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Night Terrors

Regular readers of the blog may recall early on a discussion about how Justine was decidedly different from other newborns.  Yes I recounted, with perhaps a shade of naivete, the glorious ‘through the night and then some’ sleeping habits of our beautiful daughter.  I’m sure many of you that have already traversed the early years of parenting read this with a knowing smile, confident in the fact that at some point, either in the near or distant future, that situation would invariably change.  Perhaps you even smirked, you sly dog.

Well, to paraphrase Stewie, our uppence has come.

What was once an orderly routine that had our child in bed by 8 or 9 and left us with hours upon hours to accomplish tasks, retell stories from our day, and work on a room-sized miniature version of our town, has now devolved into what amounts to a frantic crapshoot, leaving all three of us tired, frustrated, and our miniature town infested with Beetlejuices and Indians in the cupboard.

These problems appear to be cyclical for us – once we feel like we’ve figured out what the “stresser” is – be it a drafty house, a painful vaccination, or tragically poor arrival time of traveling yodelers) – and she returns to normal sleeping habits, something else comes along and stirs up the issue again.  We’ve gone through several iterations of these, and have done everything from installing new windows to forming vigilante groups to “handle” the yodeling folks, each with varying degrees of success.

The recent flareup has been somewhat unique. Essentially we follow the usual routine of feeding at 6, bathtime at 6:30, squash lesson at 7, stories and bedtime at 7:30.  She usually goes down without too much trouble, and we enjoy 45 minutes or so of blissful silence, long ago having turned off the sound on the TV, to the point where I can’t even watch without closed captioning turned on.  Then, she awakes.  Dramatically.  Like Psycho the shower scene dramatically.

We take turns trying to console her, hopefully getting her back down in 20 minutes or so on a good night.  On a bad night, she doesn’t go back down, instead joining us downstairs to rob of us of any semblance of adult life that we might have, and forcing us to endure the masterful puppetry of Baby Einstein, a set of DVDs that destroys the very souls of parents who have to watch them.

Assuming we are able to get her back down, we then attempt to return to our normal activities, and eventually decide to head to bed.  We get ready quietly, using the downstairs toilet and brushing our teeth as quietly as possible.  I try not to scrape the shovel while cleaning out the stables and Kim does her nightly pre-bedtime bugling with a mute firmly in place.  Finally, we climb into bed and at the very moment when our minds are ready to shift into a dreamy neutral, the crying begins anew.

She knows.  I’m sure of it.  She’s craftier than I give her credit for.

So the comforting and nursing begins again, as we try all the tricks in the book to get her back down.  Sometimes we are not successful, and we have to bring her into bed with us so that she’ll calm down enough to sleep.  Occasionally we have to rot our brains with Baby Einstein in bed as both Kim and I drift off while Justine intently stares at a sock with eyes.  And then there are those precious few times these days where we are actually able to get her back down in her crib, her music playing softly, humidifier silently spouting it’s watery goodness.  We silently back away, overjoyed that we may enjoy a restful night sleep.

That’s when the cat meows.  Loudly.

Posted in Day to Day Baby Living. Tagged with , .

  • New-Dad-Blog

    Our 3 week old sleeps all the time. She wakes up at night but since I am the bringer home of the bacon, and my wife stays at home she handles that.

    I cover the late shift from time to time to give her some more sleep time though. . .

    God, I hope it stays this way!

  • Otter Thomas

    I have wrote several times on my blog about what I call the quest for sleep. It has to be the single hardest thing about being a new parent.

  • ciara

    ugh! i’m glad my baby days are over. my 2nd, my oldest girl, she cried constantly. nothing pleased her. it made my x once state to me that he almost told me to quit my job so i could stay home w her. :-/

  • john

    hang in there….this too shall pass.

  • Super Mega Dad

    I agree with John. They eventually get over it, but it takes time. I’ve had so many nights rocking babies to sleep in the rocking chair and listening to crying ALL night long. Now that they are older, we just get nightmares every so often, so we aren’t NEAR as sleep deprived.