Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sleepless Since September in Chicago

Remember how I mentioned there's been a lot going on?

One long term issue that we've been facing in this house is Benjamin.
Back in August Ben had his 2 year old check up (one month late) it was suggested by his pediatrician to have a speech evaluation as his language quantity seemed below the necessary charts. After having the speech evaluation done through Child and Family Connections/Early Intervention, it was determined that Benjamin at 24months was speaking on a 9-15month old level.

The speech therapist has been coming to our home since November, since beginning this Early Intervention process back in September. Since September, Ben's sleep hasn't been normal. At first we thought it was because he had realized how to get out of the crib back in August or September (I can't remember). He'd wake up in the night, flip out of the crib and come running down the hallway at the late hours of the night.

So, the crib happened.

The sleep started to become few and far between in the middle of the night. He became more defiant during the day but after all, he had turned 2 July 17Th. We've experienced these phases, these check points in our lives with our other two, so we chalked it up to Ben advancing in the terrible two's.

We transitioned him into his toddler bed that was once Sullivan's and Jackson's-for those of you that have been with me for awhile you'll remember that post about how affected I was by losing the crib.

So, Ben's in the toddler bed in his own room with his ocean sound machine and soft playing music (that he's "heard" since he was in my tummy and afterwards consistantly from the time he was given to us on July 17Th by G-D's graces).
Doesn't matter.

He still would wake up in the night, a few times at the very least. Not confusion arousal or night terrors, he'd just wake up, so we chalked it up to the change of the crib to bed.

Then in November he got really sick and was hospitalized with stryder compliments of Croup. After he was discharged from the hospital we were so scared to leave him alone in his room to sleep, so we had him sleep in our bed. After we were assured that he was past the scary parts of the breathing issues, we decided to move him back onto his mattress. Only we weren't quite recovered from that scary moment, not quite ready to return him back to his room unattended, so we placed his crib mattress ( the one that is on his little toddler bed) on the floor in our room, at the foot of our bed.

He'd still wake up in the night at least twice.
I mean, REALLY???

But, we chalked it up to all the inconsistencies we as parents, were doing to him. I don't know about how you view raising children, but I'm one that believes in keeping them on a schedule. No, I'm not the neurotic type that would start throwing hair brushes and rocking my legs if it's 1:03 Pm and he hasn't been put down for his nap which usually is at 1:00pm, but, I still believe in keeping a schedule. Like you do when you have a puppy in the house. The less change you create, the better the acclimation, unless of course you can see how developed their personality is as well as how adaptable they are, then go with change as much as you want.

Move that Cheese, baby!!

Anyhow, I chalked it up to all the bed moving that Ben had been dealing with. Did I mention that we assumed he was starting his terrible two's because his irritability and moods have not been the type that used to justify our gentle Ben. But again, as a shitty mom, I make excuses and figure, "oh it's just a phase."
"He'll grow out of it."
"It's my fault he's cranky, I'm not paying enough attention to him."
"He's the baby, that's what happens, they're usually the feistiest of the role call of siblings."


He's been waking up in the night since September.
His nap patterns have been irregular as far as how long he sleeps. I'd lay him down at 1:02pm and on some days he'll wake at 2:45, and others, 1:59. But that must be because Sully or I were making too much noise. He'd wake up flushed, and very sweaty. Of course he's always woken up sweaty, that's him.

Excuses again!
I have SMS!
Shitty mom syndrome.

Then we had Grandma from Florida up visiting us in the beginning of December for about a week, and like always he'd wake up, but that must have been from the excitement of change. He is after all a very light sleeper, and it's not like we have a McMansion. If you're in the lower level near the laundry room, I would bet you could hear me fart in my sleep upstairs on the third level.

We have a tri-level home.
So chalk it up to poor sound insulation.


Christmas and Santa phobia arrives and again the sleep or lack there of continues. I think that since September there's only been a few nights where he's slept from 8:00pm-5:00am without waking up at least once in the night. Usually it's twice in the night.

