Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Vicious Cycle

We have entered into a vicious cycle with Sophie. I don't see an end in sight. It goes a little something like this...

Sophie wakes up in the morning crabby because she didn't sleep well the night before in our bed....she is in our bed every evening these days. She spends most of the early morning frowning and sneering at anyone who tries to interact with her. She demands, complains, and cries. Finally, by mid-morning, she emerges from her funk, perks up, and seems to be ok. She spends the morning and early afternoon playing just fine with her brother. I get home from work about 1:15pm and the kids and I head to Lucas' school to pick him up. She is happy as a clam, smiling and making jokes when we get in the car. However, at some point on the way to or from Lucas' school, Sophie falls asleep in the car. When we get home, I wake her up and carry her in the house. That is when the screaming begins. Sophie has developed a new habit of screaming hysterically when woken from a deep sleep. I don't know where she learned this habit. It is completely new and seems to be increasing in intensity every day. It can go on for half an hour. She refuses to open her eyes. She sits with her eyes tightly closed and screams. It sounds exactly like a group of sea gulls fighting over a meal. It's kind of a high-pitched "Aaaawww! Aaaawww!" It's hard to spell the actual sound emerging from Sophie's lips, but just think sea gulls. And it happens right as we get home from school, when I am trying to talk to Lucas about his day, get coats put away, get after school snacks ready, get the kids settled in with some cartoons, etc. Lately, I've been plopping her in her bed and telling her she can't come out until she stops screaming. This doesn't really help, but it gives me the impression that I have some tiny ounce of control over the situation...which of course, I do not. Finally, after this goes on way longer than seems humanly possible, she stops and I am able to coax her into eating her afternoon snack and calming down. After that she plays a bit and somewhere around 4:00 every afternoon, she finds her way to the couch and falls asleep on the couch. I try to keep her awake, but there's only so much I can do. A sleepy kid will sleep. So after taking a long nap on the guessed it...she can't go to sleep at night. She begs me to lay with her, which I do. But she doesn't fall asleep...she lays there playing...acting silly. Eventually, I am exhausted and want to go to bed myself, so Sophie comes upstairs with me to my bed. She either falls asleep in my bed and spends the night tossing, turning, kicking, and slapping, OR she manages to somehow fall asleep in her own bed (miracle of miracles), but then later gets into my bed in the middle of the night and tosses, turns, kicks, and slaps. Either way, I can count on being slapped every night. She wakes up the following morning exhausted (as are her sleep-deprived parents!) and the whole diabolical dance starts all over again.

There has to be a cure for nocturnal children. I have yet to find it, but I am convinced it is out there. In the meantime, I am kicking around some ideas for short-term remedies:

1. Gin & Tonic--This accomplishes two things. Firstly, it tastes like summer and transports me out of this frozen wasteland to a place where there is sand and sun and least for a moment. Secondly, I think I would care a little less about being slapped every night if I were in a drunken stupor.

2. A Rubber Mallet--I have yet to decide if I would use this on Sophie or myself. Either way, the screaming would least until the hittee regains consciousness.

3. Crack--As a general rule, I disapprove of illicit drugs. However, in this circumstance, I believe that a crack pipe is warranted.

4. Garlic--Garlic is supposed to ward off vampires. Perhaps it works with other creatures of the night, as well? I could make myself a necklace of garlic to wear to bed with me. Hmmm...I may have to run that one by Ruanita first.

5. Ambien--My only concern with taking sleeping pills is that I am afraid I may do strange things in the middle of the night. You hear stories, you know. I am afraid I would wake up and find myself standing in front of the fridge gnawing on a raw steak. Eeewww.

6. Hiring Sophie an Escort--By "escort", I do not mean a tall, dark, tanned gigolo. Rather, I am thinking I should be able to hire a person to simply sleep with Sophie in my place. Rather than momma getting slapped all night, I could pay a stranger to absorb Sophie's sleep-induced aggression. Of course, Sophie may not appreciate a stranger in her bed...especially since she does not like people, as a general rule. However, I think it may be worth a try. You think?

Anyway...just some thoughts I am kicking around.....


E'beth said...

Didn't you recently put her in her own room? Would she do better in with the boys?

Shannon Ralph said...

We actually moved her into her own room last summer. She had been doing great going to bed in her own bed until this winter. Suddenly, a few months ago, she started getting in our bed and now it is an every night thing. Grrrr.

Chris Oelschlager said...

Hilarious! This is why I'm often grateful to be the "auntie" and not the "mommy". :)

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