"Temporality is part of the truth" -- Chuck Klosterman

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hepped Up on Goofballs

The boy would not fall asleep.

He wasn't crying or fussing or hungry or overtired or upset in any way. He just wouldn't go to sleep. In fact, he seemed happier than ever. He was pleasantly playing with toys and rolling around and talking and humming and giggling. As if he were, in the immortal words of Chief Wiggum, hepped up on goofballs.

Usually Xander's asleep around 7:30. Sometimes it takes some doing. Like an extra bottle. Or a tight wrap. Or a time in his swing (which we reserve for daytime naps). Or just a standing rocking motion while his parents finish watching The Wire. And always it's obvious that he's tired. No more playtime. A bit of whining and fussing. Fists rubbing at the eyes.
This is what he should have been doing.

But not this time. For about four hours, Xander behaved like it was the first time his parents allowed him to stay up late and he was going to take full advantage.

We tried everything. At about 6:00, we fed him his dinner of sweet potatoes and rice. For a while he sat quietly next to Mommy while she started watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix. He would doze off, but whenever anyone or anything moved, he woke up and would act as if he just had the best night's sleep of his life. I changed him and dressed him in his new ducky jammies, and then he played with his Clifford dog or his sock monkey, rolled around the bed some more, mewed charmingly at his mom.

A warm bottle around eight-ish, and he was out for a few minutes, the cat-nap tiding him over for another long spell. I took him into the nursery and rocked him on my shoulder, an episode of The Cosby Show on my laptop. Xander didn't mind. He just wanted to look around the place, like he'd never really studied his own room in this dim light before. He wasn't wiggly or fussy. I held him still. His head was up and alert for about fifteen minutes, his hands reaching out for imaginary toys or bugs or fire in midair. Finally, his attention waned, eyes blinking in slow motion, head dipping and resting on my shoulder. By the end of the episode, he was asleep in my arms. I lifted him into his crib, and as I tried to place a blanket over his warm body, he perked back up and smiled and giggled at me, like he was just fooling. Gotcha, Dad!

Swing time. Nursery CD playing. Quiet in the house. Rain falling softly outside. Xander laughing at himself in the mirror at the top of his swing, lifting himself up, doing stomach crunches to grab at the sheep dangling from the mobile above him.

This was officially weird. Nearly 9:30. Any other night, if he were awake this late, he would be so wound up and over tired that he would be whining through his pacifier so loudly the swamp cooler would complain.

The only thing left was the magic car drive. May suggested a final late Dairy Queen run (we begin our diet tomorrow), so I strapped him in his car seat, threw a blanket over him, and drove off. Through the mirror fastened in front of his car seat, I could see him grinning at the blinking street lights, and as I pulled into the DQ drive-thru, he began talking to me. Making noises so adorable I had to laugh and talk back to him. There was a bit of a wait for our ice cream treats, and I was singing Culture Club to him earlier in the day to get him to eat his peas (I don't know why, but it worked), so I sang "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" to see if that would convince him to sleep it off. I know my daughters would gladly close their eyes and cover their ears if they had to endure me singing like Boy George, but Xander was undaunted. I got my last sugar fix and took him home.

Just before my block, I caught a glimpse of the boy's face in the street light. His eyes were closed. His pacifier fallen from his lips. That's a sign that he's asleep enough not to need the soothing suckling. I knew I was home free. I kept him in his car seat and carried it into his room and left him there on the floor, knowing the longer I allowed him to sleep there, the easier it would be to move him to his crib.

I tried to take a photo for proof, but he wouldn't have it.
Or it was part of his game.
Can you guess how long it was before he woke up again? It's about ten o'clock now. Still no grumbling from him, but despite not being asleep, we can tell he is tired now. Out of the car seat, into Mommy's arms. Rocking chair. Hold tight. Into the crib. Aaaaand...he's still awake. Still smiling, still playing this fun game with Mom and Dad, still the happiest kid on the block. Still not sleeping. May tries again. We need to wrap him up. Velcro him together. Put him down.

