Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Faked It

The past week has been hell.  It all began with a phone call from Braden's school last Tuesday afternoon:  Can you please come pick Braden up from school?  He just threw up.

Never mind that I was in the middle of nursing Colin, Casey was in the middle of a nap, and my husband was out of town for the evening.  I did what I had to do.  I picked him up, and over the course of the next few hours, he proceeded to throw up in the car, the bed, the floor, and miraculously, the toilet.

The days following involved a ton of bananas, bleach, laundry, movies, the infection of Casey, and, the icing on the cake, the call on Saturday night from the babysitter informing us that Braden's vomiting had recurred (after four days!).

My husband, who returned home on Wednesday, and I were both exhausted.  I began wishing that I would fall ill with the stomach flu, because that would mean my husband would have to take care of all three kids, and at least I would get a break.  Yesterday, he admitted to me he felt the same. Then it became a game of I want to get sick; No, I want to get sick!  We didn't discuss what would happen if we both got sick at the same time.  But since I birthed him three children and endured 27 months of pregnancy, I would argue that he would have to be the one to step it up. That's only fair.

Last night, both Braden and Casey were vomit-free, and were sleeping soundly in their beds.  I was ready to finally, FINALLY, have a night of peace, when baby Colin started crying an hour or so after I put him down to bed.

A quick check revealed that he wasn't sick.  He wasn't hungry, either.  He just wanted to be rocked. And rocked.  And rocked.  All night long.

He hadn't pulled this in a few weeks, but it was classic Colin.  Falling asleep soundly in your arms, and screaming the second he hits the crib mattress.  Over the next couple of hours, my husband and I took turns rocking him, and praying that he would just STAY ASLEEP.

Around 11pm it was my turn.  But I couldn't do it.

I just could NOT do it.

It wasn't even about sleep at that point.  It was about principle.  Flashbacks of the previous week came back to me - the vomit, the bleach, the night wakings... And now this?  Couldn't I just have one night?  Just a few precious hours, even, where I could get some kind of break?  Some kind of respite?  Some kind of relief?  SOME KIND OF PEACE FOR GOD'S SAKE?????

I felt trapped.  Claustrophobic.  Angry.  Tired.  Spent.

So I did what any self respecting, similarly situated woman would do.

I fake cried.

I fake cried in the dark so that my husband would go rock the baby, instead of me.

I can't take this anymore!  I yelled, my voice quivering.  I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown!

That part was true, by the way.  I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  And it also was true that I couldn't take it anymore.  But the quivering of the voice... the sound of a cry.... that was um, orchestrated.  

It worked - my husband jumped out of bed.  I'll take this one, he said.

Colin went to sleep shortly after, and slept through the whole night.

So did I.

Now before you think I am the worst person ever, let me say this.  I know my husband, and most fathers generally, have done the fake sleep.  You know, when the baby is crying in the middle of the night, and you turn over and say to your husband, Can you do it?  They don't answer, because, apparently, they are asleep.  I call BULLSHIT.  They are not asleep.  They are pretending to be asleep because they know that you, the mother, cannot stand the sound of your baby's cry and will get up almost immediately.

At least I am woman enough to voluntarily confess to my transgressions.

Honey, I know this is the first you are hearing of this.  I'm sorry.  Don't hold it against me.  Or I may follow through with that nervous breakdown.


  1. Have you looked into the mother's helper thing?

    1. I have, and I actually do have help for about 9 hours/week (over three days). But when the stomach flu goes through our house, I usually her not to come. I feel bad exposing any outsiders to our plague!

    2. What is this Mother's Helper you speak of?

  2. Colin's old enough to cry it out, do it!!! It's the only way to go. Give it two nights and you'll be set.

    1. I know. I haven't done it yet for two reasons: 1) He is sleeping 11 hours straight at night (usually!), and I'm scared to rock the boat; and 2) We have two trips coming up in March, and I feel like I should wait until those are done to get him in a solid routine. But if by the end of March he still needs to be rocked to sleep, I am totally doing it.

  3. Anyone who claims not to have faked slept or fake cried or fake something to get out of night baby duty is not telling the truth!

  4. Ugh, to anon who tells you to let them CIO, that is horrible. Was listening to an NPR story this week on how neglecting a child to cry like that affects the dopamine receptors in their brain. I'm not saying you have to jump up immediately - maybe they are just sleep crying and will be back asleep in under 2 mins - but CIO is sooooo not cool. In my opinion and in the NPR researchers' opinions.

    1. Because NPR researchers are the authority in child rearing?

  5. So sorry to hear about that awful plague! Hope you, your hubby and baby all stay clear from that. This post was hilarious and I must be the most naive person ever because it never occurred to me that my husband fake-slept his way through many a night-time waking. But now I'm onto him!

  6. Hilarious! I just pulled the fake cry, "I'm about to have a nervous breakdown" the other day after a similarly hellish week. Loved this post!

  7. I have not pulled the fake cryin but will revert to it as a strategy preventing an actual breakdown; far better than actually losing my shit.

  8. Hope he is better now. We are going through exactly the same thing with Andrew right now.

  9. I hope the family is doing better. We are going through this with Andrew. Lots of vomiting!


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