Thursday, June 01, 2006


Sleep is one of those things that I can't do without. Apparently this is not something that my son and I hold in common. Yesterday marked the fourth day following the fourth night that little Oliver was awake for a wide swath of time. This happens periodically and I've grown almost used to having disrupted sleep. Anyway, if it isn't Oliver, it's Sam. But on the fourth night I was really feeling as though things got out of hand. Oliver was slow to fall asleep even after we had taken special effort to wear him out with lots of physical activity throughout the day. Finally, around 10pm the sounds coming from his darkened room quieted and finally stopped and I breathed a sigh of relief, sure that he would sleep through. I was surprised then when he later climbed into my bed and I looked over at the clock to see that it was only 12:30. And my surprise grew to chagrin which turned into anger and despair when the hours gradually took us closer to dawn. At 4:30 I woke Nik and asked him to please drive Oliver around, hoping that would lull him to sleep. Unfortunately by this hour I was so upset that I could not fall asleep even without my tossing, turning, and loudly vocal little guy next to me. I was in some kind of strange, between sleep and alert stage when Oliver, fully awake, climbed back into bed with me at 6:15. At 6:30 he finally drifted off to sleep.

I went to work and waited until 8:40, at which time I called his pediatrician's office and asked to speak to a nurse. After being on hold for a few minutes she came on the line and asked what the problem was. Unable to hold back, I started to sob into the phone. I need help I told her. I need for my son to sleep, I said. I need to sleep. So that set some things in motion. I took Oliver in for a quick check up and our pediatrician did some research, called some experts, and then recommended Melatonin. And benedryl for emergencies.

I feel like we are all coming off of a four-day bender. My head certainly feels like I've got some kind of hang-over. And I'm carrying around a bucket-full of remorse; my recovery is as much about the anger and despair as it is the lack of sleep.

In other news from our little green house:

Sammy is now saying "Mama" and has learned how to wrinkle up his nose, which he does when something he has just done -- like thowing a partly-mauled banana from his high chair half-way across the room -- pleases him immensely.

I have been invited to sit on the special education advisory panel for our city, which I happily accepted.

Lindsey, our much-loved in-home therapist, gives me a count-down every day for vacation. This morning it was: "Twelve more days until Switzerland!" She is ridiculously excited and it reminds me of how I felt the first time I went to Europe when I was her age. Actually, come to think of it: I am ridiculously excited even now. We haven't had a vacation in two years!!

When I woke up this morning and realized that I had slept completely through the night -- and so had Oliver!! -- I felt like celebrating and so I had a big bowl of ice cream for breakfast with my morning coffee.

So I guess that's all the news that wasn't, as they say, and I'll wish you, and me, and Oliver, a very good night of sleep and happy dreams for all of us.


  1. Oh, Christine, I have been there! We had a very similar situation last summer. I think the longer hours of sunlight made it almost impossible for Bud to wind down. Our pediatrician also recommended Melatonin, and it has been great for Bud. He still has the occassional sleepless night (or early morning - he was up at 4:45 today because of his excitement about the arrival of the tooth fairy), but for the most part he is well-rested when he greets the day. Glad to hear it had a similar effect on Oliver!

  2. I'm REALLY bad without sleep. REALLY bad. I was watching this totally ridiculous show over the weekend (I can't beleive I'm about to admit to this) where these 6 brides-to-be stand around in a circle day and night as long as they can with one hand on this super-expensive wedding gown. Slowly they all start to lose their minds, bawling and losing control til they fall off one by one and the last one standing wins the dress. It was wierd to watch them all lose it as sleep deprivation kicked in and while I've never been up for 48 hours for a wedding dress, I've been up for long stretches with sick or just-plain-wired kids and it ain't pretty.

    The Melatonin seems to be the magic pill. I'm considering it for India who has had trouble winding down lately. Once she's out, she sleeps like a rock but it takes her about 3 hours to wind down. I think her issue is the long summer hours as MOMNOS mentioned was the problem for Bud.

    Rest up!

  3. We JUST went through this about a month ago. Conor had been up like that for 2 days shy of 3 weeks. I couldn't take it anymore. The melatonin works like a charm. Conor is almost 4 and 2mg works wonders for him. It is a delight to see him yawn at bedtime! We give him the GNC brand 30 minutes before bedtime and they are cherry flavored. Conor chews them right up.

    I hope it works for you, too. I've been where you are. :-(

  4. Noah goes through these periods too. He is in that phase again now. The other night he was up wandering the house at 3AM looking for a drink. Then he went upstairs and started crying uncontrollably because he wanted someone to put in a movie for him. Even with both of those issues addressed, he still wouldn't settle down. Sometimes it seems as if the phase will never pass, but when it does, it seems like we forget all about it until it returns.

    Here's hoping you get some sleep soonest shug!

  5. I hope things get better and the Melatonin works. It is so hard to function on such little sleep. We have been through almost 3 years of sleepless nights with our Sam who is four. We have tried everything from melatonin, other natural remedies, lavender rubs, lavender sprayed sheets, music, message, joint compressions and help from OT. The problem for us has never been getting him to sleep, it too was his "waking period" which is usually from 2am-6am every night for ever. After many attemps at alternative and natural things, our doctor finally put us on Clonidine 3 months ago. It is a low blood pressure medicine, but it is one of the few with no side effects and has actually been tested on Autistic children Sams age (4 years). You have to go in regularly for blood pressure checks, but we have had no problems. It has been a miracle for our family. We ALL are doing better because of it. His ability to focus in school has increased 110% according to his teachers and he is actually interacting more, speaking more, starting to play more with toys at school, other than line them up. We have all been so pleased to see what a good nights sleep can do for him. I wish you best. Sleep is so crucial to healthy moms too!!!!!!

  6. wow, christine! how exciting to have slept through the night! that's a rare occurance in our house. hmmm. maybe we ought to try the melatonin. so so so glad it's working! and the vacation! how dreamy! i would be beside myself with excitement too.

  7. I tried to comment twice yesterday and they didn't take. Let's try again-

    I love the ice cream for breakfast treat- good for you!

    I have been blessed with a son who is a good sleeper. But when he had pneumonia last month I had 2 weeks of interrupted sleep and it pushed me to the edge. I wonder how we did it when they were infants?

    Wishing you many more restful nights...

  8. I have somewhat given in to a later bedtime, and also worked on making sure Charlie gets up early on the weekends too to stay on schedule------I just drink plenty of coffee.

    Happy Countdown to the big trip!

  9. Christine, I'm excited to continue learning more about you and hope you'll visit my blog soon.

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