It’s 4:00am…do you know where your toddler is? I am pretty sure that the entire neighborhood knows where mine is. I mean, what gives?! Ok, I recall the 13 months I spent getting up every 90 minutes, dealing with a colicky, refluxy little boy who was only comfortable sitting up over my shoulder. Yes, I am grateful that Jax now sleeps an average of 9 hours straight. But now it has been 19 months, and I am pretty sure that what I am dealing with is a conditioned waking problem.
Yes, as a trained behaviorist, I know what would “extinguish” this behavior. The problem is, Jackson literally won’t go back to sleep for a minimum of 4 hours, usually 5, once he has awakened like this. And, by “like this,” I am referring to the frantic hysterics that have been occurring in our house every day before 5:00am for the past month. As I have mentioned before, my hubby works nights and gets home at 3:00am. Allowing Jackson to scream hysterically for several hours does not allow anyone to get any more sleep around here.
So once again, I drag myself to his room. I signal him to “calm down” before I open the door. The screams die down and he waits. I stand there for a few minutes before I go in, milk sippy in hand. I slowly open the door to see Jax’s little cherub face peeking at me, smiling. But Hark! Is that urine I smell? Drat. I check Jackson’s diaper, but thankfully the diaper has held. But now, my little dynamo is wide awake, saying hi to me, and signing “milk”.
I offer the sippy, and it is rejected. “Let’s go turn on Sesame Street,” a little voice whispers. I am not sure who this voice belongs too, I started hallucinating ages ago, so I truly have no idea who speaks to me during the dark disquiet of our Rooster Club mornings.
Another voice, more forcefully proclaims, “No! We can’t teach the baby that whenever he wakes up, he gets to watch tv! We will sit in this dark room, and try to get him to sleep, no matter how long it takes!” Ugh, not that voice again.
So, we sit in the rocking chair in the dark for 45 minutes. We rock, we shush. Jax yawns. He rubs his eyes. His eyes close, and for one blissful moment, I think I have actually succeeded! I picture myself lying back in bed…no such luck. Jax starts poking me. The dog next door barks, and it’s all over.
The voice insists. “Try putting him in bed with you…” This has never ever worked. I had planned on co-sleeping, but I hadn’t planned on a tiny preemie who resisted lying down. But I am so so tired today. We creep into my bed and the minute we lie down, Jax starts protesting. I close my eyes, wondering how my husband is sleeping through all the noise. (He was off last night, but clearly 13 hour of sleep is not enough for him).
Annoyed, I tell Jax that it is still sleepy time. I deposit him back in his crib with his milk, and stumble back to my room. He stands there in startled dismay for approximately 10 seconds. And then the screams begin.
Amazingly, my husband wakes up. He takes Jax for 10 whole minutes before I get up to point out that the baby is fussy because he wants to eat. We make breakfast. I eat, something that does not occur most mornings until the baby goes down for a nap. The dog starts complaining. He needs to poop. Hell, so do I but I can only go at designated Jackson-free times! It turns out that most of us need to poop, and some of us wear diapers. (Mental image of myself wearing a diaper comes to mind. I am actually liking the idea. Then, when I finally get to rest, I can pee without getting up.).
From his reclined position on the couch, my husband starts commenting loudly, “uh oh! Someone pooped and it wasn’t me! Gross! It stinks in here! If I try to change that, I’ll throw up!”
I do not respond. Seriously?! A little poop brings the longshoreman low? Whatever. After three or four repetitions of these comments, I grab Jax, change him, and get him dressed. (Really? It wasn’t even a loose poop! In fact, Jax ate like 6 tangerines yesterday. It is probably mother’s love, but I think his poop smells like orange blossoms). We head out to walk the dogs, while Mighty Hubby, who lasted about 40 minutes, heads back to bed citing that he “must have a fever or something”.
Well, it’s 7:45am now. We have walked the dogs. I have now collected and disposed of the crap of two dogs, and my son. We have eaten, emptied the dishawasher, and started a load of laundry. I have made it as long as I can. Yes, I am a drug addict and my drug of choice in the morning is caffeine. I am now going to spike my blood sugar and adrenaline with some nice hot coffee. Sweet dreams, dear hubby, sweet dreams…(Insert here: Mental image of a pillow accidentally finding its way over his nose and mouth…. ).