I cringe when I hear someone say their husband or father of their children is “babysitting.” Tommy tells me repeatedly that all he does is try his best to help me out, and I tell him all the time that he does so much more than that. This was never more apparent than in August, when he went to Singapore for a business trip, leaving me and fifteen month old #ToddlerGoodwin alone for a week. I wasn’t really all that worried about it. I’m already home with the kid all day, anyway. No big deal. But I was worried about night time.
Tommy was putting our son to bed every night, allowing me some time to take a bubble bath, binge watch Netflix, or just to crash in bed early. Our son liked to be held and rocked before bed, so Tommy enjoyed the quiet father-son time. However, as #ToddlerGoodwin got bigger, he started to become a little resistant to being held. For nap time during the day, I began having a hard time holding him, and I don’t think he was very comfortable in my arms/lap. He eventually started pointing to the crib, lying down, and eventually nodding off to sleep. This didn’t seem to work at night when Tommy would try to put him to bed, and bedtime gradually began to devolve into a nightly game of “pick me up and put me down” and repeat, repeat, repeat. Sometimes Tommy would slip out of the nursery, thinking that #ToddlerGoodwin was asleep, only to have him start crying. Other times, he would sneak out to brush his teeth while the kid was still awake, and then go back in and find him sound asleep. I offered to go in and take over on several occasions, but Tommy would refuse, telling me I needed my sleep, too, and that it wouldn’t do us any good if both of us were staying up late, especially me, since I had to spend the whole next day chasing the kid around. So, like I said, I worried about nighttime because I wasn’t sure I could put our son to bed. I do just about every single nap during the week, but I’d maybe put our son down for the night a handful of times when Tommy was out for work.
The first night, #ToddlerGoodwin and I had a battle. It took maybe an hour of “pick me up and put me down” before he finally, finally fell asleep. I collapsed in bed, thankful that he’d at least made it down, and figured we wouldn’t have any problems.
And then he woke up at 4 a.m.
Not just a grunt or a moan while he tossed and turned to try to get comfortable again. Wide awake, screaming and crying.
I tried everything I could think of to calm him down. We rocked, we walked, I tried putting him in the crib. Nothing seemed to work. After about an hour, I figured we might as well be up for the day and try to even things out later.
At around 6 a.m., he conked out for half an hour. Then he was wide awake after that. The day proceeded with me trying to figure out what was up with his weird behavior. When naptime rolled around, I tried to put him down, and he refused. It was a kicking and screaming nightmare. I tried everything I could think of for almost two hours, at which point, naptime was technically over before it had ever started. Downstairs we came, and off he went to play.
A little while later, I noticed that he felt warm. I took his temperature and it was in the low 100-101s. Nothing to be too alarmed about, but I gave him some Tylenol just to be safe. Then I noticed that he wasn’t really interested in his sippy cup, whether it was milk or water, and he didn’t really want to eat. I was thrilled when he finally ate a handful of peas and some blueberry yogurt for dinner, but that’s nothing like what he usually puts away.
Sometime in the evening, a friend came over so I could run upstairs, take a shower, and get myself together. #ToddlerGoodwin got a little fussy, and we figured he was tired, so I attempted to put him to bed after she left. Again, nothing worked. White noise, pitch black room, nice and cool… and wide awake. I started walking up and down the hallway carrying him and could feel his body relax, but as soon as I crossed the threshold into his nursery, he’d freak out. It was like I’d given him some kind of complex about his room. Was he that upset that his daddy wasn’t putting him to bed? Was naptime really all that different from bed time? What the heck was wrong? What was I supposed to do?
Twelve hours away in Singapore, Tommy was messaging to see how it was going. Terribly, I told him. I explained the awful time we’d been having and how #ToddlerGoodwin wasn’t sleeping and eating. My theory was that he was so upset that his daddy wasn’t around to put him to bed, that he was going on a hunger/sleep strike.
Tommy suggested I put him in the crib and just let him cry it out for awhile; he had barely slept all day so he had to be exhausted, right? I gave it a try. I walked out of the room, closed the door, and went into the master bathroom where I turned on the shower so I wouldn’t have to hear him cry. But I watched him on the video monitor. I could only take it for ten minutes.
He finally dozed for a couple hours next to me in bed. I was paranoid to have him in bed with me; I was afraid that I was so exhausted that I’d pass right out and not notice if he woke up and started crawling around or attempted to get off the bed. I was messaging my Tommy in Singapore
– 11 p.m. our time, 11 a.m. his time. He was beside himself because there wasn’t really anything he could do to help. He was so worried that he considered flying home early from Singapore and canceling our upcoming trip to Italy
. I was grouchy and sleep-deprived, telling him that this was exactly what I was afraid would happen because I never put the kid to bed. And what the heck was wrong with me? I was the kid’s mother. Why couldn’t I get him to relax and go to sleep?!
