On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 5 and sleep

Radish blossoms

Well, we've gotten through days four and five with better success on my part than before. I've come to the realization that success is the fact that I'm trying and not necessarily that I've been 100% successful in achieving all the goals spot on. Can I get an "amen?"

Hugging - used as a discipline today. They were all being incorrigible, particularly while I was on the phone so I told them in a stern voice that they would be making it up to me and I would let them know how. Well, after I thought about it, what I really needed was a hug. So they were all asked to hug me. A lot.

10 minutes of touching time has been putting hair up in scrunchies (the girls both currently have short cuts) and back rubbing. While shopping, I've made Sissy hold my hand, my arm, something that was attached to ME. And doing what THEY wanted, swimming. In the wonky, lopsided backyard pool in water that froze our *bleeps* off.

And what has been the result?

Well, the rest of you have alluded to it and Sissy has been quite pleased to follow suit. She is a sprightly, blooming RADish at the moment, sent to bed early because she was blooming so loudly, obnoxiously and annoyingly. I just LOVE those kids of RADish blossoms, don't you?

But that brings me to the cruxt of my post:
to sleep perchance to dream.

Sissy, has insisted she is waking and not sleeping and blah, blah, blah. We've tried meds, we've tried self-soothing techniques, we've tried white noise and natural sounds music, we've tried reading, relaxation, we've even tried shortening her sleeping time to see if perhaps she was getting too MUCH sleep and waking early.

Guess what? She still complains that she can't sleep, is waking, isn't clear about WHEN she wakes or how LONG she stays awake, goes blank when you drill her on whether or not she uses the self-soothing techniques the IFI team has been teaching, etc. And all this discussion IN FRONT of the therapist today. Right. You know where this is headed.

So therapist suggests I GET UP WITH SISSY EVERY TIME SHE WAKES so i can help coach her through it, using her self-soothing techniques.

I say, "um, I need to be FUNCTIONAL the next day. i can't wake up every time she claims she's waking up. That won't work." (I was also thinking, right, and condition her to wake ME up? no way Jose.)

Therapist says, "I understand your concerns, mom, but I don't think Sissy can learn all this on her own."

*blink blink*

She paused and said, "well, let me think some more, I'll get back to you."

So I said, "I COULD put a baby monitor in there in the event Sissy REALLY needs me."

Sissy started squirming and fidgeting in her seat, face all scrunched up in anger.

BINGO! We have a winner! Because we all know that if the RADish is not happy, we've found the best solution.

Therapist left the house and I called IRL friend with a blooming RADish. She's doing the challenge too and had some tales to tell anyway. She agrees with me. Getting up with a RADish in the middle of the night, EVERY TIME she claims she wakes up? Uh. No. Putting in the baby monitor? Gold. She also suggested I give Sissy her meds earlier in the evening. Said Sissy when she was told there would no be a monitor in her room, "I don't want that!"

"And why not?"

"Because it has the word 'baby' in it!"

"Not because then we'll know what's happening at night?"


Right Sissy, go ahead and play dumb. Good thing Mom and Dad aren't.

Aspie Boy is a chronic insomniac. Wakes many times a night despite the meds BUT, AB is NOT a radish. He knows to go back to sleep or lie in his bed, resting. Since he was six months old, AB has never slept longer than 6 hours at a time, which is also when he quit taking naps. Every now and then AB will crash midday and we'll all stand amazed at his bedside and say, "wow! He must not be feeling well!"

Sissy has also had trouble sleeping. But the kick in the pants is that she lays in bed fretting, frowning, worrying and charging her brain with every anxious thought about death, dying, horrors, mutilation, blood and gore that she can imagine. Not night terrors anymore, more like anxiety daydreaming terrors. She simply can't turn off her brain. And neither can she be given permission to read quietly or play quietly until she goes back to sleep like AB does. *snort* imagine a RAD doing such a thing. NOT.

While at RTC, Sissy complained to me all the time about her insomnia. I'd tell her to tell the staff and she would always conveniently forget. Here's why. At RTC, there were video cameras in every room, locked doors with alarms, 24/7 staff wide-awake, sitting 10 feet from the closed doors, armed with chemical and physical restraints. Sissy had no choice. If she woke up, she HAD to lie in bed and go back to sleep or face the music. Not so at home.

Want to know what I think? Bet you can already guess. Sissy's sleeping just fine through the night. Maybe she occasionally wakes and frets and panics but mostly, not. I think she just likes having something to make me worry about. Guess what? I'm suddenly not worried anymore. And equipped with a baby monitor, I'll have proof. I know what you're thinking. Sissy will try to wake me on purpose through the baby monitor. I've already thought of that. I'm going to consequence the *bleep* out of that and I'll tell her straight up BEFORE she gets the chance.

Of course, I know mental health issues come with the caveat of sleep issues and I'm fully prepared to concede that we've maxxed out the medical options to treat it. I'm not, however, going to let it become fertilizer for a blooming RADish. When I talk to the therapist again next time, I'm going to tell her our current plan of dosing meds at supper instead of bedtime and adding a baby monitor. Sure wouldn't want them to think I was non-compliant with their ideas of how I should parent my RADish. Seriously? Get up every night at 3 am to help a 10 year old go back to sleep? Even as infants I didn't do a whole lot of touching and cuddling because I wanted the children to learn to self-soothe. I'm certainly not about to start doing that for a preteen

So, what have the rest of you done about the foibles of the sleepless?


GB's Mom said...

Sounds like you have it all worked out. And I couldn't help noticing your picture- that RADish sure puts up nice blooms :)

Christine said...

Don't ever, ever, ever get down on yourself. That person suggested, out loud, that you should get up with her to help her sleep ... and you did not PUNCH HER SMACK IN THE FACE!

You have restraint beyond anyone I have ever met.

That is crazy. Let's just HAND the kid another manipulation tactic on a silver platter. Yeah. THAT will help her heal.

Baby monitor - genius.

FosterAbba said...

Although your child's sleep is important, YOUR sleep is even more important. If you are tired, cranky, irritable and non-functioning, you can't be a good parent to your child. If your kid is tired, cranky, irritable, and non-functioning, she'll probably be more difficult to parent, but if you are well-rested, at least you will be in control.

Cyndi said...

We have stripped the room of almost everything except what is needed for sleeping and put an alarm on the door. The kid is up all the time but as long as she is in her room being quiet so everyone can sleep I do not care. She takes enough medication to zonk me for a week every night and still does not sleep much.

Happymom4 aka Hope Anne said...

Baby monitor all the way. Getting up? NO WAY! We learned in the first 2 weeks with our little missy that if you give her an inch she would take a mile. She escalated going to the toliet during meal times from once a meal to as many as 10 or more times PER MEAL. And Mommy HAD to go every single time with her and stay there the whole entire event, clear down to slowly washing and drying hands. It started innoncently because we were in country and she couldn't go to the toliet alone, but boy, did she every milk it! Some meals I couldn't even eat--as soon as I would get a bit on my fork, she would yell she had to "go" again. It was all a game with her. After we were home for about 10 days and we knew she knew her way to the bathroom and in the bathroom, we finally stopped it by my utter refusal to go to the toliet with her even once. It was amazing how fast her urgent need to toliet during meal times went back down to once a meal, and then soon that ended too.

marythemom said...

My Hubby won't let me alarm my son's door so he wanders the house when he wakes up (not sure if it's RAD, C-PTSD, or bipolar that keeps him awake). He usually raids the fridge/pantry. the doctor has tried every med imaginable and he has a sleep study on Thursday. I guess we'll see.

Hugs and prayers!

Mary in TX