By 10:30, the goofballs had worn off. He was solidly asleep. Wrapped up for another night.
This is him this morning. You'd never know he didn't sleep much last night.

Geesh, I have a cute kid.


  1. Awww...How could you resist those big, bright eyes? I'm sorry you had such a long night. Sometimes those babies just don't want to go to sleep, and they'll fight off the sandman like the devil himself.

    Here's hoping that Xander's long, late night will catch up with him and that he'll go to bed nice and easy for you tonight. :)

    PS: Does Xander have any of those Goofballs left? I could use a few of them every now and then...

  2. OMG, that takes me back! My oldest would wake-up the minute we put her in her crib. Had some verrrry long nights. Only if we resorted to the car ride, she stayed in her car seat (beside our bed, so I could rock it if necessary).

  3. He looks very surprised in that last picture. Like, "Geeze, I went through a lot of trouble keeping you guys running around last night, and look at you! You're awake!"

    He's diabolically planning a second attempt. He might last longer next time.

  4. That stage is so fun - when they start becoming so aware that when you take them from room to room they really look around like they've never been there before.

    I had one kid who didn't sleep at all - still stays up too late and gets up too early. And the second kid who has always been a great little sleeper.

  5. First off, YES...you do have a cute kid! I'm dubbing him the Heartbreaker Kid - look out all you parents with wee little girls, this little guy is going to steal their hearts.

    As to the "staying up and partying with the uber tired parents" I cracked up, my girl (24 yrs old now) was just like yours - big smile, no fussing, easy as pie, but sometimes she just did not want to go to bed!

    Ah, the joys...and there is plenty of that when you have a happy little tyke like yours!

    Cheers, Jenny
    I'm adding myself as a Follower so I can check in on how your doing in the parenting department! I will check out your other sites too!

  6. Have you ever tried the dryer trick? Set him in his car seat on top of the dryer and run it on air fluff, so there's no heat. Just humming and vibration. Fools them into thinking they are in the car. Just remember! On TOP of the dryer! On Top. The other way doesn't work worth a bean.

  7. That's a cute kid you got there. Almost makes me want to have another one...almost.

    Car rides used to put my daughter out like a light too.

  8. My daughter was like that just the other night. Little prick would not go down and you would think she could manage some degree of tired at two in the morning. Nope. In bed with the wife and I, laughing and poking me in the nipple saying; "BEEP!" then laughing. Insulted and kept awake. Kids are cruel!

  9. How is it that no other commenters have commented on your use of BOY GEORGE as a lullaby technique? I just fell a little more in love with Building Castles on the Beach.

  10. Candice: The funny thing was he wasn't fighting anything. He wasn't tired. Last night was more normal. He was tired and he cried about it for about an hour until he fell asleep.

    And I don't know where he keeps his stash or I'd be offering goofballs to everyone.

    Vicki: Xander wakes up if you move him at all. That's the worst part.

    Chanel: He's usually pretty routine. Maybe you're right and he's planning a sneak attack.

    Jolene: It is fun to watch him become more observant. Just, why does he have to do it at night?

    Pearson: Yeah, I hope this didn't come across like I was complaining. He is a pretty easy child, all things considered. I'd rather stay up with him happy than screaming.

    Thanks for stopping in.

    darev: We just got a fancy new dryer. It's a pretty sleek, quiet machine. I don't know if putting him on top would do anything. Now, putting him inside...that might work... :)

    Bryan: I've said this before, I know, but the car works to put him to sleep until we stop and get out of the car. Anytime he's moved, he wakes up. Annoying.

    Scott: They do it on purpose, too. I know it.

    Nicki: Awesome. Thanks for the recognition. I must have known it back in 1983 when I spent so much time memorizing Culture Club songs that it'd come in handy one day. (Of course, it only works for eating peas; it didn't work as a lullaby. I'll try again some time to see if it works.)

  11. What a charming post. I liked it the first time. But reading it again brought that night back and I remembered you coming back from Dairy Queen with that big smile on your face because he'd been so cute.