he’ll wake up at 12, 2:30, and 4:05 AM chirping “CAKE? CAKE? CAKE? CAKE?”

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Amy
Amy
13 years ago

Hmmmm, I have a 5 year old Dylan as far as obstinate goes, complete with croupy cough and green slime. I’ve been refering to him all week as “the green snot monster”. Good luck with a horse cake…how about making the cake, putting the horse shaped cookie cutters on top of it and make the shape out of sprinkles or something??

warcrygirl
13 years ago

Horse Cake? What, is that horse slowly sinking in quicksand? I’d do a sheet cake and place smallish plastic toy horses in a festive meadow setting. Jr’s birthday has passed but his party is this Sunday. I am making a sheet cake and (hopefully) making it look like a basketball court.

Hoping you guys are healthy and snoozing soon!

Danell
13 years ago

That middle of the night conversation is painfully hilarious!
I am not sure what little segment of the stork network that you, emily, and me got our youngest babies delivered from, but it sure does help to read about you guys…this whole not sleeping thing is just a whole different ballgame when it goes on for this long.

Erin
Erin
13 years ago

Ahh, yes, sleep. I remember those nights. My little stubborn boy is a few months younger than Dylan and he’s been on a sleep strike for 3 months now, complete with 4 AM wake up calls (he NEVER GOES BACK TO SLEEP). In addition, he wakes up 1-3 times before then, which gives me insomnia. And if my husband goes in instead of me he begins screaming and sobbing hysterically as though my husband is dangling him over hot coals. So hubby sleeps with earplugs jammed in his ears and I get up every bloody time. I don’t think there’s one blessed day in the past 20 months when I haven’t seen the sun rise. And in the summer I went to sleep before it set.

Brenna
Brenna
13 years ago

I just want to say that I would think twice before going with a horse-shaped cake, because you’re going to EAT it. Just saying, it could be… traumatic? unsettling? You might want to go simple and just do horse decorations that can be removed before the scarfing commences.

Or you could go the wicked route, which would be a red-velvet, horse-shaped cake. With strawberry filling.

Joanne
13 years ago

My girl just turned two and I feel the same way – it seems like it went fast but it also seems like I have known her forever, and been her servant twice as long. I’d go with inedible horse decorations on a cupcake or cake, so as not to freak anybody out. Then he can keep the decorations forever. Also I find the only way to get them to sleep all night is to not go in, otherwise they learn to wake up for visiting time. It sucks but there it is.

Korinna
13 years ago

Isn’t there some dumb movie called “Wild Horses Can’t Be Broken”? It’s like your poor son (poor you?) and his unwillingness to bend to sleep training.

And I get “kicky” too in the night, but it’s usually because of snoring. Gah. Frankly, that makes me a little “stabby.”

Denice
13 years ago

If you want a really easy-to-make horsie cake, go to http://www.kraftcanada.com, click on “Your Kids” and then “Parties.” I made that horse cake for my Gracie’s birthday last year, and it was super easy. And I don’t do fancy cakes. At all.

Denice
13 years ago

Okay, now that I’ve re-read the recipe from Kraft Canada, I should let you know that all I did was make a regular cake mix, cut it out using their template, iced it with regular chocolate icing, and decorated it with candies. Much easier. And the kid had lots of fun helping decorate it.

Kristin
Kristin
13 years ago

Ha–the last line is CLASSIC! Also, are you going to attempt that horse cake? Looks terrifyingly difficult!

Brenda
Brenda
13 years ago

I’m all about cupcake cakes. They are so easy to do! This one is cute! http://www.takesthecakecp.com/photos/main.php?g2_itemId=992

Brenda
Brenda
13 years ago

oh and…oh my goodness! When did he turn from a baby to a little boy?? So cute!

Lesley
Lesley
13 years ago

It might be easier to get him a horse than make a horse cake. (How in God’s name are horse cakes made?)

Julie
13 years ago

Holy sh*t. No way is that a real cake.

Wendy
13 years ago

Gah! That horse cake is fuh-reaky. Yikes.

My 20 month old got up 3 times last night and then woke for the day at 5am. If this continues, I will have to consider selling him to the gypsies.

Dana
Dana
13 years ago

What shade of lipstick is he wearing in that pic? I need it.

SKL
SKL
13 years ago

It may be time to break the baby monitor. Permanently.

Seriously, I never used mine after the first few days, and both of my kids are still alive and kicking. If I’d been sleep deprived more than a few times, they might not have fared so well.

Joanne
Joanne
13 years ago

You could always get a horse shaped cake pan. Wilton makes one or two I believe.

.303 Bookworm
.303 Bookworm
13 years ago

Easy cake to do, means you can make it yourself (ie: quality control the ingredients):
http://www.easy-birthday-cakes.com/jenns-horse-cake.html

Or, just slap a picture on a cake you’ve plain iced. Just don’t look at the ingredients. (I used one of these for a ‘spiderman’ themed party and it turned out really well.)
http://thepartyworks.com/animals-wild-horses-p-4826.html?ref=228

6512 and growing
13 years ago

The night waking is one of the meanest tricks ever invented by children.
We did sticker charts at our house. Your stubborn one might be a little young, but the concept is: they get a sticker for every night they sleep thru night. After three: reward. Then up it to five stickers = reward. It’s all very tangible. Eventually you actually throw away the sticker chart and just sleep.

