Hint: the answer is – because you’ve finally got a minute to yourself, and nature is a sick bitch. Other than that, I guess according to CNN, via Parenting.com, it’s got to do with the air in their room or something – which squarely falls on you, dad, for keeping their room so dark/light/dry/moist.
CNN offers a guide on the most common at-night illnesses and how to combat them. Fortunately with 20 months of fatherhood under my belt, I pretty much know everything, so I’ll tell you the real reasons why kids get sick at night and what to do.
From what I’ve seen so far, these are the most common illnesses in toddler-aged children that seem to get worse at night:
Symptom: Loud Crying, Bawling, Wailing
Why It’s Happening: Primetime television is on.
Explained: You turned your television on this morning at 7am, and from then until 8pm, it’s cartoons, kids shows, and big fluffy-costumed assclowns screaming at you about sharing crap that you earned with your own blood, sweat and tears. Or worse, singing about friendship, as if that is a killer instinct you want your kids to learn about. So naturally, you can’t wait until your kid goes to bed and you can stop getting your news along with the letter of the day. You put your kid in the crib, back out of the room, and collapse down on the couch. After pulling the remote out from the darkest and deepest corner of the couch, you search for anything with an LSV warning – Language, Sexual content, Violence. Aha, some series you used to watch before having a child – perfect! But because you’ve been feeding your child well, he or she has bionic hearing and can hear the television through the walls – and you’re busted.
Solution: Get a Sound Machine (though maybe not the DexBaby ), or maybe it’s time to start thinking about mounting a plasma television in the nursery.
Symptom: Diarrhea in the Crib, Epic Amounts of Diaper-Soaking Urine
Why It’s Happening: You’re a bad parent.
Explained: Your kid is neither a goat nor a garbage disposal. I know sometimes it’s tempting to make yourself a great meal and feed your kid the scraps, but he or she is a person too. You can’t feed your lemon peels, egg shells and carrot-butts. You can sometimes get away with feeding them your table scraps if they’ve come from an already-cooked meal – things like pizza crust or the last couple of brussel sprouts. Or, say, the puff pastry leftovers from a beef wellington. But even if your kid spends most of his day chewing on the corners of his books and then on your t-shirt, he’s not a goat. You know you’ve gone too far when your child has nightly blow-outs in bed. When you open the nursery door in the morning and it smells like used oil from the chicken fryer at KFC, and it looks like they lost a mudwrestling match, then you know it’s time to switch up your kid’s diet. And for god’s sake, don’t put the kid in bed with a bottle of milk.
Solution: Try a round meal before bed that includes both good stuff like vegetables, and nutritionally-questionable-but-heavy-and-absorbent carbs. Give them their milk before bed as a calm-down, and hopefully those carbs will soak the milk up and knock the kid out. You’ll still have to deal with doo doo butter, but probably the next day, midmorning.
Symptom: Wet-Sounding Coughs, Dry-Sounding Coughs
Why It’s Happening: Your child is a smoker.
Explained: Chances are, you’re a smoker, and your baby had to learn it from somewhere. Have you noticed that the American Spirits “free sample” ads have been torn out of your Maxim Magazine? Has your little one been especially interested in tipping over your ashtray outside during playtime? Kids are especially into smoking because they look up to you as parents and want to do whatever they see you doing. They see you eating with a fork, they want to eat with a fork. They see you surfing the internet, they want to sit on your lap and click things with the mouse. Same goes for smoking. If they see you sucking down a sweet sweet Black & Mild, they’re going to want one too. And who could blame them? That refreshing, chocolaty flavor in a slim, perfectly burning cigarillo? Hot damn. I want one right now.
Solution: Check out his or her fingers and see if there is yellowing around the fingernails. Smell for that smokey smell in their hair. Look for burns in the crib sheets. If you do find evidence of your child smoking, generally the best thing to do is make them smoke the whole pack. Sit them down in the garage (or balcony if you live in an apartment complex) and make them smoke until they find it unappealing. This might take a couple packs, especially since Black & Milds only come in packs of five. Just keep on them, because the last thing you want is for your kid to have just enough to develop more of a habit.
Symptom: Painful Earaches
Why It’s Happening: Their own television shows
Explained: Dude, you’ve seen the crap they watch. Enough said.
Solution: There is no solution. Clearly you want to raise them right, and raising them right means lots of television. Television is a great substitution for a parent, babysitter and teacher. The only problem is that every character screams their lessons with eardrum-piercing volume. What ever happened to inside-voice-outside-voice? So, you’re kind of screwed. You can save your own ears by giving your kids headphones, directly connected to the television. And really, as long as your ears are fine, it’s a non-issue. Your kid is young and his body parts have time to grow back and repair themselves.
Why It’s Happening: Your child parties too hard.
Explained: Think about how many beers you’ve got to rip before you feel sick. Now imagine you weigh less than 30lbs. Here’s the kicker – daycare is a fun place. Sometimes, too fun. When kids aren’t learning how to tumble or singing songs about farmers with dogs, they’re learning how to share – share drink recipes, that is. So when your kid comes home smelling like a red-headed slut, it really is that he’s been drinking – not that his literal red-headed slut of a daycare chick gave him peach juice during snack time. Kids love to drink because they’ve got tons of problems; they can’t talk (effectively at least), they’re forced to crap their own pants and sit in it until you’re ready to clean them, and they have to go to bed early every night, even if you’re having a great time. What if they want to stay up and play dominoes too? So, understandably, toddlers need to drink away the pain sometimes.
Solution: It’s all about taking the child out of the environment that they associate with drinking. If they’re drinking at daycare, then you’ve got to get them a gym membership instead. If they’re insisting on having a nightcap, then you’ve got to bump their bedtime up or down. You have to mentally break them. You can also try watering the alcohol down, but that doesn’t always work. Or, when in doubt, employ the smoking solution of “giving them the whole pack”. Sit them down in the garage with a bottle and don’t go to sleep until it’s empty.
Well, I hope my knowledge of nighttime illnesses has been helpful. There are other ailments that get worse at night…like broken arms, but if we’re talking about kids under the age of 3, then broken bones don’t apply since they’re invincible.