I’ve never had a problem stealing ideas from other people and then repurposing them for my own personal gain and pleasure #copywrite #copywrong #dontcare. So allow me to shamelessly rip off the hilariously over-the-top Justin Timberlake/Jimmy Fallon hashtag sketch #bringingsexyback to tell you about Declan’s latest adventures.

The other night, Watson #dingledog #bradpittofdogs #gettingold #canyoubelievehe’s50 #bradpittnotwatson started howling at the door around midnight. Not just barking, but howling. Don’t worry, it wasn’t a burglar. It was a neighbor. Walking up stairs. #guarddogfail #goldenretriever #hestrying

What did Declan do? Woke up terrified, naturally, #thescream #edvardmunch #lifeimitatingart and would not be calmed. Some of the most intense crying of his life. Even the mother of all soothing techniques #nippletherapy #realandspectacular #howbadcouldlifebe wasn’t working. The problem is, when Declan cries in the middle of the night, sometimes he doesn’t wake up. Or at least, he doesn’t open his eyes. So, no matter how many times we say his name, whisper in his ear, or rub his head he #cantgetnosatisfation and so we #cantgetnosleep.

When eating didn’t calm him, we looked at each other and thought: what now? Really, there was only one option. My patented rock-and-pat technique #rockabye #rocafella #canigetapatpat. It didn’t start well. Declan was not only screaming, he was arching his back and flailing #developingnews #badtrend #hunchbackofarcadia and he still had his eyes closed. So I swayed some more. And looked at the clock. And kept rocking. And decided it was my duty as a dad to get him to a point where he felt safe #awwwww, no matter how long it took #ugh. The good news: I was able to calm him down within 5 minutes. The bad news: every time I put him down in the crib, he’d start screaming again #airplanearms #twitchy #babydrama #babydaddydrama.

I’d like to tell you that I had an epiphany, changed my approach just so, and suddenly became the #babywhisperer. But babies don’t work like that. It just took time. Up. Down. Cry. Up. Down. Cry. Same pattern over and over until… magically, I put him down (asleep) and he stayed asleep #christmasmiracle #myturnnow.

So I crawled into bed and Colleen whispered to me with a sleepy but serious look, “No one better make the dog bark again. I will pummel them with my bare hands and turn their brains into soup stock.” #possibleexaggeration #dontmesswithmom

But barking dogs and foot-stomping neighbors are not really to blame for our recent sleep woes. Declan, it appears, is going through the 4-month #sleepregression. Sometimes he’ll be fast asleep and then we’ll hear this gurgling, coughing sound #gurglecough and when we pick him up he’s snorting and his food is coming out of his nose #gotmilk. Sometimes he’s so squirmy when we put him in the sleep sack that he’s not wrapped as tightly as he should be. So a few hours later, there he is, sucking on two hands that were once rendered immobile by his side #houdini #squirmworm #aintnothang.

Then there’s the…discharge. Once upon a time, the volume of pee dispensed during the middle of the night was easily contained in a diaper. Yes, the diaper was wet, but it didn’t leak and (crucially) there was rarely any poop. Now? #fartnoise #pushitout #whywaittilmorning. There’s poop. And this seems to wake him up. So we have two choices: 1) change the diaper in the middle of the night and risk turning #groggybear into #crazyalertmonkey, or 2) let whatever comes out soak its way through whatever fabric is there to block it and hope he doesn’t notice #whatnoise #dirtylaundry. Complicating matters: what if the noises that seem to indicate a diaper must be changed are actually decoys #deckoys #faker #allair? We’ve definitely had nights where we’ve heard some sort of eruption, taken his diaper off, and seen nothing. Psyche! And oh yeah, he’s wide awake now and wanting to play #openpalmtoforehead. Same with early morning (4-5 am) wake ups. He’ll be kicking, smiling, ready to babble on about anything and everything #babygossip #didyouseeherdiaper #guesshowmanyfingersicanfitinmymouth #yadayadayada. We have to put him back in the crib awake and just let him talk until he bores himself and goes back to sleep

The worst development is the nightmares #deckinthedark #boo. I have no idea what babies dream about or what might make those dreams scary #nipplechasefail #nomomilkmustache #tummytimeturmoil #justfiguredoutmyfingerscanpokemyeyesout, but these days we hear Declan whimpering, crying, and screaming more in his sleep. Trying to calm him is a constant get up-lie down process, of which Colleen bears the brunt because her side of the bed is right next to his crib #wellplayeddad #scaredofkarma

All of this to say that sleep has been a little more interrupted than usual lately. So getting to the weekend always feels pretty good. The amazing thing is no matter how frustrated we might be upon waking, it’s only a matter of minutes before we’re gushing over our boy, telling him how much we love him, how cute he is #suckers #parents. He’s a blessing, a blast, the coolest kid I know…and also exhausting. In two hashtags: #sleepregression #lifeprogression