Leah
13 years ago

Screw going to school, man. You should be teaching comedy writing at Harvard. I bow before your mastery.

Mandy
Mandy
13 years ago

That sounds pretty much like my son. If it helps any, at 5 now he sleeps through the night. :) He is the most stubborn mule ever. I remember once he was 2 or 3 we were taking a walk with my mother and he was insisting on being held! NO! Set me down! No hold me! and finally I just walked off and said he was free to join us when he wanted. Neither he nor I would give in and he just stood there as we walked farther and farther away from him. My mother (even after raising me, stubborn as I am) was astonished at his obstinacy, saying it will serve him well one day. Yeah, I hope so, if we both survive his childhood… Really, though, he can be so delightful and charming, and I really hope that he can learn to navigate his emotions better when he gets older. Sigh.

elz
elz
13 years ago

No ideas on a horse cake (Good Luck). But, I spent way too many hours on a mermaid cake, a fish cake, and a castle. I have to say, each was successful. But, why WHY do we do this to ourselves???!!

Sahara
13 years ago

My son is under the impression that he will be getting a farking WEDDING CAKE for his birthday next month. Like, WITH FLOWERS and MULTIPLE LEVELS and everything. And I? Am doing me best to oblige him. Clearly the children make us insane. Or just incredibly stupid.

Nikki
Nikki
13 years ago

Hee. I am in the midst of trying to figure out how the eff I’m gonna make a Bolt cake. I have set high standards for myself the last three years, with an Elmo cake, a Curious George cake, and a VeggieTales cake… but I’ve never tried to tackle anything much beyond a round head. And she’s pretty insistent that the whole BODY needs to be represented. Perhaps I’ll show her the horse cake, and tell her to be damned careful what she wishes for…

Jess
13 years ago

OK, my husband loves goats so as a semi-joke I got him a goat-shaped “groom’s cake” and served it at our rehearsal dinner. It turned out awesome. I called a bunch of bakeries (and we were living in DC, an expensive city, at the time) and got outrageous quotes ranging from $500 to $2000. I eventually managed to get a much more reasonable quote by going for more of a silhouette lying on its side. It still cost $150, but I learned from the whole experience that a cake shaped like an animal lying on its side is MUCH easier to make than one standing up like the one you linked.

Here’s a picture of the goat cake, if you’re interested: http://duwaxloolu.blogspot.com/2008/11/goat-cake.html

Jess
13 years ago

Oh and also, to form some of the more challenging shapes like the horns and the hooves, our baker used something similar to rice krispie treats covered with frosting. So those parts weren’t really edible, but it was fine and it looked awesome and there was still tons of cake to go around. I will say, though, that the cake did look very much like a DEAD goat. So, that might traumatize Dylan a bit.

Jennifer
13 years ago

“IT IS YOUR TURN. THE TIME OF YOUR TURN IS NOW.” Not sure why that made me laugh so much, but it did.

Laura
Laura
13 years ago

You should TOTALLY put all your creative effort into duplicating the horse-head in that one scene from The Godfather. You know, now that I think about it, that might permanently fix his fascination with horses.

Erin (Snarke)
13 years ago

That cake is…wow. Just. Wow. I too am intrigued, terrified and in awe of the person who made it.

Kim
Kim
13 years ago

Wow… the horse cake is a work of art.. but alas..a bit too “real” looking to stab a fork into without feeling like a horse poacher. I also recommend going with a sheet cake sorta deal and horsing it up.

Kristin H
Kristin H
13 years ago

That horse cake is hilarious. For my son’s 2nd birthday, I made a regular cake and stuck a toy horse on the top. He loved it! That’s the beauty of two–they don’t know any better.

maggie
maggie
13 years ago

My obstinate child may give yours a run for his money, I’m just sayin’. She’s a redhead too and we’ve survived 4 whole years together. She is impossible to discipline. IMPOSSIBLE. She can also be the sweetest, funniest, smartest, most charming girl ever.

On a cake-related note, it isn’t a horse, but it was sure fun to make this rainbow cake for my daughter (and you can decorate it however you want). It was a big hit: http://www.omnomicon.com/rainbowcake
BTW, I did not make the ‘diet’ cake, I just used a white cake mix and followed the instructions for coloring it. Good luck!

