The Night Terrors Continue

I’m writing today in search of a little company and maybe some answers. Em has been having night terrors again, at least that’s what we think they are. They take place at the same time every night, between the hours of 11 and midnight and start 3 hours after he falls asleep. It usually takes anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to calm him down (ie. wake him up fully). And he doesn’t really remember them in the morning.

They come and go in intervals. Meaning, we go months without one and then BAM! They’re on and take place for weeks. This one has been going on for about a week and a half. He usually always stirs about 3 hours after going to bed at night, but the night terrors are very different from that.

This particular interval seems to have coincided with him coming down with a cold. The cold wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, he was still able to go to school. I reckon that’s irrelevant but I did want to bring it up.

There have been a few personality changes over the last couple of months as well. Em is now very much into his “babies”. He has three small stuffed animals (a cardinal, a baby duck and a baby bear) that he refers to as his babies. They need to be with him at night at all times. Sometimes he wakes up screaming about them. He brings the bear to school with him for naps and if we forget the bear, we simply must go back. He’s very attached to his babies. He likes to carry them in his winter coat hood or up his shirt and scoot to school. He introduces them to people on the street, at stores. It’s cute.

I know what you’re thinking! Pending new arrival = stuffed animal/baby attachment. But I’m not so sure this wouldn’t have taken place had I gotten pregnant or not. People probably say this a lot, but Em is a very sensitive child. He loves animals. He pets them (usually dogs) even though we’ve told him repeatedly he should ask first. It’s like he can’t help himself. He needs to touch furry things. (Like mother, like son!) He loves babies, and has for a long while. You should see him with his best friend’s baby sister. It’s heartwarming to say the least. It could have to do with my being pregnant, but I’m thinking, given his personality, it would have happened this way no matter what.

Anyway, why? Why is this happening? Is it a crash? Is this related to sugar? He has very little of it, but I’m not ruling anything out. (For example, last night I gave him half a homemade cookie an hour or so before bed.) He doesn’t drink juice anymore at all. Is this related to growing? He’s in school 3 days a week and loves it, but maybe it’s due to school?

Do your children have night terrors? Do they wake up this way? Agitated and impossible to sooth? Do they eventually go away? When?

Any or all information welcome. We’re getting desperate as we approach the arrival of number two when every minute of sleep will become a commodity.

Help?

On Soccer Camp.

I am constantly learning new things as a mother. For example, last week I learned that getting a 3-year-old to listen to a soccer coach for three hours in 90+ degree heat is impossible. We tried. I had high expectations, but it went just about as smoothly as Mom and Baby Yoga. The good news is we didn’t end each class lying on our sides, breastfeeding our kids. The thought of doing that in direct sunlight in 95 degree heat makes me want to puke.

He’s not ready to pay attention for that long. I was silly to think otherwise. Motherhood has been one learning experience after another. For example, I’ve learned that the more you spend on an activity, the less your kid’s gonna get out of it. And the more excited you are by said activity, the less excited they’re gonna be. So, should we ever have a second child, that kid’s gonna be ignored until age five or so, particularly where extracurricular activities are concerned. Sorry, kid. It’s nothing but flour and water for you. Maybe some paint. And we might take you to the playground.

(Wait, I’m a second child. This explains a lot.)

But all was not entirely lost. We had two great days. He followed instructions, had fun and we stayed the entire time. I won’t talk about the other three days; the days I had to take him home kicking, screaming and spitting. (Picture Linda Blair from “The Exorcist” only without the company of The Devil. Because, seriously, had The Devil been there I’d have asked him or her for help.)

I won’t mention those days. I won’t start talking about how age 3 is ten bloody times worse than age 2. If I start talking about all the timeouts we’ve had lately, or the fact that it took him 1 hour, 40 minutes to eat pancakes this morning all the while he sat screaming at the table, I’ll never stop talking. Plus, I’ll develop a stutter and start drinking. And I haven’t had a drink in a very long time.

I will say this: the closer we get to three, the rougher our days become. I’ll leave it at that for now. But soon I’m gonna need some companionship, a gentle shoulder to cry on. Because this has been hard, really hard. It’s kind of like breaking in a wild horse, not that I’ve ever done that. But if I ever apply for a job as cowboy, I’m putting this on my resume.

I’m convinced this is why siblings aren’t often 4 years apart. Who in their right mind looks at their husband after a day spent with a three-year-old and says, “Hi, honey! Let’s have unprotective sex so we can have ANOTHER ONE!”?

Anyway… SOCCER CAMP! The last class went off without a hitch. And I managed to get this short video of my boy following instructions, giving high fives and receiving his final award.

So, we won’t be back next week. But we will be back next year. Because the gentlemen from United Soccer Academy who were in charge of these 3-year-olds were amazing. I’ve never met two Brits more deserving of an award for patience. In fact, everyone pooled together a hefty tip at the end of the week to show how sorry we felt for them. A pity tip! A pitippy!

We’ll be back next year—you know, after three is over.

(Three does end, right?)

This Picture Says 1000 AWESOME Words.

