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.
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.