Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bedtime Disappointment

Well, here I am again.

Elena is acting out at bedtime again. I have no idea what set it off...we were doing so well over the summer. We spent the night at my parent's house one time, and E was TERRIBLE--screaming, shouting, just...awful.

Her outbursts have been sporadic since then, but seem to be approaching regularity. I am convinced it is not because of school (well, it's been happening through the summer too, anyway...whatever that means). She is seriously FINE throughout the day--happy, smiley, occasionally contrary (she's 6, after all) but when it comes to night time--as soon as she gets tucked in, she picks something to obsess about.

Is her blanket on right? (For the 5th time, YES)

Will I come and check her? (I DO THIS EVERY NIGHT, once she is asleep--I shut her door almost all the way, so she knows I've been there)

Does she have a tissue if she starts crying? (YES. I do remind her if she loses it, or needs another one, she's perfectly capable of going to the bathroom to get one herself if she thinks she needs one that badly.)

She will ask these questions in different (or same) ways at least 5 times. She KNOWS the answer, but will start screaming if we don't answer her. Then she'll say she "misses [fill in the blank]" (family, friends, a stuffed animal downstairs) or that she's "afraid of [fill in the blank]". She NEVER SAYS THESE THINGS until she is under the covers at bedtime. Then she's upset b/c she "can't fall asleep" or I "won't let her fall asleep", screaming about it for 20 minutes or more. Then she tries to switch the parent in charge.

It's almost like she needs 20 minutes of crying in order to rest.

It's INFURIATING. I am so disappointed. I am angry with her. I try not to show it, try to make bedtime as normal and unanxious as possible, but this makes my mouth and head hurt b/c I am gritting my teeth so much. Jason and I are dreading bedtime again. Elena is robbing any couple time we might have with her behavior--because once she is actually asleep, we are too drained to bother trying to talk to each other. Some nights we rebound, but normally I am completely tapped out.

So, today I'm calling back our psychologist. The one we graduated from this Spring. I told myself I wouldn't feel like a failure if I had to call back...but that's simply not true.


Krystle said...

Peyton will be 2 in November and we have never had "good" nights. I never really knew just how 'bad' it was until Morgan came along. She sleeps 10x better than Peyton.

Peyton kicks and screams and wails for her "paci" ALL night long. She actually just started having facial tics & someone suggested low magnesium to me, so I'm going to look into that. It can cause a wide variety of things ranging including night time moodiness/OCD on certain things.

She has been a lot better since her surgery (I think her back hurt her alot) but it's still not normal, by any means.

Good luck with the psychologist & I know what you mean about it draining you!

I think in general kids with CP don't sleep well from what i'm hearing/reading about others.

Mo said...

Bedtime is not peachy here in the Teaster house either. Some nights are better than others and nap time is generally a struggle too. Not altogther terrible but rarely easy... share what you find out.

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog about your beautiful girl! And I can so relate to that bedtime routine. My daughter (high functioning autism) is 9 now. We got control of bedtime with several strategies: we would reassure that we would check on her in 2 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, etc. Knowing we check on her after she's asleep just wasn't enough. But we controlled the questioning and demanding by doing it on our terms. If she asked or called, the time started again. We wrote down the 'routine': from checking blankets, book, closet door, whatever. We allowed a certain number of steps, we wrote them down and taped it to the wall. We followed the routine religiously for years. When done, it was done. The order comforts her, and following the written steps ensures she can't claim something was forgotten! As far as the repetitive questions...of course you know it's an anxiety thing. But we respond with this: I just answered that, would you like me to change the answer? (Making sure that the changed answer would not work in her favor.)
In our house, it's all about being very specific, allowing her some control, while maintaining all control ourselves.

Good luck to you! No one in our house has slept through the night in 9.5 years.....but we have attained 'functional'. Others think our nightly routine is unfathomable. We are honestly, truly grateful for nights without screaming. To each their own!

Anonymous said...

Love your blog!
This sounds so much like my 9 year old girl when she was 4,5,6,7... (no brain injury, totally healthy) she has always been an emotional kid..very determined like your Elena. Just last night at 9 years old, she still has to get tucked in, get the dog upstairs, have me put a load of laundry in(this is next to her room) and she still came marching down the stairs during NFL kickoff to tell us that there was a scary sound in her room. We demanded that she get back in bed...did the counting..all that...she would not go, she went to the top of the stairs and put a blanket down and fell asleep on it with the dog next to her, right on the floor :) Sooooooo stubborn...kind of like me I guess :) Anyway, we have a one year old also with a signifigant brain injury at birth, almost exactly like your story. Right now she sleeps ok, but I'm glad that I know how crazy my first girl was, so that I know that sometimes it is just their personality, not the brain injury. Some kids just have stronger personalities...not to say we haven't worked very hard with her (and for the most part she is just fine now with bedtime). I do have to say that she is 300 percent better than when she was 6, now I can reason with her and she will listen when I get mad...then she did not care :) She would just throw a complete fit, and go on and on like you describe. Guess you take the good with the bad...this attitude is what I am sure makes Elena work so hard at walking and moving and it is what makes my oldest so good at soccer and basketball and school work :) Good luck...and thanks so much for sharing your life with us! You have no idea how much strength your blog has given me with my youngest daughter Abbey.
my e-mail is gallantsd3@gmail.com, I would love to ask you some more specific questions about Elena if you ever have a free minute :)