Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What a week, so far...

This week is called: "No sleep, zombification."

Four hours on Sunday night. Five hours on Monday night. Five hours on Tuesday night. And, one exhausted Musical Daddy who spent the day snapping at his students for being children.

This is just stupid.

I think we're over the hump, though. It's a difficult hurdle to climb: how do we balance The Boy's need for extra comfort during his time of need (he's REALLY beginning to sense that Something's Wrong), with the "normal" developmental stage of not feeding at night and sleeping in his own room / own crib?

On Monday night, I finally got ticked off enough at having to get up every hour that, at 1:45AM, I just picked him up and brought him to bed with us. Then, his nursing could be done like it usually has been done at night - with nobody waking up enough to make a fuss, particularly me.

I'm still vaguely haunted by the idea that it's "wrong" to have The Boy nursing every hour or so, and that it's "wrong" to have him still sleeping with us at 10.5 months. The thing is, I just don't see an alternative!

When we put him down in his crib in his room, it's not too hot or too cold. There's no air being blown on him by a fan or a vent. There's no extraneous noise that doesn't exist elsewhere in the house. There's a nightlight, and the door is cracked so that the hall light comes in the room (as well as normal household noises, which I've been told is good for them to hear). When he fusses, we hug him, sing him soft songs, and either rock him to sleep in our arms or sit by him (holding a hand or just sitting, whichever he wants). Then, he's down in his crib and asleep, and we leave the room.

Five minutes - or five steps - later, he's awake and SCREAMING, and we start the whole 15 minute procedure over again. Every third time, he "needs" to be nursed.

The chemo's side effects include fatigue (!), jaw pain and nausea, among others. There's nothing in there that should cause such a dramatic reduction and regression in his sleeping patterns. The jaw pain, if he's suffering from that, should cause a reduction in appetite, and he's eating more now than he ever has.

Maybe the fact that our schedules are reversed - The Wife is home with him during the day, and I'm home with him at night - is screwing him up. I mean, we went from her school year to the hospital to the new schedule, so I guess it is entirely possible that he's screwed up from that. He's not used to spending the day with Mommy and the afternoon / evening with Daddy.

Most likely, it's a combination of "all of the above." It's just so DARN frustrating! It's seriously affecting my teaching and my abilities to interact with the people around me. My patience is shot, my energy level is non-existent and my motivation is nil.

Good thing he's so darn cute... that smile of his could melt an iceberg in the arctic, it's so warm and fun and friendly.


the mol said...

The more I hear about it, the more I've decided that no, nursing more often is not "wrong" for The Boy, and what we're doing in terms of starting him in his crib and then bringing him in with us is the right thing for this situation. Nursing more often is a sign that something isn't right--that "something" is all those chemicals in his system. The only way to stop it is for the treatments to be over.

Janet said...

I'm a co-sleeping parent. My 15-month-old son still sleeps in bed with my husband and I. We started co-sleeping when he was about 8 months, and after a few months of struggling with thinking we were cheating somehow, we've decided that if it works for our family and lets us all get the most sleep possible, then how can it be wrong?

To my mind, your psychological well-being (and your son's) trumps any notion of "independence", since he's still a baby, not even a year old, and especially given his health situation. And by the way, the idea that a baby "should" sleep alone in a crib is a purely Western one; in many cultures co-sleeping is a normal way of life. Personally, I think it's a bit much to expect of a tiny baby to be comfortable sleeping in the dark all alone... I don't like sleeping alone, either :)

Musical Daddy said...

That's what I kind of figured, Janet. Our doctor / nurse told us that it is normal for babies to "regress" a little bit after a catastrophic / traumatic event, and a 2-pound tumor certainly qualifies. It's no wonder he doesn't want to sleep by himself, because he was JUST getting used to it when he went into the hospital.

And, it is nice to have a teeny li'l snuggle guy...

jo said...

I agree breastfeeding more often and seeking the comfort of his parents is definitely right for the situation for your son and his treatment regime. What an upheaval for a tiny body and soul.

Regardless of his health and treatment co-sleeping and breastfeeding are not developmentally inappropriate. The wish for babies to do less (of either) are simply preferences imposed by adults on children and bear no relationship to 'real' developmental milestones like sitting, crawling, walking, developing speech etc. That being said, there's no thing 'bad' about wishing a child to be more independent in some of their habits over time - particularly where those habits wear out the parents!

But especially for now, the little fellow needs an extra soft place to fall. With time you will look back on this period of your life as such a brief one, and these precious modes of comfort as some of the most valuable you can offer a tiny boy suffering the side effects and mysteries (to him) of his treatments.

Musical Daddy said...

Wow, Jo, you've just blown me away... that's some of the wisest words that I've heard about this situation! Thank you! You're absolutely right - THE most important thing is giving him comfort and succor, and to heck with the rest of it.