Sometimes it begins as a tiny whimper before escalating into frantic cries. Sometimes, it’s just an immediate loud shriek that signifies a major problem.
The former cries are usually easily remedied. It may just be a bad dream, and he just needs some comforting. Sometimes it’s a wet diaper that can be quickly changed without much effort on my part or fuss on his.
But the loud screams are the ones that makes me worry. It usually takes longer to calm him, and it almost always means something bad has happened. (“Bad” is defined as anything from pee-soaked pajamas to a poopy diaper to a high fever, or anything between.)
Tonight, he’s waking, shrieking in pain because of the pending arrival of his 2-year molars. I rushed into room to find him sitting up, giant tears rolling down his cheeks, his fingers shoved into his mouth, only slightly muffling his cries. I offered him some Tylenol, which he uncharacteristically refused (this kid likes the medicine dropper; I’m not sure why) after chucking his pacifier at the door behind me. I managed to get a small dose in his mouth (most of which he spat out), then returned his pacifier. He popped it into his mouth and quieted down, falling asleep while still sitting upright. Every now and then, he would sway and wake with a start, only to repeat the process.
I managed to successfully get him to sleep, but he awoke just a few minutes later, his teeth still hurting him, the medicine not quite working just yet. He started moving around his crib, angry that a toy car (which he clutched so desperately when he went into his crib) was sharing his space, upset that Kermit’s long arms were in his way, agitated that Muno’s unblinking eye kept staring at him. I quickly removed everything from his crib save Tommy Bear, whose leg he clutched with one hand while holding the railing with the other.
Nights like these, sleep deprived though I am, make it difficult for me to sleep soundly. It’s hard to let myself fall into a deep slumber knowing that my not-so-little baby is suffering so horribly. There is nothing more heart wrenching, I think, than hearing his screams of agony and seeing him clutch his mouth in a vain attempt to ease the pain. And yet, I also know I have to sleep in order to properly function and see to his needs.
He’s been asleep now for the better part of a half hour, and I can only hope he sleeps until morning. We have to get his hair cut tomorrow (Cute Husband is in desperate need of one, and The Boy could use one, too). I don’t think we’ll spend the day at the Magic Kingdom, but it’s always so much more pleasant when he’s well rested – and consequently well-behaved.