The Phantom Menace

At first I thought it was the lack of sleep, but it happens even when I’m rested. I’ll be running water at the sink or listening to the radio and I hear Trixie crying. I go in to get her and discover she’s sound asleep.

I return to what I was doing, turn the water back on or the radio up — and I hear her again. When I go back to check on her, she’s still sound asleep. I realized pretty quickly that she was not making noise in her sleep. It’s all in my head. It’s the phantom crying. I think this has to be some kind of instinctual reaction. You listen to her cries, squeals, grunts and screams so much that your mind tries to fill in the gaps when she is actually asleep and not making any noise.

I’m sure this is also related to every parent’s worry that a child may fall victim to SIDS. I find myself often peeking in her room to confirm that her chest is rising and falling. Sometimes it takes forever to get a lock on her movement, especially if she’s under a few blankets. As great as it is when she’s asleep, the phantom noises are a subconscious acknowledgement that it’s more comforting when she’s awake. Scary.

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3 Responses to The Phantom Menace

  1. joseph's parents says:

    Does it ever stop? Our son is 3 months old and we still hear the phantom crying – it seems to be loudest in the shower.

  2. Meredith says:

    No, it never stops! My kids are 12 and 15 years old, and I still hear the phantom cries of distress — usually when I’m in the shower. I also still occasionally check to make sure they are breathing at night. By the way, a fairly easy way to do this is to put your hand right in front of your child’s face — not touching, but close — so that you can feel the breath.

  3. Valerie says:

    I still have the phantom crying, in the shower, when I’m outside, and even in my dreams. It’s amazing that I wake up when he’s actually crying and not when I dream that he’s crying. Is it weird that his screaming, wailing, crying, etc. just doesn’t bother me anymore? It drives my husband nuts but I’m calm from experience.