It is a sad fact and a cruel twist of nature that overtired babies don't sleep. Sleep is all they need and the very thing they cannot do. Poor babies (and poor tired mamas).
Last night, I had just happily snuggled under the big duvet and opened Pride and Prejudice for my seventh (seventeenth?) reading, feeling very proud of myself for being in bed before 9:30, when I heard baby Stephanie wailing in misery from her room. She was in such distress that I was literally running down the hall while trying to don slippers in our icy house. I don't know if she had a bad dream or what it was, but she settled down as soon as I scooped her up. She was almost asleep again as I wiped her sweet baby tears from her cheeks, but she panicked when I laid her back on the bed. I snuggled down with her and she gripped my hand. Within minutes, her breathing was soft and steady, and her tight grip relaxed as she drifted off. I started to get up, and she started to cry. A few repeats of this later, and I surrendered, pulled up an adult-sized blanket we keep on her chair, and spent the night in my slippers, lying stiff as a board on the edge of her bed trying not to disturb her. She woke up several times in the night, silent but frantically searching with her little hand until she found mine to hold again. Sometimes, she settled for a fistful of my hair. She always fell asleep again the moment she found her security. It is so atypical for her to wake during the night at all, so I wonder what it was. At any rate, she awoke refreshed and happy this morning (whereas I am keeping the lightly caffeinated hot tea on hand at all times).
Within a few hours, the effects of her odd night were rearing their ugly heads. She became nervous, teary, uncoordinated (dropping things, tripping...as you do when you're tired). I abandoned our Thursday playgroup and brought her home for her nap. By then, we were into the phase Markus and I lovingly call "burning fumes". She was running on empty, which induces some kind of wild baby frenzy. I could not settle her down no matter how I tried, so eventually I gave up and waited for the fumes to burn out.
(wearing sister's sunglasses makes activity feel all the more edgy)
Her last act of baby defiance was dragging her chair over to the computer and climbing up, trying to turn it on by herself (this is verboten). She thought it was rawther hilarious until the chair tipped and she fell to the floor. She wasn't hurt, but the surprise was enough to slam the door on wakefulness. "I NEED TO GO TO BED!!!" she wailed. That was that.
Poor tired wee one.