Random Thoughts: Scattershot

I know, two days in a row of random stuff. Sue me.

I went to the chiropractor yesterday, finally. The guy is a little weird — not creepy, just funny-weird. Here’s a quote: “I don’t really fraternize with my brethren. I have very different ideas than other chiropractors.” Um, okay. I pretty much thought different ideas were par for the course with chiropractors, being closely related to at least three of them. (Hi, Dr. Sis!)

The girls were with me, which was unfortunate. The doctor and I kept getting interrupted. Bright spots? No complete meltdown, and nothing was broken over the course of an hour. Low points? Monkey ate a potato chip off the floor (it was a very clean floor), and Bun pushed her sister over at one point (right before we were leaving fortunately. I made her apologize). The chiropractor has a 28-month-old daughter of his own, so he sympathized with me, and didn’t seem put out by the girls.

When I go back next week (diagnosis: back sprain; course of treatment: adjustments and exercises to strengthen the lower back), I’m leaving the girls with a babysitter or my MIL if she’s willing to keep ’em for an hour.

I had soreness last night, to the point of needing to ice my back after the girls’ bath time. The doctor said that would happen because the adjustment would aggravate the injury. I have my first exercise to do three times a day too; it basically amounts to sucking in my belly for a count of ten, ten times in a row. It’s tougher than it sounds. Oy, I’m out of shape. Maybe this is what it will take for me to finally get serious about exercise again.

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Bun. Is. Waking at night. Again. One reason for this second random thoughts in as many days is simply that I am TIRED. I went to bed before 10:00 last night, which was an achievement. But then Bun woke me at 1:30, 2:30, and 5 a.m. I don’t have the wherewithal to let her cry it out right now, so I bring her into bed with me. Then since I can’t sleep with her, I move into the guest bed; then she wakes up crying for me again, and I go back into my bed. Then I pass out again, sometimes for two or three hours in a row, sometimes not.

This sucks.

I’m going to keep trying the routine that DearDR created. It’s tough because the girls seem all worked up and whiny at bed time lately, stalling and fighting it. I try to ignore it, but their behavior makes it hard for deep breathing and visualization (for them). So I just try a quiet prayer and lullaby, and hope for the best.

It ain’t happening. (Yet.)

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Finally: Go here and vote for a pediatric hospital to win an ultimate gameroom from Microsoft. I am voting for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, of course, but I am also throwing a few votes to St. Vincent Health Center up in Erie. That’s where I’m from. I was a candy striper at the hospital years and years (and years) ago.

Can you picture THAT?

Two Steps Forward, and the Status Quo

Last night as I was getting Bun ready to take her bath, she looked me in the face and said, “I have to go pee.”

So we walked into the bathroom, and — after I stopped her from putting her hands in the toilet — got her properly situated, and she peed on the potty.

I was so proud of her. Not least of all because, frankly, I haven’t made a damn move on the potty training front with Bun. I do not have a clue how I am supposed to potty train a child while I am at work full time. I suspect it may involve a very intense weekend in the house, with Bun’s bum on the pot every half an hour.

Which I understand can be effective, but it sounds like terribly high-pressure situation for a 2-and-a-half-year-old. Especially as using the potty is something I would like her to learn.

As a reward, I gave her a chocolate cookie (note to self: stock up on M&M’s). She seemed to grasp the importance of what she did. I am encouraged. But I still have no plans to go hard-core on this thing. It’s too nice outside!

Unfortunately, on the sleep front, Bun is still not doing well. The nightmares continue, and continue to disrupt sleep for the household. And by household, I mean me.

I thought a routine of ‘monster spray’ and prayers (“Now I lay me down to sleep…” and a litany of “God bless…”) would put the kibosh on the nightmares. This did seem to work — for about two days. But now we’re back to waking up, usually anywhere between 3 and 5 o’clock in the morning.

Last night was especially terrible. She was up screaming by 12:30 a.m. When I went to get her and tuck her into bed with me (DearDR fell asleep on the couch, that lucky bastard), I asked if anything hurt. She said no. I asked if she had a nightmare. She said yes. I asked what about? She said monsters. Trying to drill down a little further, I said, “What kind of monsters?” “Animal monsters,” she answered. I had nothing further to ask, and spent the rest of the night waking up with her toes digging into my back.

I’m of two minds. One mind says, “Let her watch Monsters, Inc.” The other one says, “Make bed time even quieter, don’t talk about monsters (i.e. use angel spray instead of monster spray), and tell Bun about all the good dreams she is going to have.” (This latter is at the suggestion of DearDR.)

What say you? Also, if you have any guidance on the potty training front for a WOTHM, I am all ears.

Those Memories are Misty for a Reason

Motherhood — parenthood — in general is a wonderful adventure. For all the aggravation our children cause us, for the challenges they present, the opportunities for wonder, joy, and love are by and away larger, sweeter, and leave a longer lasting impression than the petty (and tough) daily grind.

Motherhood — parenthood — has moments of wonder, joy, and love that we parents will revisit over and over again. That we attempt to capture — in words, in pictures, in the stories we tell. That we look forward to revisiting as our children grow. “Remember the time,” we will say, and we will laugh.

