By Casey Liss
The Ultimate Rollercoaster

Tonight, after dinner, I was sitting near Declan trying to catch up with the Apple earnings call that was in progress. He was a few feet away, content and entertaining himself. A few minutes later, I hear him laughing hysterically. Erin is across the room, hiding, pretending she is going to sneak up on him.

I immediately join in the fun, pretending that I’ll protect Declan from Erin’s attacks. He clings to me, laughing and wailing in the happy way only an infant or toddler can.

Declan turns his head back, looking to see if Erin has moved closer while he was clinging to me. Sometimes she has, sometimes not. No matter what, once Declan locates her again, it’s back to the screams of both surprise and delight. He turns away from her, buries his head in my shoulder, clinging for dear life against the would-be attacker.

Erin is laughing. I’m giggling. Declan is nearly at the point of needing to take a break so that he can breathe he’s having so much fun.

Suddenly, like a freight train, I realize, this is that moment.

When we were having troubles conceiving, I always dreamed about what it would be like to play with my son or daughter. To giggle with them, to chase them, to be chased by them. To hear my wife and son chortling as they take part in this faux chase, to join them in their laughter, is without hyperbole, a dream come true.

I don’t close my eyes, as I don’t want Erin to catch me taking in this moment; I’m scared it will ruin it. I drink it in, as best I can, while still participating.

I’m such a lucky man.

Tonight, before our bedtime, Declan wakes up. He’s only slightly fussy at first, but over time ramps up quite a bit. I go in to try to comfort him, to no avail. After a little while, Erin goes in to do the same, and things are no better than when I left him. I wait a bit longer, and go in again.

Normally a very bad daytime sleeper, Declan is usually a champion nighttime sleeper. He goes 11 1/2 hours on most nights, and 12 hours isn’t entirely uncommon. When he does have a bad night, it hits us like a ton of bricks, since it’s so out of the ordinary.

Returning in to Declan this second time, I’m extremely frustrated. I’m trying to get a blog post posted before bed, and this is really cramping my style. I have no answers for him, and he has none for me. This is the pits.

I go in again, spend some time with him, and get him to the point that he’s at least considering sleep again. A small victory. As I sit here now, Declan is still fighting, the end of the battle nowhere in sight. This is shaping up to be a long night.

All of this happened within 3 hours.

Parenting is a rollercoaster. A beautiful, awkward, wonderful, disastrous rollercoaster.

One I hope never ends.