"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Thursday, July 8, 2010

ch-ch-ch-changes

Things have been nutty around here:

Evan, my never-has-been-a-good-sleeper, has been up all night every night. By all night, I mean that if, IF, he's asleep by 10 pm, he's up for 2-3 hours in the middle of the night. Just UP. Sometimes sad, sometimes lonely, sometimes needing something, ANYthing, sometimes throwing a tantrum, but no matter what--up.

Max has been on a major nursing strike. He's eating three solid meals a day and LOVES them, but is trying to cut nursing sessions out and I'M NOT READY for that. He SHOULDN'T be ready for that. He's STILL A BABY. I'm stressing that he's not getting enough breastmilk. Isn't that a first-time mommy worry? Shouldn't I just follow my baby's cues and relax by now?

He's also teething. His two bottom teeth are completely in and his two fangs are in on top. But the two front top teeth are trying to break through. As it is, he looks like a 6-year old who's lost his two front teeth. It's a little odd. But I hear it's pretty common. (?!) A little part of me is afraid that the ones in ARE his front teeth and he just has a comedically large gap.

And Evan continues to hone his skills in Throwing the Ultimate Tantrum. Practice makes perfect!

And...AND....we're potty training!

Things were so nutty, in fact, that after zero sleep and one epic tantrum, I called the pediatrician. The receptionist scheduling the appointment asked what we were coming in for. "I don't really know," I said with desperation in my voice, "there is something wrong with my 3-year old."

"What are his symptoms?" she asked.

"Oh, no, it's not like that.....it's his behavior," I stammer, "he's throwing these tantrums and he gets this crazy look in his eye! He gets out of control!"

"I see. You want to see the pediatrician because your 3-year old is throwing tantrums?"

"No, these aren't your run of the mill tantrums. I mean it's not like I can't handle tantrums, I TAUGHT KINDERGARTEN. I can HANDLE tantrums," I'm getting defensive, and I don't know why, "but something must be WRONG with him. He's NOT SLEEPING. And did I mention the crazy look in his eye?!"

"Okay, let's see what Dr. C's first available is...." I was That Mom. The one who, when the receptionist hung up the phone, she looked at the receptionist next to her and said something like, "Well, that crazy lady's having a bad day." Or something less sympathetic.

So we went to the pediatrician. I explained everything. Have I mentioned how much I love Evan's pediatrician? She listened, really listened. And while she listened and I fought back tears, she nodded and smiled a gentle, understanding smile. And then she said this:

"I have three grown children. I have loved and cherished each of my children each and every moment of their lives. I wouldn't trade a second of their lives for anything......HOWEVER: If I were forced to give up each of my kids for six months of their lives, for each kid it would be between the ages of three and three and a half. Those months were hard. REALLY hard."

She went on to describe these little beasts like this: Around the age of three, kids have become less egocentric to realize that there is a whole world around them. A whole world of people and things and rules and routines and circumstances. And these less-egocentric little beings now get that these other people and situations are there, but don't yet understand why they don't get to be The Boss Of Everything. This is, apparently, very difficult for them to wrap their little tyrannical brains around. So....they take this frustration out on us, their mommies and daddies. On the people who will love them to pieces EVEN AFTER they yell and scream and shriek and stomp and flail and throw their bodies to the ground. And, they try to create order in this newly discovered chaos in their own demanding little ways, and this is what drives parents absolutely crazy.

Dr. C told the story of her youngest daughter who, at age 3 began insisting on each of the five members of the family going downstairs in a certain order every morning. The order was arbitrary (not by age or gender, etc.) but it was crucial that the family members obey the prescribed order. At first, the family thought it was cute and funny. Until the day when the boss's daddy tried to go downstairs out of order and all hell broke loose.

I can so see this scene unfolding in my own house. And this is why I love this pediatrician.

So she reassured me that my child is, indeed, normal. And that this, too, will pass. In fact, she said it was the brightest, most sensitive children (in her experience and in anecdotal evidence from her practice) that experience the most difficulty during this time in their development. Sure, she probably says that to all the hysterical mommies, but I'll take it.

As for the sleep issues? Per doctor's orders, we are to....[GULP]....86 the naps. She said that it's more crucial for him to get the uninterrupted, restorative, nighttime sleep than to sleep for more hours during the day. So. Yeah. I have a kid that does not sleep at night and now I'm going to take away the two hours I can guarantee that he'll get some sleep. This is going to be fun.

Lesson Learned:
The bad news: Six months (from 3-3.5) is a long time. The good news: Evan will be three and a half in October. At that point, he'll have figured out his place in the world and discovered how to control his little corner of it in a productive and fulfilling way. Right? [gulp.]

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