To Chew On

Ingrid finally went to sleep without me in the room last night. We went upstairs together and she cried a little bit in her room while I brushed my teeth. By the time I was ready to get in bed, she was asleep. It was 10 o’clock.

I can rant alot about this on a small, immature, micro level: I need a break in the day! I can’t stand to sit there waiting for her to fall asleep! The sheer demand on my time and energy is significant.

But the thing that really stresses me out about it is the weirdness. One night she goes to bed just fine as usual; the next night (and the night after) she’s terrified about something a) unlikely and b) harmless, and inconsolable about it to a degree that makes me really alarmed about what’s going on in her head. I don’t understand. Am I doing something wrong that’s driven her to this? What have I done? Is this normal? Is she losing her mind? Not understanding makes me feel so helpless, and I feel doubly helpless being alone with it. With A away, I’m the only one around who knows Ingrid as well as I do. Friends can commiserate but no one can really help me get perspective on what’s happening, not like A could.

There’s been other stuff during the day, too. Things she’d usually be able to deal with (e.g. shoes) that she completely melts down about. It’s frighteningly similar to last winter’s shitstorm of horrendous helpless clinginess. I am in a far better mental state now than a year ago, but the last couple of days of shenanigans have worn me down and I have not always been kind. I’ve yelled, and not with nice words.

I miss the summer so much I could cry.

Her ears are still pretty plugged up, and I am close to blaming it all on that and very close to going ahead with getting ear tubes. Which could be an awful can of worms all its own. But if fluid-filled ears is what’s causing all this wretchedness, I’m ready to give it a shot. It seems possible: She can’t hear well; we both get frustrated; she feels fragile and strange and doesn’t quite know how to express it; and we get into an awful spiral of clinginess, meanness, and exhaustion that eventually just keeps itself going even between colds.

Also, I’m considering taking my therapist up on her repeated offer of a low-dose antidepressant. Honestly. I’m not sluggish, sad, or hopeless, but the past week I have felt like punching things / people, and there is no way I’m going through another winter channeling a rabid mama wolverine. Something has got to change.

.

The thing she made to chew on was exactly as weird as it sounded. According to the teacher, several kids in the class are having trouble “organizing their bodies”, and apparently one thing that can help is … chewing on something. Not wanting to single anyone out, I guess, they had all the kids use surgical tubing and brightly colored yarn to make things that look to me a lot like doggie chew toys (yarn strung through a few inches of tubing, then tied up like a bracelet), and apparently they pass them out at story time and hope that it will help kids settle down. This seems deeply weird to me, and when I have time I will probably start worrying about what might be in that plastic tubing that shouldn’t be chewed on (not to mention what sort of behavior prompted this—I hadn’t noticed or heard about any real problems). But I have a lot of trust in these teachers, and for the moment I’m going to reserve my worrying energy for other problems.

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3 thoughts on “To Chew On

  1. I think it’s normal for this age. When my A went through her nighttime craziness, it just started out of nowhere. She had gone to sleep happily by herself for months and months, and then she had a bad dream and the next thing we knew, we were sleeping on her floor!

    I don’t have much advice, but I have a lot of sympathy. C never loses his temper with the kids and I really envy him that, because I do and I hate it. I hope things ease up for you soon.

  2. Did she go through weird sleep regressions earlier? My Pumpkin is only 19 months old, so the no doubt weird reasons behind her sleep issues remain a mystery to me. But just this week she started refusing to go to sleep for me. I can get her most of the way there, but she just will not fall asleep if I’m the one trying. I have to give up and go get Hubby every night I try, and then she’s asleep within minutes of being held by him. WTF??? Just a month ago, she screamed inconsolably if Hubby tried to get her down.

    I think kids are just weird, and kids’ sleep is the weirdest of the weird.

  3. I’m sorry you’re feeling down. Everybody needs a break. Things will certainly improve when it’s not just you doing everything. I have to sit on a stool beside my little girl’s bed to get her to sleep these days and I didn’t have to before. They always change things. The ear thing might be part of it, or the change of seasons, or daddy’s absence, or the weird kids at school with disorganized bodies, Does she nap? Maybe she doesn’t need naps now.

    As for you, a well-timed low-dose antidepressant was just the ticket for me at one point. Didn’t use it long. Especially with winter coming on where you are it doesn’t sound totally out of line to me.

    My kid is much littler, but when she is having some weird overemotional reaction I try to empathize really loudly, e.g. “You are frustrated! You want X! Mommy says no! Nora can have Y!” so maybe something more sophisticated than that? Or make it a game somehow? But you know yourselves better than I. It sounds like this is a bit of a weird cycle you two have fallen into. I’m sorry. You will get out. And everyone loses the temper sometimes.

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