OLD HARBOUR, NEW ZEALAND – When five-month-old Baby Sheila Wultz reluctantly fell asleep this afternoon, her lifelong dream to break the world record for consecutive months without sleep ended one month shy of the six she needed. Despite her failure, she unexpectedly became a world record holder of a different kind. Three hours before falling asleep, Baby Sheila broke the record for consecutive hours of crying at four months, three days, one hour. Only a yawn prevented her crying streak from continuing longer.
“What?” shouted Margie Wultz, Baby Sheila’s mother. “I can’t hear you. I became so used to hearing the cries of my daughter that it has made the sound of silence deafening. All I hear is humming, like the hum after a heavy metal concert where you are forced to stand directly in front of the speakers to avoid the mosh pit, but worse. Much, much, migraine worse.”
Family members predict Baby Sheila hasn’t given up her dream of staying awake and will begin crying again soon, both in frustration for falling asleep during her first record attempt and because it is a crucial part of her strategy.
“The record for crying isn’t any consolation for Baby Sheila,” said Auntie Wultz. “Right now, she is dreaming of not dreaming. Crying is nothing more than a way to keep her dream of not dreaming alive.”
In addition to the mental and physical obstacles Baby Sheila must overcome to stay awake, concerns have been raised about the judges’ ability to track her progress. Several judges have already been seen banging their heads with frying pans in a corner of the Wultz’s basement. Few believe they will be able to continue their work much longer.
“The only thing keeping me here is the economy,” said one judge when his mumbling was still decipherable. “I would take any job I was offered to get me out of this house, no matter how low the pay.”
Baby Sheila’s biggest competition for the sleepless months record isn’t far from home. Her brother, Bloke Wultz, is already two-months into his latest attempt at the six month record. His last attempt lasted a modest three months, but he’s two years old now and more strong-willed than ever before.
“I don’t know whether to criticize or commend those parents,” said a stranger who recently sat near the family in a restaurant and watched them in dismay. “I’m just glad the crying will stop when I leave.”
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