Thursday, August 14, 2008

So Tired

One of the things that fills me with pride in my kid is her ability to tell me what she wants.

I kind of doubt she's got everything sussed out at 100%, given that she has a limited number of words, but with a little prompting she does okay.

So, for example, if I'm feeding her dinner, and she requires additional whatever, she can now say, cheese, fruit, milk, water, cracker, or pasta.

I'm not saying that's all we ever feed her, but those are the big staples.

She also knows how to ask for a cookie. Which is something she's VERY enthusiastic about, even after she has also let me know that she's "Done!"

Lately, however, we've been having some nighttime trouble.

As usual, I'm forced to concede that on the whole, our nightly issues aren't that bad. My mother, in particular, loves to remind me that my brother didn't sleep through the night until he was three years old.

But Mihret has mostly slept through the night, since about three days after we brought her home.

Things have changed, lately.

The problem is not that Mihret wakes up. The problem is that she wakes up and screams in a high piercing fashion that doesn't say "I'm sad," but rather, "I think something in my room is on fire!"

So we run to her room, and there she is, either standing up or lying on her tummy, screaming her little lungs out. And here's the strange bit:

If we try to put her on her back, and give her back her blanky, she screams and thrashes and makes every attempt to inform us that NO, THIS WILL NOT DO SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG.

But if we pick her up for, oh, say, ten seconds, she passes out in our arms, and allows herself to be lowered back to the mattress for sleepy-time.

What's bothering Kara and I is that we can't figure out the cause of the distress. For all intents and purposes, things seem to be par for the course in our kid's world.

The theories we've tossed around include:

1. Teeth. She's getting at least three, and maybe four of them right now. Previous teeth have come with no troubles, but these are the big bads. On the other hand, she has no problem making it through the day without Tylenol, so unless nighttime growth is just that much more awful, this probably isn't it.

Also, we've done nights with Tylenol, and nights without, and she seems to wake up either way.

2. She's cold. Our house is 85 years old, and like most beings that make it to that age, it has circulation troubles. (That's an awesome bit of writing right there. Please be impressed, readers!) Winter isn't awful, as most of our heat rises and we keep fairly warm.

But summer is a problem, because our A/C isn't all that well distributed upstairs. The baby's room is the first on the pipe, so it gets the most A/C. Then the bathroom (because who doesn't love an icy-cold bathroom?), then the office, then our bedroom.

So while Kara and I roast a little bit, the baby's room has actually caused me to shiver, even while ensconced in my fluffy, fluffy robe.

On a couple of nights, I've noticed that Mihret seems unusually chilly on he exposed skin, and popped her into wintertime jammies. Which seems to have fixed things. But, of course, some nights I haven't done that, and she has still fallen back into a restful slumber.

Also, according to some book or another, the "best" temperature to keep the house at for restful sleep is 68 degrees. So maybe she's too warm?

No idea.

3. Snot problems. This is kinda related to teeth, but maybe not, as I've seen other kids with runny noses at Mihret's day care. Which might have been caused by teeth. Or allergies. Or tiny angry pixies with a little dust to burn off, who have decided that in order to attract our attention, they're going to stuff the dust up the noses of toddlers, encouraging them to awaken, screaming.

Parenting isn't an exact science, ya know?

Anyway, it seems that having too much gunk in their nasal passages can cause children to have something called Night Terrors, which sounds like a great title for a Twilight Zone-style TV show, but in actuality mostly causes kids to wake up screaming.

I should point out that most of the loss of sleep in the household is on my end. I don't fault Kara or Mihret for this. I assume Mihret has a reason for screaming, and that it's a good one as far as her 18-month-old brain can figure.

But even if her screams persist for a full minute, and she falls asleep on my shoulder a minute later, she's out 5 minutes of sleep, tops.

Kara is the same way, because she has powerful sleeping abilities that I have to remind her to use only for good.

This sounds like a joke, but consider:
Kara has fallen asleep during a ten-minute drive across town.

She falls asleep every Sunday on the way back from church while Mihret sleeps in the back seat. (I should add that I do the driving, which, I think we'll all agree, is a Good Thing.)

Kara has sat up in bed when I'm getting dressed for work, asked me a question, gotten an answer, and then fallen asleep while I'm still getting dressed. You might claim this is impossible, but she starts to snore. No lie.

But then there's me, who, after getting up and doing whatever must be done to get the baby to do some of that lying-down-not-screaming thing I prefer at night, have to sit there, kinda-sorta awake, for as long as it takes me to stop grinding my teeth, waiting to hear what appear to be shrieks of pain, but are actually not, coming from the other room.

(The teeth-grinding thing is totally normal for newer parents, according to my doctor. Yes, he really told me that, and yes I really did ask.)

One could argue, I guess, that this is all just part of the process of being a parent, but I gotta say, I'm not jumping up and down about it.

I can't. I'm too tired.


1 comment:

tlhp259 said...

Have you considered night terrors? It is different from nightmares but has the same awakening affect. Instead of the child responding to you positively when you enter the room they usually ignor you and keep screaming or scream louder and become more physical due to your presence. There is no help for night terrors but they do pass with age. The only thing I could find to do was just what you are already doing sit with her while she continues to scream, talking to her in a calm soothing voice. One thing I have read is NOT to wake her up. If she is truely experiencing night terrors then waking her up can interupt her sleep patterns and scare her. I will see if John or I can find an article to send to you. I am sorry that you are "so tired." Hopefully this stage will pass quickly!