Night of the livid dad

A selection of things that could be giving my son nightmares.

I wasn’t really livid as such, but if you’ve been reading this blog for a little while you’ll know I can’t resist sneaking zombie puns in when I can. The feeling is certainly a lot stronger than being slightly miffed, but stops well short of furious anger too.

It’s a strange fusion of feelings really. Disappointment, wretchedness, grudging understanding and lethargy. Best summed up by a phrase that can be abbreviated to FFS. Yes, I’m talking about the fact that the boys are still waking us up every chuffing night and the fact that I can still relate to the aforementioned flesh-gobbling former humans as a result.

Xander is still a major culprit for deciding that Kate and I have had enough beauty sleep. But he’s now being rivaled by Dylan who has a new-found habit that, until recently, was causing concern. Shouting. Really bloody loudly and apparently in great distress. However, most times when we get to him, we find him perfectly content and snoring away.

The cause of these ‘night terrors’, if we can call them that, remained unknown for a while – but we’ll come to that in a moment. He’s a happy little lad and usually goes to bed with little fuss. He has his bath, I read him his dinosaur stories and gasp in amazement at his excellent pronunciation of their complicated names. I also try not to snigger at the shape of Ankylosaurus’s tail. After a brief, whimsical conversation with himself, he drifts off to sleep with no complaint.

Cut to a few hours later and he’s demonstrating his incredible lung power. Could it be that he is secretly afraid of the main protagonists in his bedtime reading? Maybe he dreams about legging it down the local high street with a couple of Velociraptors in hot pursuit? Nope, don’t think so. Maybe he’s somehow found my DVD box set of The Walking Dead and is a tad unnerved by the foes Andrew Lincoln et al keep at bay in every episode? No, it’s not that either.

Maybe it’s something he saw on telly then? A couple of weeks ago when all efforts to get him back to sleep failed, Dylan joined Kate and me in the front room. His first request was that we put some football on.

He’d been downstairs with us twice before and there had been matches on both times, so it’s fair that he assumed that’s what we do every night. Thanks to the overpriced subscription we have, I managed to find a fixture from an obscure overseas league and that sorted things out. He was asleep a few minutes later.

Not before he made an astute observation about the state of the modern game though: “They fall over!” See that, Luis Suarez? My two-year-old son is on to you! Perhaps his twilight vocal act is down to a sadness concerning a blight on the beautiful game? No.

Last week, he revealed the true source of his night-time angst. We had just got to sleep ourselves when we were awoken. “ARGH! XANDER! FOR GOODNESS SAKE! DYLAN’S SOFA!” Good old sibling rivalry with a territorial dispute thrown in for good measure. Who’d have thought so much upset could be centred on something that people put their bums on?

A happy baby boy sat on a sofa.


  1. Richy

    Night terrors are horrible. Heather’s had them pretty much all her days, although it’s only relatively recently we realised that’s what it was. We used to refer to it as her “10 o’clock squawk” (cos that’s the time when it happened every night), where she’d cry for a couple of minutes then settle back down like nothing had happened.

    As she got older, she got less good at settling herself, and there wasn’t a lot we could do either – she’s not really awake, and is barely aware we’re even in the room with her. That vacant stare can be really unnerving, as can the rejection of anything like a hug or some sympathy.

    Thankfully, they’ve eased off a lot in the last year, to only once a week or so, more often when she’s over-tired.

    We’re hoping she grows out of it entirely soon. It’s all normal apparently, and that’s what should happen.

    Fortunately Megan hasn’t followed suit, although I guess there’s time for that to change.

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