We get past the hustle and bustle of Christmas and Hanukkah, and arrive on a late night for New Years eve, and still the sleep or lack there of continues.

His behavior has gone from terrible two's to what the hell? He's just not a fun person to be around and I will be happy to admit that on more then one occasion (SO MANY!!) I have thought out loud to Brian, "why didn't we wait awhile until we had our third?" You might think that it's cruel to say that, but it's the truth. When you have children I'm hoping you don't say it, but changes are..if you give a pig a pancake....

He's hitting and scratching and biting, throwing toys, and just being a complete asshole. But that must be from Sullivan's little friend who is constantly beingpicked on by his own older cousin and then, when he's over here, naturally would take it out on Ben.


Sometime after New Years yet before my birthday, my very cool Uncle brought up a bed that was their 7 year old son's. My "Hobbes" had moved into bunk beds, and for those of you that don't know this, you have to have a specific type of mattress for bunk beds. We figured that out ourselves when we bought Jackson his bunk bed a few months ago.

So we were very happy.
Finally! A CHANCE! I was reading zzzz's in my eye screens, like you'd read a ticker of the stock exchange at the merck. A big boy bed with a white safety toddler mesh rail so he doesn't fall out. This is totally going to make him sleep through the night.

He still wakes up.
Must be the change to the big boy comfy twin bed with a very comfortable down comforter (non allergenic of course).


Here we are Jan21st and I'm even willing to bet I've missed my 2year blogging anniversary because of all of this disruption since September. I bet you thought I've been missing due to the fact that Jackson was in school all day and I became an Oprah fan eating Yellow Pez, dried noodles and Snow caps all day, didn't you?

I can't speak or write for Brian, although I can tell you he is exhausted, not to mention stressed with being the only breadwinner in our family, but for me, I am just done.

I've put on more weight then I've ever weighed before without the excuse of being pregnant. I'm drinking Coke again and back to my 4-6 cups a day of coffee.

I'm not at the no Doz level yet, but it's getting awfully close. Do you know what happens when you get really tired? Well, for me, when I get really tired, I get cold. So either I increase our gas heating bill, or I wear out my pink fluffy robe and wear it everywhere-even to drive Jackson to school. I walk around dazed and have zero energy to play with my sons.

I called my ENT today after a crying fit in my laundry room, (you know, the place where you could probably hear my sleep farts?) and although I had made an appointment for Ben that was supposed to be on February 11Th, to check into his insides, I can't wait anymore.

I'm afraid I may break open, after all I'm already cracking. Try not having normal sleep since September without the excuse of a newborn. At least it's explainable with a new baby, and your body is prepared. Not this.

My eyes look like I'm one of those vampires from the Twilight series, although far from hot and luscious. My skin looks awful, and I already mentioned my weight. I'm more sensitive to things more so then usual, but I'm far more silent because I'm just too exhausted to make any effort at all. Which means I am far more removed and far more annoyed and frustrated with everything.

Especially with Ben.
So to the point of this.
Brian and I have not fully slept all night since September.
(Forget about any fun-although we had a nice few rounds prior to my birthday)
I can't do it anymore.
No, not the "do it" anymore, although that's something that is impacted by this, I'm talking this lack of sleep.
I'm going to crack.

This lack of sleep is affecting how I parent to my other sons, it's affecting my marriage. Ben's own behavior is just nasty and no matter what we've tried as of present, nothing seems to be working.
Reading self help books and toddler tips only makes me want to rest my head and go to bead.
We've tried,...
For example:
cereal at night before bed
No juice or sugars beyond 6pm
Nothing artificial
A cup of water bedside
The same routine at night-three books, kisses and cuddles

For His "terrible twos":
time outs
sent to room
Nothing works.

I called my ENT in between tears and have managed to get an appointment for him to be seen in their office located near the hospital where Ben was born in Geneva IL, tomorrow.