And then there are the times and challenges that, really, we’d rather not revisit. Like, oh, I don’t know—the sleepless nights, the middle-of-the-night wakenings, not to feed and bond sleepily, but to soothe and comfort. Middle-of-the-night infant feedings and changes are different than the screaming 2-year-old that needs mommy and/or daddy immediately right now next to her in the dark.

Which is all a round about way of saying: we seem to be revisiting this issue with Bun again. We’ve been revisiting it every night for the past two weeks (since we got back from vacation) between 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning.

Sometimes I hear her crying, and I wait a bit. And she’ll drop back to sleep.

Most of the time, though she’ll get out of her bed, and I won’t hear her until she’s trying to climb into ours. If the gate is still up, she’ll scream until one of us stumbles to her door. “Up!” she’ll cry. “Up, up, mama!”

Thank goodness Monkey is a deep sleeper. Unfortunately, so is DearDR.

I ask if her ear hurts. “No,” she whimpers. She isn’t running a temperature. “Did you have a bad dream?” “Yeah,” she whispers, burrowing into my side, sharp elbows and knees digging in and hanging on. Sometimes, after she drops off again in our bed, she’ll thrash and cry out again.

Two weeks. I am seriously considering calling the pediatrician, but what are they going to tell me?

Wait it out, probably. Again.

Is there a way to prevent bad dreams?

Tuesday: FAIL

So I had to bolt to pick my feverish, puking Monkey up from Day School yesterday. I am praying that she is not reinfected with strep, and that it’s just the flu. Yeah, “just” the flu.

If anyone mentions pigs, there will be blood.

Also: WTF is up with my children? They spend more time sick than well these days, or so it seems.

If anyone mentions feeding them meat — as my FIL did last night — there will be blood.

To top off the night, I ran out with my FIL to deal with his nephew’s car, which was pretty much sitting in the middle of an on ramp on Route 60. It had stopped running (the oil was all over the road, so something must have cracked or leaked) and he simply took the keys out of the car and made the five mile trek home. I felt bad for everyone involved, but I watched some hockey highlights on my phone (for free) while we waited for AAA, and my FIL had me home by 10:15. It is exhausting, sometimes, family.

Bun is just fine, but I’m sure she will be sick by the weekend. She woke up crying at 2:30 a.m.; I figured she was either feverish or ready to throw up. But she was neither. Maybe it was just a bad dream. After I brought her in bed with us, she went right back to sleep.

That child is a bed hog — er, bed pirate. Yeah, pirate.

Anyway, Bun is off to Day School again; Monkey will spend the day at my in-laws, no doubt in front of the giant screen TV all day. Which, I guess there are worse ways to spend sick time.

All I Need is Sleep

For some time now, Bun has been giving me some difficulties at bed time. She is already, at 2, quite the little staller. Monkey tries to stall too, but her heart isn’t really in it. She takes “no” extraordinarily well at bed time. Most of the time.

Bun lists all the things she has to do at bedtime:

“Watch tee-vee?” We’ve already watched our 1/2-hour-before-bed-time show.
“Bush teef, mommy? Bush teef?” Of course.
“Tak-a-baf?” This regardless of whether or not she has already had a bath.
“Read book. Harwy, No Roses.” That’s No Roses for Harry, second only to Harry by the Sea in our household.
“I poopy, Mommy” or just “Change di-per, Mommy”. Poopy or not, I must change her. She accepts no substitutes.
“Rock-a-bye?” or “Song, mommy.”

If she’s really desperate, she tells me, “I hungy, mama. I firsty.” She does not like to hear “no, it’s time for bed.”

Then once she’s in bed, she’ll start crying about 5 minutes after I leave the room. I suspect she’s scared of the dark, and she’s scared of shadows, so I usually leave her crib-side light on. (I know, I know, it’s time for a big girl bed. We’ve just been so very busy.)

But in the past two weeks, it’s gotten worse. She’s been waking up in the middle of the night crying and crying. She won’t settle down until I go into her and rock her a little bit. Or, worse, she’ll wake up around 4 a.m., and be convinced it’s time to get up and go downstairs.

Three nights ago, she woke up screaming at 1 a.m. She screamed for an hour despite my attempts to soothe and rock her. She truly seemed terrified and kept looking around her room as if she didn’t know where she was.

Finally DearDR took her, and walked outside with her. It was like hitting the off switch. Of course, when he brought her back to bed, she wanted nothing to do with her crib, and so they slept together in the guest bed.

Two nights ago she woke up twice, once at 11:30 p.m. (I think — I was a little groggy) and the next time a 4 a.m. At 4 a.m., I took her downstairs, but I didn’t put any lights on; I showed her that everyone was still in bed and it was still dark. When I sat on the couch, she cuddled right up like she was going to doze off. So I brought her in bed with us; it worked out okay then, but I don’t want to make it a nightly thing.

I know we went through a similar phase with Monkey, but she was older, and a night light solved it. Bun can’t seem to tell me what is wrong; it shouldn’t be teething (she’s got ’em all), and she just had an ear recheck that revealed no new ear infection — hallelujah. When I ask if anything hurts, she cries out, “No!” And cries some more.

