How one night can feel like a week…

Lest you accuse me of painting too rosy a picture of camping with 8 children in a 26 foot travel trailer, let me share one particular night last weekend.

8:15 pm–Lie down in trailer bed with 1 year old, who’s had 45 minutes of nap all day and should be utterly exhausted. Think optimistically of joining my teenagers for a game of cards in 10 minutes or so. Hold 1 year old in gentle headlock while feeding her a bottle and singing for 40 minutes straight. During this time she flails around, sticks her finger up my nose, thumps the wall between herself and 4 year old sister who’s also ‘trying’ to go to sleep, cries, throws her bottle across the bed/room, and generally resists sleep as long as possible.

8:55- Tiptoe out of room, baby finally asleep. Peek at 4 year old, also asleep. While I’ve been wrestling the baby, dad has already read stories to the 8 year old boys in the screen tent — good man. All I have to do is kiss them, warn them sternly about being quiet in the trailer, and send them in to bed.

9:00-11:30– Play cards with big kids– they are so much fun! They teach me to play poker. I discover I have a huge propensity for betting big, when it’s red, white and blue poker chips anyway. Lose many chips, and make my 12 year old very ‘rich’. Make mental note to self to stay far from Vegas.

11:30– Head for bed where baby is currently crashed and hubby is surveying the bed wondering if we 3 will all fit. All other beds (and floor space) are taken. In this photo you see our predicament– obviously this 24 pound child is a colossal bed hog. Please note that her heel is touching the wall on the left. This is a standard double bed with a 12 inch ‘sidecar’ added on the left. We usually sleep in a king. Hmm…

11:40-12:00- After getting ready for bed, I gingerly scoot baby over. Just as I scooch in, she flops over into ‘my’ space again and I almost sit on her. I scoot her over again which causes her to wail and start to waken. Hastily gesturing for hubby to kill the light, I grab her bottle out of the cooler bag and settle in next to her. She quickly dozes off and after a couple minutes I attempt to scoot away from her into a comfy position. She wails and flops until her entire body once again is cradled under my arm against my side. I decide I’m too tired to argue, and go to sleep myself.

1:50-2:05– She’s flipping and flopping and fussing again. Teething, maybe? Once again I offer the bottle, hoping she’ll hush before she wakes the whole family. She refuses, fussing around for what feels like a really long time before deciding that only lying on my chest will do, preferably with her head cradled on my shoulder and her puff of curly hair in my face. In moments I’m sweating and tossing covers off– gingerly, though, so as not to wake her. I think of getting up to give her some Advil (or maybe some Benadryl?) but I’m too tired, and doze back off.

2:17-2:50- She rolls off me, towards dad. I feel her wiggling around trying to get comfy against dad, and think of pulling her back against me so she won’t disturb him. But he has been sleeping so darned well through all of this that I’m a bit irritated. So I let her be and doze as she thrashes and worms her hand between the mattress and his side and says dada sleepily. But when he growls and flops away and cracks his elbow on the wall, a teeny bit of remorse creeps in. I pull her back against me and pat her on the bum and whisper-sing into her ear until she settles back to sleep. Again I doze.

3:30-3:40 She’s awake AGAIN. It’s gotta be the teeth. I head into the bathroom with her and yank open the medicine cupboard, trying to decide between Advil and Benadryl. Advil might help the teething, if that is it. But Benadryl will make her sleep, and sleep is what we gotta have right now. Benadryl it is. Then back to bed where thankfully she falls back asleep quickly.

6:10 AM- 4 year old climbs in with us. I hiss at hubby to stick her back in her bed quick before she wakes the 1 year old. He does, and we all doze back off, not waking until after 8.

The first words out of my mouth at that point, I believe, were, “Coffee– make it strong.” (Name that movie?!)

Vow to myself that if she’s that restless the next night, she’s getting Benadryl much sooner!

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  1. You are a SUPERSTAR!!!! God bless the one's who keep after the chilren.

  2. Mercy, I'd be a royal heiffer the day after THAT night! That's one thing I don't miss a bit about mine being 18…being on duty day AND night. 🙂

    Well, WAS it her teeth? Just curious….

  3. I love the medical dilemna–not what she really needs, but what will make her sleep? And being irritated because Dad has been sleeping too well. Too funny!

  4. My apologies to your hubby, but when I got to the part about him banging his elbow into the wall I laughed out loud.

  5. Oh, what a night! We've had those too, while on vacation. You have my empathy. Hee!

  6. this reminds me very much of a night I spent with my 19 month old this week. He fell asleep early at 7PM, and tried to wake up for the rest of the night. Every time I would try to move away from him, he would scoot right up against me again and turn around twice. It was a ritual all night long. Unfortunately, there was no scooting up against dad, because he was out of town.

  7. Man, were you a walking zombie the next day? I have problems sleeping outside my own bed anyway, so I would have been very cranky the next day. I've found though, that it's hard to get upset with the baby. There're so cute and little!!!

  8. Put her in bed with the 4 year old….lock the door! LOL Sounds good in theory, but I couldn't do it either. =o)

    She does look awfully cute crashed out on that bed.

  9. Diane, I think she's getting eyeteeth. Nothing has popped through yet, though. Seems like most of my babies have slept restlessly the first night of each camping trip, though. Takes a night to get used to the new bed…


  10. You just described every camping trip with babies we've ever had. And we started taking them from 6 months on. Bendryl indeed!!

  11. What an adventure! I'm glad you see the humor in it, though!

    ~smiling with you…

  12. I think that night not only feels like but should count as an entire week.

  13. Most doctors will tell you these days that babies' teeth won't make them sick or run fever when they're teething, but I know from experience that they WILL, no matter what the docs say. I hope she cuts those teeth and is sleeping better soon. 🙂

  14. I had one doctor who said, "Well. I'm a doctor. So I'm supposed to say 'Teething does not affect their tummies or give them a fever or make their noses run'. But I'm also a Daddy – and it does." I liked him!

    So what movie is that line from? It vaguely reminds me of Airplane – but that's not quite how that line went!

  15. It's always good to hear the realities of being a mommy, and you paint the picture so well! : )

    I wish I could name that movie….but I'm the worst at remembering movies I've seen….much less lines from them!!!! What movie is it??

  16. I have a 1 1/2 yr old grandson who sleeps over quite often and I've wondered about trying Benadryl (especially on some of those verrrrry long nights)! How much do you give them at that age? I looked at a box of the liquid at the store but I couldn't tell what the dose should be.

  17. Rain, I'd check with his folks first, but I give my daughter 3/4 of a teaspoon of liquid. Watch out, though– for some kids benadryl can have the opposite effect– they get hyper, not sleepy, I don't know why….


  18. I LOVE hearing your stories of your children…

    Interesting that you would write about 10 of you in a 26 foot trailer…we are contemplating purchasing one to live in and camp in,in order to be closer to my grandparents and to take them camping a few more times before they can't anymore…I was worried about seven of us fitting into a trailer…

    We should have NO problems!!!

    (by the way…I probably would have done the advil AND the bendryl and then prayed they didn't react or over medicate….what a good mommy you are!)

  19. hahah – this sounds all too familiar!

    ok, is that movie quote from Groundhog Day?