During my 9 months of being a Dad I have experienced a number of testing nights, as all new parents have but I naively thought that as my son was getting older the worst was behind us. This theory was backed by the fact that we had now mastered the bed time routine and he was sleeping through till morning. When I say morning I mean 5:30am but this is now my morning as prior to having a child I would have definitely classed that time as still night!
Anyway, just the other week I had a wake-up call as to how unpredictable babies can be. The events of the night I am about to describe will forever be etched in my memory and will always be referred to as the ‘Night of a Thousand Cries’ [for full effect you must apply a deep scary voice when reading]. Now I know this sounds very dramatic but if you read my blog you will know that I NEVER exaggerate and I can assure you the naming of this night is fully justified.
The strange thing about the ‘Night of a Thousand Cries’ is that it started off as any other normal night and the settling hour just before bed went fine. It wasn’t until the time of putting my son down into his cot that the mayhem ignited. Yes there were tears about being put down in his cot and I would normally put this down to overtiredness and in most occasions a 10 – 15 minutes venting out period would have been enough to send him to sleep. It was an hour later and I could tell something wasn’t right as his cry sounded different to usual, it was hysteric and without reason. My theory that something wasn’t right grew stronger during my fifth repetition of ‘Old MacDonald’s Farm’. He loves that song and it had been an instant comforter for months now.
The two hour mark was approaching and after going through every possible animal that is likely or even unlikely to live on that farm I was out of ideas. You try coming up with a noise for a Giraffe in that kind of stressful atmosphere, it’s impossible even by someone with my improvisational skills.
I had no choice but to remove my son and I from our home as I could see by the look on my Wife’s face she was beyond distressed. I decided to do what I have never had to do before and that was to walk the streets of the night with my son in his buggy in the hope the movement would send him to sleep.
I was instantly encouraged as my son’s crying eased as soon as the nights air hit his face. It was about 9:30pm and darkness was falling quickly. I decided to walk to the end of our long road and back again. Within five minutes I could see my son was struggling against the tiredness and his blinks were getting longer, my plan was going well. That was until the car alarm right next to us went off and scared the life out of the both of us. Luckily it didn’t scare off the tiredness and he returned to his snooze. I started to enjoy the walk as the level of light was made perfect for nosing through peoples windows. I even paused for a couple of moments to watch the football highlights that were being played in someone’s front room. Their TV was on the wall and was at an optimum viewing angle for anyone passing by.
As I headed back home I started to plan how I was going to transfer my son from his buggy to his cot without waking him. This was made more complex by the fact that we live in a first floor apartment and I quickly realised that my strength and steady hand skills were going to be tested to their maximum. I decided to keep it simple so I disconnected the seat part of his buggy and carried it up the stairs with him still in it. I had no choice but to open both the lobby door and my front door with my mouth fortunately I had made considerations for this in my planning and it went pretty well, although I left a trail of saliva between doors. With the added support of my Wife we managed to airlift my boy into his cot without a stir. Mission accomplished?… no.
An hour had passed and my son was still asleep and I felt so confident that he was down for the night that I decide to tweet about my success. However, my boy had other plans and mid celebration tweet he woke and he woke with vengeance! The wailing cry appeared suddenly and was easily an octave higher than the previous bout. My initial disbelief turned to worry as I was convinced that my son was in pain, you do get to know your baby and it sounds odd but they do have different cries and this one sounded painful. We resorted to our emergency reserves to try and break his cry but even playing our pre-recorded episode of Mr. Blooms Nursery at high volume through the surround sound offered no reaction. The volume of his cry only increased and so did our stress levels; I had exhausted all five of my alternative tips for settling your baby and was struggling for ideas. Out of desperation I turned the shower on full blast and to my relief it eased his crying. Although tempting, I didn’t go as far as put him in the shower.
We had a couple of minutes to catch our breath before the hysterical wailing started again and this time there was no let up. It was midnight now and I decided we had no choice but to hit the streets again but this time in the car. We drove for the next 30 minutes and it worked he was finally asleep again and so was I…. nearly! At this point I was so tired I knew we had to stop driving as it was too unsafe to continue driving around the local towns at 1am on a Thursday morning. We decided to return home and face the consequences.
This time our assent to our apartment was a lot easier as I had the assistance of my Wife and she was kind enough to allow my mouth a break and opened the doors for us. Just as we approached our front door I saw a strange big dark patch on the white wall of the hall. I chose not to say anything and stayed focussed on getting my boy back in his cot. It went well and he went down easily.
I decided to investigate what the big dark patch was on the wall and as the light flickered on I saw a spider that had eyeballs the size of mine. It was insanely huge. I had no choice but to pick a fight with this Spider as my Wife is terrified of them and I couldn’t bear to hear one more scream. I sneaked back in and grabbed my Wife’s silver flip flop. The spider was effectively removed but every day I see a reminder as the print of my Wife’s flip flop is permanently fixed to the wall.
My son didn’t wake again till 4:30am and this time although he was crying he took his milk and settled back down to sleep. When he woke properly he was smiling like nothing had ever happened. We will never know what caused the ‘Night of a Thousand Cries’ and all I can do is hope that we don’t have another one of them any time soon!