Growth Spurt Bullshit

Z will probably freak when he sees that I’ve written this down because it will anger the gods who will surely rain fire and brimstone down upon our humble abode. C has slept through the night for the last three nights. We have no idea what changed, but we will fucking take it. Particularly because T isn’t sleeping so well these days.

All the parenting books say that when kids regress a bit or start to act out a lot they are going through a growth spirt or developmental leap. After T’s current spirt or leap or whatever he better fucking be ready to take college level courses. Kid has been potty trained for a year and he’s been having accidents right and left. He’s also decided that a fantastic wake up time is somewhere in the 4 or 5 o’clock hour. Strangely enough neither Z nor I are cool with either development.

Would you guys like to judge me and feel all superior and really good about your parenting skills? No problem! T is addicted to TV. It is all he wants to do. He begs for it, he cries for it, he refuses to play. And we cave. A lot. We tell ourselves that it will be better when he can go outside. Syracuse really does blow in the winter when it comes to easily entertaining kids. And right now Z is crazy busy with work stuff, I have been dealing with a sick toddler (fingers crossed-he’s well right now), homework and class, trying to get  dinner on the table every night, and a pesky anxiety disorder.

So we use the TV to our advantage.

I am probably going to hell for this, but I had no patience for the pee accidents even if they were a developmentally normal event. I told him if he peed himself he’d lose TV for the whole next day. Worked like a motherfucking charm. He has had two accidents since then, rather than multiple accidents a day.

The night thing has been tricker. He’s scared of night time. And jesus, it kills me. Because at his age I was also scared. Hell, I’ve been scared of nighttime for almost my whole life. Z is going to be away for four nights next week and I’m already sweating it. So I want to help T, but he also needs to go to sleep and Z and I have stuff (work in the shop for Z, homework for me) that we actually have to do after T goes down. He’s been crying in the middle of the night and he’s been up super early. We take turns comforting him in the middle of the night, but fuck getting up at 4:30am. So I came up with the bright idea to let him veg in front of the TV while we slept an extra hour and a half. Thank you for existing Nick Jr! And seriously friends, go ahead an judge me for my shitty parenting again. I deserve it.

I was explaining this new early morning TV thing we’d been doing to my shrink, all proud of myself for coming up with a solution. I also told her that his teachers can’t wake him from his nap at school, so the rest of the kids do a cool activity and he just sleeps through it. The teachers and I are worried about it and have been brainstorming ideas on how to get him up. Especially because he gave up his nap last summer.

And here is why therapy is awesome, folks. My lady has a degree in social work. She is also a physiatric nurse practitioner. She is certified to perform talk therapy and to write scripts for meds. It’s a fantastic body of knowledge. She said she agreed his behavior was a major problem. “He is having his REM sleep during naptime and he is napping during the night.” It seemed so obvious when she said it. She kindly told me she understood why we (ok I-Z was totally not crazy about my plan) were letting him watch TV in the wee small hours, but she said we were rewarding him for getting up. “Let him be up in his room. Give him crayons and paper or books or toys, but make him stay in his room until 6. He’ll get bored and go to sleep. And stop the napping at school.” Again, it seemed so obvious.

So every night we talk to him about what is going to happen. We tell him if he comes into our room before his clock says 6:00 that he will lose TV for the whole day. From 4:30 to 6 little man has been curled up on the rug in front of the heating vent in our bathroom. He’s been cuddled up in the hall, he’s been in and out of his bedroom. But he has only lost TV one time, and he isn’t napping at school.

I might be squashed like a bug by those angry gods for saying it, but things are getting on track at night time in this house. I think we are close to sleeping through the night. And by we I mean Z and me.   We don’t really give a crap about the kid’s sleep at this point. Our sleep deficits are too great to care about others.

star wars operation

Playing Star Wars Operation with Daddy. T just likes hearing the noises R2D2 makes when he hits the sides with the tweezers.

tenor guitar

One of the projects Z has been franticly trying to complete is this tenor guitar. He finished it last night. It’s made from the leg of an antique piano that might have been in the Lincoln White House (anecdotal info backs it up, but there is no documentation). He’ll be playing it in a performance with a Modern Dance company in DC next week. And the picture doesn’t do it justice, it really is beautiful. Sounds good, too.


4 thoughts on “Growth Spurt Bullshit

  1. Okay, with the judginess, whatever. Max LOVES his screen time. My husband had an iTouch. Max has loved the thing since he was 2. We slept in a hotel once and I got up to go to the bathroom, only to find Max playing with the thing at 5:00 am. Every weekend morning around 6:00, the boy comes in, “Mommy, can I go watch Wii? (Netflix).” Yep. Sure. Go ahead. JUST LET ME SLEEP. I remember getting up when it was still dark out and watching Muppet Babies or what have you. I like TV, so why shouldn’t my kid?

    I’m trying to limit the screen time, but they still get a healthy (??) helping of it. (TV, iTouch, LeapPad.) We took them away for a punishment a few weeks ago and said, “Play with something that has no screen.” Max cried, “But, what do I do???”

    And after a couple days of 3ish hours of sleep (Max has been sick and I still have to get work done, so I work when they are asleep, which meant 9:00p to 3:00a the other night.)
    (After sleep dep, I thought this was a complete sentence.)

    You rock as a mom. Please don’t think any different. We need sleep.
    (My mom tells about painting a face on her toe so my brother would go talk to her toe instead of waking her up.)

  2. No judging from me. We coslept, and the only way to get Princess Fartypants out of our bedroom at age 4 after she nightweaned was to let her fall asleep in front of the TV. Then she slept in the living room for a year, because she’d wake if we tried to move her. We broke down after a year and a half and put a TV in her bedroom. Now she’s 9 and we’re trying to wean her from the TV at bedtime, per psych instructions. Of course, Snort, at almost 2, is NOT nightweaned and wakes and cries if I try and get up before he’s good and ready.

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