Reasons for which my son has screamed for me at between 3:00-4:00 a.m. this week:
The edges of his pillow don’t touch the bed. Even though the laws of physics state that his pillow edges have never touched the bed, this reality is a desperate tragedy. Right now.
The baby’s breathing woke him up. Not the crying at midnight or the screaming at 2:30 a.m. It’s that damned breathing that gets him every time. Or, really, one time out of the 600 (or so) minutes he sleeps.
The stars went out. The stars from the turtle go out after 30 minutes of glowing. But somehow, seven hours into the night, this is a 9-1-1-eligible emergency.
He forgot to finish dinner. Asked at the end of dinner and again before bed whether he had eaten enough, he answered in the affirmative. But 3:27 a.m. brings everything into a new clarity, and now dinner is not as done as he previously thought.
He forgot his favorite hat at school. No, he didn’t. But he needed to scream for me to check.
On a related note: creative and energetic four-and-a-half year old free to a good home. Definition of good changes at 3:00 a.m.
Definition of *free* changes at 3:00 a.m. too.
If I ever invent a transporter, you will be the first person to beam up to a sunny beach of solitude and margaritas.
jc, if you ever invent a transporter, you’d transport P to your boss’s bedroom at 3:00 a.m. Then yourself to a sunny beach of solitude and margaritas. But I would be honored and grateful to be third in the wonderous new Unicorninator.
Oh, yes. I know this story very well. Unlike my experience, however, you seem to see it in all of its absurdity. Just remember to keep that toaster far away from the bathwater (when either you or your son is in it) and you’ll pull through relatively unscathed.
Can you just attach a feed bag to his bed? And I’m with P, stars just shouldn’t go out. It’s alarming.
If breathing bothers him, please don’t bring him to my house. Miss M. has gargantuan tonsils and breathes like Darth Vader. Poor P would be traumatized.
First, I so love your writing voice. I just have to tell you from time to time lest you forget that I think that.
Second, I am so in tune with this. What the heck? Why can’t this age sleep through the night? Youngest is forever informing us that he wants his “fish light turned on” — which we let him have for falling asleep. We say no, we can’t leave it on all night because (a) it’s one of those magic lantern thingies and the walls are paper and presumably they wouldn’t catch on fire but who knows and (b) darkness is good for sleeping. But then are foiled by our own rule bc we have to get up and turn it on at 3 if we want to finish the night of sleep since he will either yelp from his bed that he wants it turned on or come in and wake us up to tell us that we have to turn it on.
Thirdly, I know you have a baby so you have much more going on with sleep deprivation, so just ignore my complaint aspect but please accept the commiseration part of the second point.
ps: sometimes he wants just to snuggle with us, so he comes in around 5 and climbs in bed. Then he spends the next hour critiquing.
Youngest: “Mommy, I don’t like your breathing.” Me: “But Youngest, I have to breathe to stay alive.”
Youngest: “But it makes a sound.”
Me: “I’m sorry. You can go back into your room if it’s bothering you.”
Youngest: “Noooooo! I want to sleep here!”
Youngest: “Mommy, I don’t like your breathing.”
This post is lovely, so sweet how it captures the craziness of parental sleep deprivation AND the beautiful minds attached to it.
My youngest is now three. I wonder if I will EVER sleep through the night again. Sometimes they do, though not all of them together. It’s like they’ve had a meeting to decide who’s turn it is. Someone needs the potty or a sippy cup has gone missing or a nightmare about a giant mouse and an itty bit cat has captured an imagination and the story is just begging to be shared.
And oh how I will miss them when they are grown and gone into their own lives, no longer needing me in the middle of the night.
Ink, last I checked dragons breathe fire. Tell youngest you can breathe with noise or you can light his ass on fire with dragon breath. His choice. I’ll beam you up too.
This is when the ‘cry it out’ method becomes particularly effective…you parent your child back to sleep and then you cry and cry and cry….
My son decides at about 3:07 every morning that he needs to be covered up. Screams from his room (or his brother’s if he’s decided to move there) “MOMMY cover me up!!!” Mind you I cover him before I go to bed and he immediately rolls over to uncover himself. He doesn’t stay covered all night long but apparently there’s some sort of cold blast that hits only his bed at this ungodly time!
MacDougal, nothing like a little homicide/suicide avoidance to make the night seem shorter, eh? ;-)
Kitch, he’d find a reason no matter where or what. You know the bedtime shenanigans, and now the 3ams. He’s like the anti-Tolkein and has Threesies instead of Elevensies.
Ink, you make my heart glow every time you say that. I can’t express how tickled I am to be praised by the likes of you. The next novel is officially dedicated to you.
I do not, with all my sleep deprivation, ever begrudge a nightwaking parent their sleep complaints. Just because I wake x number of times doesn’t mean your y number of wakes isn’t significant.
And please don’t be mad that I laughed (genuinely) out loud at Youngest’s complaints. You’re nicer than I am. I’d begin the 5am cuddle with “and if you say one word you’re out on your ear.”
Shawna, it took P so long to sleep through the night that I am flabbergasted now when he wakes. The baby wakes often, and P has nightmares every night, but doesn’t often wake. So a week of (pardon me) bullshit at 3am is quite frustrating. Please, please don’t tell me it is this way for 18 years.
Yuliya I never thought to notice that, in refusing to ever let my children cry alone, I set myself up for a lot of crying. Dang. That’s both heartening and disheartening.
jc, did you just call Ink “Dragon Breath”? I think I smell a new nail polish name…
Heather, I will admit with much chagrin that P went through that at about 2.5. And I went in every night and bellowed, “you know how to pull up your covers, so do it and don’t ever call me for that again!” It lasted a week or two. I feel awful by the light of day, but not at night when he doesn’t call me.
Yes, why yes I did call Inkers “dragon breath”. :P
As I giggle with P’s antics and your running commentary, I think I would go slightly mad if this was a constant thing. Cry it out indeed!
I’m pretty sure I’ve yelled “I DON’T CARE! GO BACK TO SLEEP! WE”LL DEAL WITH IT IN THE MORNING!” at 3am to one or another child in my household. See, I’m a brilliant mom. Especially at 3am.
I think I have one of those. Nothing I can say or do to make your life easier now, but do know and tell yourself, THIS too shall get easier. (Won’t lie to you. If it’s his personality, it will not pass. But it will get easier ’cause when he’s older, like mine, you can tell him to STFU and go take care of whatever urgent issues he’s experiencing…)
My personal favorite is the edged of the pillow. That reminds me of some of my Diego’s random emergencies related to socks that don’t feel right, and being unable to wear any clothes (pretty much ever) because they “are too big.” Mind you, I could put a skin tight wet suit on the child and it would be too big. Fortunately these emergencies happen during the day though. Sleep deprivation is the worst ever.
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