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Just when you think “hey, I think I’ve got this parenting thing down a bit, I’m going to make it” – WHAM! sleep regression hits you in the face with a 2×4 that has “dumbass” scrawled across it.
Butters sucked at sleeping his first 4 months. Then things got better. Here and there he would have a hard time due to colds or teething or just being an asshole, but for the most part, he became a pretty good sleeper. Clearly he sensed that we were getting a bit too comfortable, or maybe he sensed we are trying for another baby. The past few weeks he has fought sleep like his crib is made of fire ants and sadness. We have his nice, quiet bedtime routine which he essentially gives the finger to and decides it’s wrestle-mania time. You can try all you want to give a 16 month old “quiet time” but nothing can still the monkey-on-a-trapeze filled circus that is going on in their head. As we head up to his room he points at all the items he passes and cheerily babbles and points, making himself just cute and sweet enough to ensure I don’t leave him in his crib and drive to the closest bar. The ironic part is, a little nightcap or maintaining my caffeine level usually is what gets me through times like these. We implanted our second (and last) frozen embryo this past week so in case I do have a little poppyseed trying to grow inside of me, I cannot have any alcohol and have cut way back on caffeine. (Yes I have one cup of coffee. Please say some sanctimonious bullshit about it to my face. I’m injected full of hormones, it would be a fun conversation!)
So at 1030pm, painfully sober and sooo tired, I am holding a wiggling 2’7, 31lb toddler until my arms start to shake or my back gives out. If I leave him in his crib to cry it out he screams MUCH louder and more melodramatically than when he was 7 months old. He has this guttural, warbling scream/cry he does to the point of spitting up. I enter his room to the smell of spit up and to see his red and swollen faced looking like I left him for dead. Then I start thinking, am I really trying to do this all over again with another baby? Am I insane?! Then I have a meltdown right along side my toddler. I figure it’s probably a bonding experience or something.
Hearing your child make any noise at night instantly jacks my heart rate up about 50 points. I get sweaty and anxious, anticipating the cry that is coming, signaling yet another sleepless night. Actually, parenting in general causes heart rate spikes pretty regularly. Isn’t this called HIIT? The high intensity interval training that is supposed to be the secret to an effective workout? I should have the body of Angelina Jolie by now! Calmly playing at the playground,heart rate a cool and calm 75, then BAM! Butters runs full speed into a post, heart rate 110! At the grocery store strolling down the aisle then BAM! toddler chucks his sippy cup at a strangers head and spits out all the banana chips in his mouth; heart rate jumps to 115. Hearing his soft babbling as he wakes up from a nap then BAM! You walk in and see everything in his crib smells like pomegranate from a brand new tube of Burts Bees chapstick he had tucked away and has eaten. Oh AND the cap is missing?! Heart rate spikes to 130.
I know this sleep regression phase will pass, I may even chuckle about it over drinks someday….Until then, if you hear on Fox News that an Oregon woman and her husband were hauled away by child protective services due to blood curdling screams and repeated hysterical crying coming from their house, please be a character witness and tell them it was just sleep regression and my kid was just being a dramatic dick. Dick can be your word, you should probably tell them I only refer to him with such monikers as “angel face”, “sweet cupcake frosting” and “life’s blessing that I’ve never second guessed for a split second”. Maybe have your hair in rollers and half a cigarette hanging from your mouth, that shit sells on the news.