Apparently, around 11 p.m. or so E had awoken and started crying. K had gone in to put him back to sleep (she may have even fed him or changed him for all I know), and all of this happened completely without my being aware of it. Apparently K couldn't get the boy back to sleep and thought that bringing him to bed to cuddle between us might send him off to sleep.
It didn't. That was just a signal to him that it was time to play, and he's at that most violent of ages where playing means beating the crap out of things. The table, the TV, the chair, K's back, his own head, daddy's ear while daddy is sleeping, and all of this beating sets down the rhythm to the soundtrack of his own maniacal laughter interspersed with the repetition of his own personal mantra of "Da da duh dee thpppttt."
Actually, the kid is lucky he didn't pull this stunt the previous night when I leapt from bed screaming, thinking that a rather large rat had brushed up against my leg under the covers. I may have thrown him against the wall before waking up enough to realize what I was doing had he opened his can of whoop ass on me that night.
Honestly, I could possibly sleep through the beating, especially after he'd pummeled me into unconsciousness, but that cackle just jars the brain into an alert state of mind, making sleep impossible. Finally, K threw him back into the crib where he cried for a few minutes before passing back out. Unfortunately, he awoke several other times during the night to briefly express his displeasure with the situation before returning to sleep. Luckily, this is an increasingly rare phenomenon. As far as I know, he usually sleeps through the night now. Of course I am a deep sleeper and K, with her mommy senses, is a bit more sensitive to the nocturnal appeals of our young one, so I'm sure I'm missing some of these midnight sessions, but she has mentioned that he's been sleeping through the night a lot lately.
Still, that's small comfort as I force my way through the day exhausted and bruised.