Ladies and gentlemen, we're back on track. My sweet little snuggly Evan is back.
A lot of variables came together to help Evan get through some of the difficulties that he's had lately:
Evan is no longer taking any medication. We figured that we can deal with the sleep challenges, we can NOT deal with the quick-to-temper, tantrum-prone, anxious kid that the medicine was helping to create.
Evan's sleep is improving, for now....I think it's just going to be a cyclical thing....a period of good sleep followed by a period of frequent night-wakings, probably triggered by transitions, illness, growth spurts, etc.
Evan is responding to the incentive programs we've been using: sticker charts, chocolate chips, special time, etc. But he's not dependent on them. If we forget to use the sticker chart one day, it's not a tragedy. It doesn't affect his behavior negatively, only reinforces the positive behavior. The random Marshmallow For Being So Sweet helps, too. I think the best thing is to randomly "catch him being good" (to borrow from my teacher training courses).
And finally: Evan is more than 2 weeks older than Three And A Half. My pediatrician tried to tell me that the six months between 3 and 3.5 were the toughest for the vast majority of kids. I didn't believe her while we were in that window. I felt like my kid had forever changed and I wasn't going to get him back. I swear, it was like the lightswitch flipped that week he turned 3 and a half and we ARE back. The past two weeks have been lightyears better than the six months that preceded them.
Not that I think we're out of the woods for good. I'm sure every stage of development will bring with it it's own set of challenges....but I think we can take a few deep breaths and just enjoy our boy...for now.
And now, because I have been Seriously dwelling on the negative lately, here are a few of my favorite recent Evan-isms:
**Evan came into Max's room right before bedtime. After talking to Max and me for a few minutes he stopped himself mid-sentence and said, "Wait, Mommy! I can't chat now! I'm missing out on reading time with Daddy!"
**At various times over the last few days, he'll stop what he's in the middle of and say, "Which reminds me! I need to _______." And then he'll go do whatever it is he was so suddenly reminded of.
**He's started calling Max his "darlin." Not like he's unintentionally dropping the G...but like he's intentionally fakin' a drawl.
**As we were walking back to the car after Parent-Teacher Conferences, I said, "Isn't it funny that Mommy and Daddy went to preschool today instead of you?" and he said, "Which reminds me! What can you tell me about your day?" just like I ask him when I pick him up from school.
I just love him.
I'll just consider Getting Through these last six months to be another notch on our Parenting Belt. This notch was bigger and louder and uglier than previous notches, and we'll certainly be able to use what we've learned about ourselves and about parenting, but we're movin' on. Darlin'.