Who Needs Horror Movies When You Have a Baby?

Tis the season for celebrating all things scary. The season of spooky. The season for scares. People go to the movies to watch poorly plotted movies about things jumping out at them or curl up on the couch with a horror classic like Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Not me, I have a baby. Not only that, I have a baby in the middle of sleep training. sorry-youre-tired-just-kidding

“What’s sleep training,” some blissfully childfree person may ask? It is what it sounds like. Children, especially babies, are dumb. So dumb they don’t know how to sleep. As parents, it is incumbent upon us to teach the child what times she/he is supposed to be in bed. To do this, there are several books one may consult, but if you’re about to be a parent, allow me to save you the money on the books because they all boil down to: “have a consistent bedtime ritual, then drop your baby in the crib and leave.”

As simple as I just made it out to be, this is intense. So intense that I called my own mother this weekend and even mentioning sleep training triggered her PTSD. There was a silence on the phone, then she recounted her experience with me and my sister in a monotone, then laughed at me. It’s traumatic because I’ve spent these past six months learning her cries and how to sooth her and make her happy again. Well, sleep training says that I’ve been screwing up because the baby needs to learn how to sooth herself, and the only way that’s going to happen is if she wails uninterrupted until she “figures it out.” There are other methods of lease resistance, but this is the most popular and widely accepted.

It’s a nightmare, except that nightmare is very real. Freddy Kruger is just in your dreams. Baby wailing doesn’t go away when you wake up, no, it causes you to wake up and scrapes at your soul with her sharpened knife-screams. The Babadook is imaginary, but the bile spilled between two sleep-deprived, ultra-stressed parents with no outlet and no idea what we’re doing, is eerily, creepily real.

She's a 6 month old baby, but cries like she has the lungs and tenacity of a 35 year old lumberjack.
She’s a 6 month old baby, but cries like she has the lungs and tenacity of a 35 year old lumberjack.

Go, enjoy your haunted hayrides and Halloween Horror Nights and haunted mansions and ghost walks, if you want real terror, come over to my house at about 10:30 this morning and we’ll see if you can survive. You want next-level terror? I’ll let you change her diaper after 24 hours of not pooping. Sit with me as I realize, “this is my life now. Not just now, FOREVER.”

Not knowing if you’re equipped to handle the life you’ve created, that you’re probably doing something wrong, that maybe instead of this cry-it-out thing helping her learn a new skill it’s the moment where we instilled anxiety within her for the rest of her life. That’s real fear. Stephen King couldn’t script this, but if he did, it would be like real life parenting, it goes on too long and there’s no satisfying ending.


Add yours →

  1. Debra She Who Seeks October 17, 2016 — 8:18 am

    The lungs and tenacity of a lumberjack? Oh, she’s just warming up, you poor pickle. Wait til she hits opera singer level!


  2. abeerfortheshower October 17, 2016 — 11:42 am

    You think sleep training is true horror? Just wait until you figure out the cost of her future college tuition, adjusted to inflation. OOOoooOOOOooOOOooo.


  3. Hmmmm. My son was a lousy sleeper because we lived in an apartment that might as well have been without walls between the apartments on either side, and while we’re at it, remove the ceiling too because the people who lived over us should have just walked on our heads. We had no privacy, so if said sonny boy cried, everyone would know and complain because he was the only baby in the building. So we got up every time he made a grumbling sound or farted. He didn’t sleep till he was in high school. Then we couldn’t wake him up. When I had my daughter, we lived in our own house. I had a music box in her room. It played for five minutes. When she needed to dine during the night, I gave her the boob, burped her, changed her, did whatever she needed, and put her in bed. If she cried, I turned on the music box. If she was still crying when the music ended, which didn’t happen often, I’d go back to her room to see if she was in the mood to barf or poop on me. After she did one or both of these fun things, then she went to sleep. She was a good little sleeper until she saw Scooby-Doo-Doo on TV. Then she had nightmares about ghouls chasing her. I had to ban that cartoon. Think of your daughter as a ghoul that’s chasing you. Then think of her as a nightmare that will never end. Now look at how adorable she is and think about how much you love her and that you really don’t mind being in poop up to your elbows. This too shall pass. Hey, I noticed that Beer Boy tried to scare you about the tuition thing. My kids got scholarships and had jobs and paid for their own college, with the help of the mutual funds that paid twenty percent interest once upon a time. Mostly it was the scholarships and their jobs that did the deed. Don’t let people scare you about college. Deal with the adorable poopy screaming baby. Hug her and kiss her before she’s too old to be totally pissed off at you or become an alcoholic or whatever.



  4. Here’s a little wisdom from someone who helped raise her brothers and sisters. When my sisters and brothers were little, I noticed how my mom would get them to go to sleep on a set scheduled time. She would feed them before we older kids and dad would eat our dinner. Then after dinner, she would have us play with the baby or Rug Rats for an hour before the set sleep time. She would give the baby or RRs a nice warm bath and then put the baby or RRs to bed. There would be a bit of crying for about 3 minutes then quiet. The baby or RRs was too worn out to stay up any longer. We did this for about a week then mom wouldn’t have any more problems. She worked it this way with all of us when we were small. She got that advice from her mom, it worked every time.


  5. A shot of whiskey will usually keep them down for a while. Mind you, I never had any kids.


  6. Hell yeah, my precious first born was a horror baby she cried a lot and didn’t like to sleep and at times I was sure she hated me, she preferred her dad over me for him she would sleep and settle far better then for me


  7. This is great writing. I’m going to think about your plight while sleeping in until 10 am this weekend. Seriously. I mean, getting as much sleep undisturbed as I do, I might even dream about it.


  8. As soon as I saw this title, i thought “no thanks i’m not into those gross out horror movies.”

    *uses gary johnson aleppo voice * and what…is…sleep training?

    Sorry. I guess my cat isn’t so bad, compared to a baby.


  9. Sounds like hard work to me. I’m not kids material so I’m not even gonna try. I’m sure you’re doing a good job, though. How do I know? I would have to put you in a tiny bed if I told you.


  10. My youngest was an awesome sleeper, still is but this was a post about horror stories and boy oh boy you haven’t seen anything until your are blessed with a child who has “night terrors”
    No. 1 son was a horrible sleeper from day dot, We did the whole sleep training (back in my day it was called controlled crying) but nothing prepares you for when the house is quiet, you are relaxing and then a blood curdling screaming fills the air and when you rush to your precious childs side, there is nothing that will pacify them. Body rigid, eyes open and just screaming. Then after what feels like an eternity, child simply stops hollering, lets out a big sigh and is quiet, leaving you confused, shaken and wondering if you need to call a priest to perform an exorcism. Horrendous. Random and makes for interesting dinner conversation as no one believes the intensity until they experience it.
    Eventually though, they grow out of it, become teenagers and then you wonder if they will ever wake up, get a job and move out…


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