I do not know what to do for Bun. It seems she’s having nightmares, and I’m not sure it we can prevent that. Up until now, she has been such a good sleeper. It’s not horrendous, relatively, but I hit a wall around 2 or 3 p.m. at work, and being up past 10 p.m. is a real struggle. (I know I should go to bed earlier, but it just doesn’t happen if i want to keep my house in relative order, post and/or plurk, plus have a smidgen of “just-me” time with a book and a glass of wine. And watch Lost on Wednesdays. And then there are green bean nights… Oh, you know.) Suggestions are more than welcome!

This morning takes the cake. After wreaking havoc on DearDR’s sleep most of the night (he tried to settle with her in the guest bed again), she came in to our room where I was sleeping at 4:50 a.m.; after 10 minutes of kicking and stealing my blankets, I took her downstairs, gated her in the living room, and turned on the Backyardigans. Then I went back up to bed.

At 6 a.m., she came back upstairs, climbed into bed with me and fell asleep. She was still sleeping when I left at 7 a.m. She’s trying to kill us. Or, at least, drive us insane.

I’m tired, yo.

When Your Day Starts at 2:30 a.m….

…the suck lasts alllll day looong. I assure you.

I don’t know what happened, although I have guesses. In Monkey’s case, I don’t know what it is, but she finds it much harder to settle when DearDR is home and/or when he puts her to bed. First she wouldn’t settle down — she wanted him to stay with her; then she wanted to go in our bed; then she wanted to be back in her bed. Finally she fell asleep in our bed, and I moved her to her bed at 11 p.m. when I went to bed.

She was back at 2:30 a.m. Then she wanted to go back to her bed at 3:30 a.m., then came back at 4 a.m., and then Bun woke up at 4:30 a.m., and was pretty much up for the count. At 5-ish in a desperate bid for sleep, DearDR took Monkey into her room and they both slept in her bed. Bun simply would not give up, and finally I took her downstairs sometime around 6:30. That happened after I cried for nearly 20 minutes because she would not.fall.asleep, and my crying made her cry.

It was a bad scene.

Although I ditched on my original plans (the Children’s Museum), I still had some things to try to accomplish yesterday: grocery store, bank, post office, library. We made it to the second one. Then I tried to burn them out at the kid mall.

And Monkey was wonderful, very well behaved, in the mood to shop, even. Quote: “I think we should buy me something pretty here.” This after a search turned up no toddler-sized Steelers jerseys.

Bun, as usual, was a different story. If I went right, she wanted to go left; she didn’t want the snack we were all sharing; she wanted all of the drink we were all (supposed to be) sharing; and she ran, ran, ran, sometimes literally in circles away from me. It all culminated in a major fit as we were leaving the mall and I was wrestling her into her coat and trying to keep her near me while I helped Monkey with her coat.

I was tired, frazzled, and most of all, embarrassed. Bun can be an angel in public, or at least funnily charming. But yesterday she could be nothing but contrary.

My theories about the sleep issues: I think Monkey was cold; our upstairs tends to be chilly, and it was chillier than usual. Bun is teething I think, cutting her final molar. At least I hope it’s the final one. This has been going on every couple of weeks for awhile now, so between teething and ear infections, Bun hasn’t been the best sleeper.

I’m almost positive it was not a full moon, but I’m too tired now to check.

Mr. Sandman, Send Me A Dream of My Own Bed

For two months, Monkey went to bed contently in her own bed. Not a peep at bedtime.

I was so proud of her, I bought her a kiddie pool. Then, last week, when she clearly and strongly expressed her desire to sleep in my bed, I told her about the pool — tactical error; we hadn’t put it up yet. The information that we owned it was sufficient enough to get her back into her own bed — for one night.

The next night, the battle was renewed. Just as I was readying the “pool” bribe, Monkey, face down on my bed, held up a hand. “Mommy,” she said solemnly, “you can take the pool back to the store.”

Heavens defend us — she’s already anticipating arguments. We’re doomed (again). I was speechless. If the pool didn’t get her in her own bed, I had no idea — short of physical force — what would.

And now, in addition to the fight to sleep in my bed, Monkey has become the queen of the bedtime stall. This has been building for awhile, but it has truly reached new heights. She throws off her covers, and insists I put them back over her. She adopts a new animal every night, and makes me search for it until it can be safely tucked in with her. She dithers over the choice of a book. She goes potty twice before going to bed.

It’s maddening. I have stomped, I have bribed, I have coerced, I have threatened. I have put her to bed with the gate up, and come upstairs to find her bedclothes and stuffed animals against that gate and her in my bed. She’s a 3-year-old escape artist! If I close the door, she yells and cries — and she can open the door anyway.

Last night, I simply gave up. I read her book and sang her lullabies in my bed. When I went to bed later, she was sleeping, so I moved her, and she slept the rest of the night in her own bed.

I guess that’s the best I can hope for right now. I cannot think of a bribe that will entice her. DearDR suggests that we keep the pool but not let her swim in it, but I don’t want to fight that battle.

She’s won. Until I think of something else.

Suggestions welcome!