I was jerked out of a beautiful sleep at 3am by the sound of Odd Toddler crying on the monitor. I turned on the picture to the video and saw he was standing up in his crib, holding his hands out towards the door, and stomping angrily in place. I waited for a second to see if he would lay back down and go back to sleep (as he often does), but his crying only got louder and more frantic.
I got out of bed and went to his room, lifting him out of his crib. He put his head on my shoulder and wrapped his legs tight around me, ceasing the crying right away (which ruled out teething pain as the problem). I went to sit in the rickety creaky old rocking chair in his room, but that started him fussing again. He gave me The Look and pointed towards the door, so I got back up and took him to the living room where I sat down in the Snuggle Chair. He put his head back on my shoulder, laid his stuffed Baby Bop between my chest and his, and I rocked him for about 20 minutes. When I was sure he was asleep again, I walked back across the house towards his room. The instant I crossed the threshold into his room, his head popped back up off my shoulder and he started fussing again. It was now 3:30am.
Frustrated and exhausted, I let him pick up the supplies he needed from his crib (his other dinosaur, my basting brush, and, inexplicably, the lid to my last Chapstick) and I took him into my bedroom. The Carnivore scooted over, gave up one of his pillows (because Odd Toddler cannot sleep unless he has a pillow with a leopard-print pillowcase to lay his head on), and we all three snuggled up in the bed together. Odd Toddler laid his head on the pillow and closed his eyes. I breathed a sigh of relief (too loudly apparently) and closed my own eyes. Within seconds, Odd Toddler was sitting up and grunting, pointing towards the door. "You want some water?" I asked. "Yesshh," he answered.
I got back up, went to the living room, found his water sippy cup, and headed back to bed. Odd Toddler sucked greedily on the sippy, tucked it next to him, gathered his dinosaurs into his arms, and laid his head back on the pillow. I did the same.
Just as I was drifting back off to sleep, Odd Toddler climbed over me, slithered off the bed and stomped loudly into the kitchen. By the time I got in there, he was hanging from the handle on the refrigerator. "You want some milk?" I asked. "Yesshh," he answered, grinning maniacally. I retrieved his milk sippy cup from the fridge and gave it to him. "Dadoo," he said (his version of thank you), and we traipsed single-file back into my bedroom. We both climbed back into bed, waking The Carnivore once again, and assumed our sleeping positions.
No sooner had I drifted back off than Odd Toddler tapped me on my head and violently shook his milk sippy (translation: This is empty and I need you to get me more milk ASAP!). I stood back up, grumbling fiercely, and went back to the kitchen to refill his sippy.
Finally, after everything seemed well with his world, Odd Toddler laid his head back on the pillow, and I started to fall back asleep. Apparently though, Odd Toddler was not sleepy. Every two minutes (I know because I would look at the clock, close my eyes, and the next thing I knew, I was struggling back up out of sleep, looking back at the clock to see that only TWO minutes had passed), Odd Toddler would lift his foot up and kick me in the head. After six or seven kicks, he sat up in bed and began grunting again. The Carnivore made an angry noise, so I hooked Odd Toddler under my arm, grabbed two pillows and headed to the living room.
On normal difficult nights, Odd Toddler and I sleep head to toe on the living room sofa. This is extraordinarily uncomfortable for anyone who is larger than two feet tall, but for some reason it works every time (except this one, of course) to soothe the terroristic tendencies of my beloved child. I laid our pillows at each end of the sofa, pushed the coffee table up against the sofa so that Odd Toddler couldn't roll off in his sleep, and got a blanket out of the linen closet. We both laid down, everything seemed to be perfect, and I started to drift back off. Again. Odd Toddler sat back up and grunted. Again.
He slithered over the coffee table and waddled into the kitchen, where he pulled out his seat at the table and reached for his bib. I checked the time (4:45am) and just stared at him. He grunted once and then twice, stomped his feet loudly, and pointed at the fridge. "You want a bowl of cereal?" I asked incredulously. "Yesshh," he answered.
And amazingly, it only went downhill from there.
He ate two bowls of Cheerios and then asked for a banana. I got yesterday's half-eaten banana out of the fridge, but he balked at it not having a pointed end (which, I might add, was only missing because HE had bitten it off). I got another banana and asked him if that one would do. He nodded and I peeled it. And then he balked at that one too. I carried him to the fridge and held him in front of the open door while he pondered his choices. He finally picked out some leftover steamed broccoli, but then got angry with me when I took 15 seconds warming it up.
Once he was finally full, and it was 5:15am, I gave up and started the coffee. We sat on the sofa together and I found some old Scooby Doo cartoons on TV, which delighted him. Everything seemed to be going well again. He snuggled tight against me, pulled the covers over his lap, and leaned his head against my shoulder while we watched the cartoons in the dark. An hour later, he was still awake and I, even after two cups of coffee, was falling asleep sitting up. At 6:30am, I woke up The Carnivore and asked him to take over so that I could get some sleep. Just as I was falling asleep, Odd Toddler opened the door to the bedroom, yelled "MAMA," and slammed the door loudly enough to wake the dead. The Carnivore rushed in and scooped him up, and I finally got to sleep.
An hour later, I heard the phone ringing, but was able to ignore it and stay partly asleep. Until, that is, my cellphone started ringing. And then the house phone rang again immediately. It was obvious who it was. It was my mother. And she was NOT going to be ignored. Dazed, I got out of bed and stumbled into the living room just as The Carnivore picked up the phone. Odd Toddler smiled at me, and then his head fell onto a pillow, his eyes shut like lead weights and his mouth fell open. It was 8am, and he was finally asleep. Since he is in the living room though, that prohibits me from getting busy in the kitchen, and the ONLY thing I want to do when I'm this frustrated and sleep-deprived is to try some new recipes and then get online and blog about them.
So I poured myself some coffee and decided to go upstairs to my office to get some work done. As I walked up the stairs, in my brain haze, I managed to spill coffee on not just a few stairs, but on EVERY SINGLE stair. The Anal Carnivore (argh, that isn't really a picture you want in your head, is it, of an anal carnivore?) will be appalled when he sees the mess I just made.
It is now 9:30am, and Odd Toddler is still, blessedly, asleep. I, on the other hand, am coming apart at the seams.