#ToddlerGoodwin only slept for a few hours and then he was up again. Because he hadn’t really had much to eat or drink, I was worried that he was hungry. We went downstairs and sat on the couch together where he had a little bit of yogurt – the only thing he actually seemed to want to eat. After eating, he curled up against me and fell asleep on the couch.
But only for a few hours. He woke up again, crying and fussy, refusing to eat once again. I contemplated putting him in the car and taking him to the ER. I finally did it, around 3 a.m. but as soon as we got to the end of the street, I could hear him snoring in his car seat. Not wanting to wake a (finally!) sleeping baby, I drove around for over an hour. I hadn’t been sure about taking him to the ER, anyway. What was I going to say, anyway? “MY SON WON’T SLEEP! HELP!” So I just randomly drove around our neighborhood and up and down the highway. When I finally heard him stir, I headed for home. I offered him a little milk and some more yogurt.
This went on, this cycle of a couple hours of sleep and a little something to eat, until the next morning. We huddled together in the corner of the couch and I could only hope that we’d get back into our normal routine soon. But as I stirred in my sleep, I realized that #ToddlerGoodwin felt really warm again. I didn’t know if it was from being cuddled so close to me or what, but I didn’t like it.
I still felt a little crazy doing it, but when he woke up, we headed straight to the ER. As soon as I walked in, the staff at the check-in desk commented on how tired he looked. We didn’t have to wait long and were escorted to the pediatric waiting room where a nurse was already waiting for us. We went into a room and they checked his temperature. 102.8. They asked all the usual questions…
What was the problem? Not sleeping, not eating, not even drinking milk. Crying all the time.
When did this start? When my husband left town to go to a conference halfway around the world.
Fever? Kind of… 100.1 and 101.2. Did you give him anything for the fever? Tylenol, and then Motrin later… How many wet diapers? 5…6… 7? I couldn’t even remember. Pulling on his ears, acting like he had an earache? Nope.
The doctor came in and examined him – his eyes, ears, nose, mouth, blood pressure, pulse, breathing, diaper area, EVERYTHING. To him, it seemed like something viral, like the flu. The doctor explained that he had a fever, which was throwing off his sleep, which was making him crankier, and then even though he was probably exhausted, the flu/fever was also probably making him achy and uncomfortable, so he couldn’t sleep or stay asleep for very long.
The doctor said he’d give him some Motrin and watch him for awhile to see if he got better. I was doubtful. I’d tried it at home.
I tried to comfort our son, but he wasn’t thrilled with all of the poking and prodding and looking in every face-hole. He alternated between not wanting me to hold him and then not wanting me to put him down. When the nurse came in with a cup of Motrin, I looked at her confused. The kid had just figured out a sippy cup, he wasn’t going to be able to throw back a shot of medicine. She put it in a syringe, like we did at home, and I thought it looked like an awful lot.
She left us alone in the room and closed the door partway. I walked around the room holding #ToddlerGoodwin, pointing out the clock and the monitors and the curtain and the equipment. We watched some cartoons on my phone for a couple minutes. And then the kid pointed to the table, so I sat down with him on my lap. He reached for a toy ambulance that someone had brought in for him to play with and eventually eased out of my lap and onto the table so that he could roll it back and forth. Then he pointed to the floor. I picked him up and lowered him to the floor, waiting for him to freak out and demand to be picked up.
Nope, he walked to the door, pulled it open, and toddled right out into the hallway. I followed after him and we bumped into the doctor, who had a carton of apple juice. He handed it to my son, who sucked it dry in one gulp. I wasn’t sure what had just happened. Who was this kid?
It turns out, they gave him a dose of CHILDREN’S Motrin. Even though he wasn’t 2 years old, he weighed enough to be able to take the children’s stuff. And it worked fast. The infant’s Motrin he’d been taking must not have been doing a thing for him.
I was relieved to have a new kid on my hands. We went straight to Target and I bought some more children’s Motrin. Then I had a friend come over and hang out with #ToddlerGoodwin so I could take a nap. Shortly after I fell asleep, so did he. We were on our way to being back to normal. After catching up on some sleep and getting a few good meals in his belly, he was back to his usual self, playing and running around like crazy!
And in a few days, I’d be leaving him with his grandparents so that I could fly to meet Tommy at the airport in Paris, and from there, fly together to Florence. I was so looking forward to getting away with Tommy for five days, but I didn’t like the thought of being without #ToddlerGoodwin one bit!
Read more about our trip to Italy here.