Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Zombie Parents

JoyDad and I are going to be zombies again today.

No, we aren't seeking braaaaaains. (Well, OK, maybe we need those too.)

Our desperate zombie-moan sounds more like "SLEEEEEEEEEP!"

I referred to sleep-deprivation playing a role in the run-up to Women's Retreat this past weekend.

Here's the deal. Over the past couple of weeks, Joy has been fighting going to sleep. The way she does it is through stimming, both physically and vocally. Loud vocals. Hoots and yelps and giggles. Did I mention LOUD?

It started with just naptime, which is not that surprising because lots of 4-year-olds are ready to give up naps. But then it transferred to bedtime in the evening too, and also to wake-ups in the wee small hours. She can keep it up for hours on end. And when she's doing that loud vocal stimmy stuff, her parents don't sleep.

We have been able to manage the bedtimes using melatonin. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to affect the 2:30 or 3:00 am wakings. We just asked her doctor for the OK to bump up the dose Monday night, and she did sleep through Monday night. Last night, though, she started up at 3:30am. Of course we'd been up to see the election returns and the acceptance speech... I got up, gave her some Benadryl, rocked her till 4am, then put her back in the crib still awake. I think she might have dozed a bit, but then started in again.

Therefore, JoyDad and I have basically been up since 3:30am. Again. With headaches, and fighting our colds.

At least Rose sleeps through it all, though I have no idea how, because they share a room!

My hunch is that this will eventually be like the whole biting thing, and the dimmer switch will eventually slide back the other direction.

Till then, though, this is taking a pretty big toll.

Ideas welcome! Thank you in advance for any input...

And in regards to the events that kept us up watching the TV, I'd like to close with a line from a pre-election prayer that came around by e-mail, from the Mennonite Church USA Peace and Justice Support Network.

We pray that all candidates, both those who are elected and those who are not, will seek Your justice and Your peace in the world.



JoyDad said...


Niksmom said...

Ugh, I feel your pain/exhaustion! BTDT...As I recall, we ended up having to deprive Nik of any afternoon nap/quiet time in order to insure he was sufficiently tired to sleep through the night.

Our ped cautioned us against using benadryl b/c it often REVS UP young kids in the longer run. Knocks 'em out initially but then they wake up boingy.

My suggestion is this:
1. Increase melatonin
2. Eliminate nap/quiet in afternoon
3. Make sure she gets some "heavy" activity (pushing things around, climbing, etc. late in the day to help regulate her a bit more.
4. Push bedtime a tad later if you need to (might not need to if you try the other 3).

Another thought is to look at the timing of her meds relative to her periods of wakefulness. When Nik as still on sz meds, we found we had to adjust the timing of meds so he wouldn't get a big energy surge in the middle of the night. Lots of adults who take the same meds toldme they would get energy rushes in the middle of the night, too.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

We've been through this phase many a time. I feel your pain! Good suggestions from niksmom. I would definitley eliminate the midday nap. I would also try a weighted blanket at night if you have not already. Good night!

Casdok said...

Excellent suggestions above.
A difficult one that we still struggle with.

Jenn said...

Ok we are having the same issues. So I contacted Devin's school. He told us to try scheduled wakings. He said they did a study and it works but takes a while. We just go this info yesterday so I haven't tried it yet as I am considering my options. He did say to eliminate his naps. I'd love to know how to do that as when he is tired he drops like someone shot him with a tranquilizer dart.

Good Luck! I'll give a little wave out the window to you when I am up with him at 3 am!

JoyMama said...

Thanks all for the support & suggestions -- each of us ended up taking a sick day this week, and Joy slept better these last 2 nights, so that has all helped.

Niksmom - Benadryl has helped in the past, but we've been wondering lately if there's a boomerang. The nap issue is interesting -- she's now napping most days at daycare (with a borrowed weighted blanket) but not at home, and the nights after the naps actually seem to be BETTER. ?!?? Go figure... we need to keep better track though. She slept well today, we'll see about tonite. Re seizure meds, her ped did mention that there might be a side-effect issue. We're cautious about any changes for 2 reasons -- one is that we're coming up on 2 months without knock-down seizures (touch wood!) The other is that I'm not sure it's a wakefulness problem so much as a "what happens once awake" problem.

Rhemashope - we definitely need to try a weighted blanket at night, must acquire one first though!

Casdok & Jenn - thanks for the solidarity. Wow, timed wakings -- would be interested to hear if that is helpful. I hope nobody's up at 3 tonight to wave, but I'll think of you if so...

Niksmom said...

Just following up w/a suggestion (which you may have already done). Ask daycare provider if you could borrow the weighted blanket for a week. Take it back and forth w/Joy. See if it helps her sleep any better at night.

Also, ask daycare what activities she is doing within the hour before nap. Might glean some clue about whether a certain type of activity is inducing her to sleep better there?