I'm hoping it's what we've been suspecting-sleep apnea. He does hold his breath, or rather now thinking about it, he stops his breathing. He sweats quite a bit, and isn't that a symptom of sleep apnea? His tonsils looked a tad swollen according to his speech therapist, although it is common for tonsils and adenoids to be swollen between the ages of 3-6 and that is when sleep apnea is most common in children.

I don't want it to be sleep apnea, but I need it to be something or I will just turn in my mom towel and pick up smoking again and just return to the thoughts that all of this is because of me and I must have picked up the SMD (shitty mom's disease) because I can't think clearly and NO!! This IS NOT a post about self pity, it's a post that is being written through sleepless caffeine induced eyes.

I'm sure all three of my sons are big fans of their mom right now.

Sleep well.


The Window Watcher said...

You're being WAY too har don yourself, elizabeth! SMS is totally untrue. I can offer is my ear if you want it. Anything!!!! Just say so and I'll help any way my family can.

Brad said...

Sweatpea! - Window Washer's got it right - your being WAY too hard on yourself. You need a break. Could your Mom & Dad take the kids overnight so you two could have some space? At least if you got a nights sleep things wouldn't seem so overwhelming. I'd do it if I were closer!

Your a dang good Mommie.


as far as an overnight, well, that's difficult right now-my parents are very involved with their own sleepless stresses--one being work :)

Brother Brad---call me or reply to my text
Window Watcher-pointer sisters, it was nice talking to you today. Bri looks forward to sharing that case with you! :) Too bad Mrs. Watcher doesn't indulge in cases (the four of us could really probably use it--how is your heart btw, back to normal after this past Sunday??)..oh well, more for you two--and me? CHV'S!


austere said...


I'm glad you've having this looked at, though. He must be suffering from the lack of sleep too.

Susan's Snippets said...

CB - Please keep us posted as to what the doc says today.


Golden To Silver Val said...

I don't know why, but when I was reading your post, it just came to me so I want to ask you if you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home? If not, have your house checked, ok?
Some of his behaviors sound like hyper-activity...those children just don't require the same amount of sleep as others. But it seems like you would have noticed it if he were hyper long before now.
I'm glad you're getting him checked out and I understand oh so well how tired you are.
Let us know how you're doing. And STOP with the are one of the best mommies I've ever come across....HONEST. BIG BIG hugs!

Palm Springs Savant said...

sounds to me like you are just being a good mommy and doing what's right! hang in there...

Cheryl said...

You should have told sooner. We could have been your support group. I'm so sorry your family has been suffering. I read your most recent post first. Maybe the answer is in the 'ectomys'. At least you have a start, a maybe answer to Ben's behavior both during the day and at night. You are a fantastic mom; don't doubt yourself. You're looking back and blaming yourself when you shouldn't. If we all had hindsight, the world would be perfect, and we know it's not. We do the best we can, and you've been trying everything you can think of.

Maybe you and Brian can get a babysitter and go to a motel and sleep. Just sleep :)

I know how depressing it is to gain weight and not be exercising. I'm there. You'll change that. Don't smoke!!

Stay in touch. Let us know what you and Brian decide for Ben, OK?

Anonymous said...

Dearest Elizabeth

You are a fantastic mother, never doubt that for a moment.

You are talking as someone who is suffering from sleep deprivation and SD can be cruel. Did you know they used it as a form of torture during the war so that should tell how hellish it is on a person's physical, mental and emotional well being.

I hope you manage to get to the bottom of it so little Ben can get better and his Mommy and Daddy can sleep peacefully again.

Anonymous said...

Wow, i for one am shocked that you would even for a moment consider your self a shitty mom. You are a fantastic,loving, caring involved mom who has three boys that love you to death. Dont ever say that you are suffering from SMS!!!! I have the opportunity to witness how great of a mother you are first hand. Stop beating yourself up!

Portia said...

You do NOT have SMD!! But I can totally relate to the feeling:) There are a million reasons kids might wake up in the night, and you just gave a bunch of good ones. Add to that that you are all sleep deprived and it's no wonder you're feeling crummy. I hope you find the expert with the answers you need. It will get better..:)