Tia
Tia
13 years ago

My son turned two in October and we call it a good night if he sleeps from 10pm to 6am. We did however convert his crib into the toddlerbed and it has actually helped. I have him get in bed with me at night and we cuddle and watch Shrek (OMG I”m so sick of SHREK) and after awhile he gets up and says he’s going to bed. Of course this doesn’t happen everynight, but he no longer wakes me up seven times a night screaming his little fucking head off like he’s in a prison.
I can’t wait to see what you come up with for Dylan’s cake. I’m sure he will love it :)

Belle
Belle
13 years ago

Oh, you are such a good writer. Your last paragrah is exactly why I keep coming back, even tho you are a young mother and I am, well, old! :)

I can’t believe Dylan’s turning 2 already, either. You’ll come up with a cake and for gawd’s sake, whoever made that horse cake should be shot. Fugliest thing I ever saw!

cakeburnette
cakeburnette
13 years ago

More reason to love you! I, too, am not so great with toddler & sleep deprivation. Baby #1 was born with days & nights mixed up. I got no more than 20 minutes of uninterrupted sleep between 11pm & 6am for the first 5 weeks of his life and thought I was going to go insane. Fortunately, we found a system that worked for us & him and by 10 weeks he was sleeping 6 hours straight. Baby #2 was God’s gift for not selling Baby #1 to the gypsies. She was BORN sleeping 6 hours a night.

Of course, the flip side of that was that she was the WORST 3-YEAR-OLD IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND. We are still not over that one terrible year, in fact. Although the good news is that after about 10 years of misery with the hardest-headed (I don’t think that’s actually a word, but whatever) toddler/preschooler/child in the universe, she’s become a very nice pre-teen. So there’s hope!

Maria
13 years ago

Wow. I just wanted to comment and say that I have absolutely nothing of value to offer in your sleep situation (total suckage, sorry), but holy crow that cake is insane.

MH
MH
13 years ago

That horse cake reminds me of Uni-Corn Porn !

Gaby
Gaby
13 years ago

Oh, I was so thinking what Laura was thinking, with regard to the horse head! Maybe you could slip it next to JB the next time he tries to sleep through a middle-of-the-night wakeup, and he may get the hint.

Carrie
13 years ago

For my oldest’s 4th horse-obsessed party, I ordered a Spirit cake topper. Basically it was a small-ish “action figure” that stood on a base. I had the local grocery store make the cake (trust me, it’s GOOD cake) and I picked a “mountain theme” for them to airbrush. Plop went Spirit–galloping through his confectionary home! It was a hit.

And…I’m very sorry for your (sleep) loss.

Ris
Ris
13 years ago

That cake is freaking ridiculous. Whoa.

sheilah
13 years ago

This “…he’ll wake up at 12, 2:30, and 4:05 AM chirping “CAKE? CAKE? CAKE? CAKE?”” made me shoot coffee out of my nose.

My co-workers are wondering why I need to clean my computer screen…

Colleen
Colleen
13 years ago

Thank you, thank you for the laughs this morning! Your account of the conversation with JB was made me laugh out loud, and that horse cake photo was, um, creepy but hilarious. Can’t imagine serving that thing. Of course, 2 year olds would be in awe of it… Best of luck with the cake, cookies and party. I look forward to reading about it.

KKF
KKF
13 years ago

The horse cake you linked to was kinda gross looking but also impressive.

I suggest you get a good old fashioned green-frosted sheet cake and plunge toy horses on top. Then he can get a family of delicious, frosting-coated horses AND a horse-themed cake and nobody loses any stomach lining. He’s two. Save the fireworks for pre-pre-teen parties.

Claudia
13 years ago

I made a horse head cake for my youngest (and oh so very stubborn) daughter. Shall I email the photo to you? I am not a cake decorator per se but simply a cake baker who has been forced to contrive all kinds of cakes for children for whom ROUND is not good enough.

kootnygirl
13 years ago

My older daughter was born on the same date as my husband, and my younger was born only 6 days after my birthday, so the whole family is doomed to princess and barbie cakes for the next 10 years or so.

On a brighter note, they generally sleep better after their second birthday (maybe they get tired out from all that daytime tantrumming).

MRW
MRW
13 years ago

WE have that same daycare cold going in the house now. My 6 month old has not pouring out of her nose, can hardly breathe, and therefore struggles to take her bottle. MY seven year old spends half the night coughing up a lung.
Sucks.

They have got to be kidding me with that horse cake. I think Laura’s idea is much better…

Deborah
Deborah
13 years ago

You could always go the gazillion dollar route and have someone else do the dirty work:

http://fieldsofcake.blogspot.com/2009/03/custom-order-horsie-cupcakesi-love-them.html

yasmara
yasmara
13 years ago

My son just turned 3 & in the past 14 nights he has slept through the night exactly TWICE. My sincere sympathies to you – I think it’s true that some kids just. don’t. sleep. & unfortunately until they leave the blatting stage (just when is that?) we have to deal with it. Honestly, kid, I don’t care if you’re not sleeping, I just don’t want to be involved!

Mary
Mary
13 years ago

My 7-week-old has that exact same cold, and oh, the smoker’s hack, and the poor snotty attempts at breastfeeding, and the drippy crying. She’s a sad little peanut, and not a big fan of that thing that sucks slime out of babies noses.

That horse cake? I can just see the look on his face when someone announces that it’s time to eat the pretty horsey.