Monday, April 21, 2008

Tomorrow, Tomorrow

I'm going to be playing around with my template for the next couple of days - yes, Orange, I've heard you and I'm seriously considering getting rid of the white type on black. I like it; it doesn't bother my eyes, but why would I want to make it harder for anyone else to read my words? - so please bear with me if things get wonky and links disappear temporarily. I'm also finally planning to change some things about this 4-year-old template that have been bothering me for a long time.

Today was a difficult day. Ada was very clingy and needy. She has quite a shriek when she's angry, and it makes her very angry to hear the suggestion of any sort of limit. Like, Ada, sit down on your bottom. No running on the couch. That sort of thing.

When one child is especially needy, I know that I lack patience for the other one. And, unfortunately, just being aware of the problem doesn't fix it.

Ellie had 4 accidents today. Four. (She had one understandable accident yesterday, and none for a couple of weeks before that. And these weren't near misses. Her pillow, for instance, was one unlucky target.) She was also not at her most pleasant and agreeable. At one point near the end of the day, all three of us were running around the house screaming. I'm sure this was a real treat for our neighbors, since I had the windows open.

And the day started out so lovely, too . . . all were happy, all was well . . .

How do I function on so little sleep? I don't, really, not when things are already running rough. I get by when things are smooth. But I have fewer emotional reserves when I'm exhausted, and the kids recognize that, and know that they're getting less, so they demand more, which exacerbates the situation, and so forth and so on.

Paul came home a little after 7:00 tonight; he was donating at the Red Cross Blood Drive at our church today. He immediately gave the girls their baths and got them ready for bed. Ada would have none other, so I went in to nurse her down to sleep while Paul practiced reading with Ellie then took her to bed. She, probably still feeling off from our horrible day and looking for more reassurance, wouldn't sleep. At one point, I heard Ellie crying after Paul snapped at her.

Later, Paul and I both curled up in bed with Ellie, one of us on either side of her, holding her and telling her how much we love her, trying to figure out what went so wrong today, what made the day such a mess, why she was being so contrary and having so many accidents. Was she in pain somewhere? Did she have an infection of some kind?

"Ellie, are you OK?" I asked her, because she didn't look OK. This is a child who will tell me, "Ah'm O.K." through her tears as she has a dislocated elbow; she's very tough.

"Not OK," she said.


"Sad," she said.


No writing tonight; I'm off to bed.


Orange said...


I don't know if this might address the sleep problems in your household, but I can't recommend this book highly enough: Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's Sleepless in America. Full of guidance for understanding your kid's sleep needs and cycle, tips for adjusting sleep schedules to optimize your kid (only she doesn't phrase it so ineptly), and empathy for the parent, who absolutely needs enough sleep to function, to remain calm and cool, to be able to have the reserves to cope when the kid's having a bad day.

I think I recommended this book to you before, maybe. There are sections on adjusting to daylight saving time and jet lag, too.

Once my son started sleeping through the night so I could get enough sleep myself, I realized that the up-side of not being able to have another baby was that I would never again have to go through that sort of sleep deprivation.

Beverly said...

For what it's worth, I, too, would prefer the blog not be white type on a black background.

Beverly said...

I also thought of you because of this "Down syndrome news." Governor of Alaska has baby.

Beach/Vic said...

I'm off to look for the book Orange has recommended. my 2-and-a-bit year old is still waking many times a night and I am so used to night wakings that when she does occasionally sleep through, I wake up 2-3 times anyway. VERY annoying.

Regarding your rough day, my hugs to you and the girls. Rough days happen and all you can do is slog through. That "sad" at the end made my heart ache, too.

Gah. It's so hard being a parent. You know you're doing things that aren't really the best - like losing your temper, snapping or kind of tuning the wee one out a bit. It's because you're tired and human and need a minute to pull it all together and keep going. But no matter how much your brain knows this, your guilty heart still messes you up.

Tracey said...

Oh am I in the same boat with sleeplessness. I find that even one or two nights of less than normal (which is never anywhere near 8 hours) has me a frazzled snapping mess. I've been amazed at how little sleep you're reporting having and wondering how in the world you are managing. The candle seems burned down at both ends. :(

I hate when I have days when it feels like I am doing nothing but yelling, but I've been there and done that more often than I would like to admit.

Make sure you make time to take care of YOU and you and Paul as a couple.