Thursday, May 1, 2014

That pesky sleeping habit

For the past couple of nights, the baby has woken up wailing at about 3:30 a.m. Both times, simple soothing did not do the trick, and eventually we resorted to a dose of ibuprofen to hasten his return to a restful state which would allow us to lay him back in his crib. The reason this was eventual and not the immediate plan of first resort is because we have a general parenting philosophy of not over-medicating our kids, if we can help it. We were doling out the Tylenol and Motrin pretty regularly a week ago, around the time right before the baby got his professionally sanctioned ear infection diagnosis. So after several consecutive days of that we were trying to ease off a bit. Apparently the baby had a differing opinion.

He's also teething, getting his molars in (all at once, it seems, much like other dental eruption pile-ups we've endured with him; of all our kids, his teething has been the most grueling for everyone) and that of course is a bit of a chicken/egg situation in itself: does the ear infection make the teething hurt more, and/or vice versa? Did the teething, and attendant accumulation of bodily fluids, create the perfect pre-moistened environment for an ear infection to develop? &c. So clearly it's not the baby's fault if a sudden sharp pain wakes him up in the dead of night, or that he can't get himself back to sleep until it's abated. But man, not having anyone to blame to does not really make me or my wife any less grumpy about it.

I love my kids more than life itself, but they take it out of me, no lie. At three and five, the little girl and little guy present their own challenges. Thankfully, although there were times when it was all too easy to believe it would never be so, the bigger kids have become dependably through-the-night sleepers. And I know the baby will get there someday, too (someday when he's no longer by any measure a baby, presumably). But for right now the fact remains that the baby is reasonably mellow and sweet-tempered during the day, when his older siblings put his mother and me through the mental and emotional (and sometimes physical) wringer. After settling everyone down for the night, all my wife and I really want to do is go to bed ourselves. Sometimes we manage to both brush our teeth and get under the covers by 9 p.m. But then, some less-than-sufficient number of REM cycles in, the baby very disagreeably interrupts our attempts at sleep. Meanwhile both the little guy and the little girl (who shares a room with the baby!) manage to sleep through the vast majority of these outbursts, and wake up each morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to challenge us at every turn. I have no idea how the three of them managed to coordinate such a sophisticated assault on the parental authority, but it is damnably clever.

TL;DR: Kids are hard, and I'm too tired to be terribly clever or witty today. See you all tomorrow.

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