Emory set up this shot. He put the creatures on the table, arranged them, and then went and grabbed my heavy Nikon D200, turned it on and yelled, “SAY CHEESE!”

So: that’s me in the background telling me how not to drop it and where to aim. We have about 27 versions similar to the shot above.

Why is Bert so antisocial? Even my almost 3-year-old has him figured out.

P.S. I missed Tuesdays With Murray yesterday. I will make it up to you Murray lovers. He’s a great cat. Keeping him all to myself is criminal. More to come. Promise.

Mom's the Word.

I don’t write much about Emory for probably pretty obvious reasons. He’s no longer a baby—he’s not even a toddler anymore—he’s a little boy. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to write about him. There are so many stories I want to share daily; stories I have actually written but never push live. I just can’t bring myself to do it for some reason. I picture him reading it one day and asking, “Mom, why did you write that on the Internet?” And then my heart breaks in this imaginary scenario and so I just save it and close the window.

How does one overcome this and keep blogging? This is something I ask myself a lot lately. This question is precisely why I so rarely update with regard to my son. The thing is, my son is my job now, so feeling unable to write about him means not having much to write about at all. This is why you read about lollipops or a feline who will never have to deal with the cruelness of middle school. This is why I post pictures of baby squirrels and snow days. This is why so many days I don’t update at all.

What’s safe?

There’s a story about poop and a Saturday morning that I would love to share with the Internet, a story that both Toby Joe and I find truly hilarious, a story you would find hilarious as well. But once it’s out there, in writing, online, it’s out there. There’s suddenly proof of it. Will future classmates one day come to tease Emory for a poop story that his mom wrote about? Will he care or will he be the class clown and laugh along with them. Not knowing the answer to this holds me back a great deal.

And I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry because I wanted to always share it all. That’s why I started this blog, that’s why I’ve kept it going for (OH MY GOD) 9 years. And I know what I’m writing today isn’t anything new, but I had to write something. Because I can’t tell you about the poop and last Saturday morning and the big laugh we had.

And so that’s been my big question lately: where do I go from here? What does it mean that I can no longer share my life with you because my life is no longer just my own?

Tuesdays With Murray (Chapter 128) A New Diet.

We got a new Kodak HD Zi8 so I decided to give it a try today. In typical Michele fashion, I haven’t read the directions and probably won’t. But I reckon I’ll figure out how to use it eventually. Anyway, here’s a short (uneventful) video of how Emory often feeds Murray (and others) at dinner time. Bon appetite!

In other news, forgive me for not updating YET AGAIN I got bitten by the inspiration bee recently and have been busying myself to try and get this new adventure up and running. Rest assured, once it’s complete (any day now!) mihow.com will be the first to know. Yay, projects! Yay, inspiration! Boo, lack of updates. Boo, me. More soon! I promise!

Sunday Evening Pictures

Y’all, I don’t know what’s going on lately. I can’t seem to find time to post even though there’s a lot going on! Perhaps that’s why? But I want to change that. I need to make a plan and stick to it. I will come up with that plan straight away.

In the meantime, here are a few photos we’ve taken over the past couple of weeks.

Emory tried on some tiny skis and then refused to take them off. I can’t wait until next year whenever we can actually take him skiing, with snow. Also: I’m very happy he’s more interested in skiing than snowboarding since his mama does one and not the other.

We visited the playground at Union Square. This is what I twittered while we were there:

Seriously, y’all, this playground put the one near us to absolute shame. I couldn’t believe it. There wasn’t a Sharpie drawn penis in sight, nor were there any used condoms. I don’t get it.

We attended a party at our friend Keith and Melanie’s house for their 1-year-old. It was awesome.  And LOOK AT ALL OF THESE BALLOONS! It’s like kid heaven.

My son was completely floored. He even posed for a picture, something he never does.

That’s it for now. I promise I’ll update this puppy more often. It’s either that or sell it to the highest bidder.

The Nanny and Separation Anxiety.

We have been using a nanny for a little over a month. She came highly recommended by the owner of our building who has employed her for two years and continues to every day after her kids are out of school. (I have her in the mornings, three days a week.) She’s been perfectly fine. She takes him to the playground. She plays with him. He seemed to really, really like her, which is why I overlooked the problems I was having with her. (Yes, there have been some problems.)

She’s from Mexico, which is awesome. I asked that she speak spanish to Emory a bunch because I wanted him to pick up some words in another language or at least begin to understand that there are other languages. The problem is she doesn’t speak much english at all. And when she does speak in english, it’s so damn difficult to understand her I spend most of the time asking that she repeat everything. My spanish is rusty at best, so that’s not an option either. The isn’t a problem for the owner of the building because she and her kids speak fluent spanish.

We’ve had some issues with miscommunication. There were two times she didn’t show up because she didn’t understand what I had said. Then there was the time she showed up when I had told her not to. There have also been some problems with what he eats while I’m out but that’s really nothing. Overall, all of these things could be overlooked because she seemed to be doing so well with Emory.

Recently, however, he’s begun to express dread the moment I tell him she’s coming to hang out with him for the day. He used to answer the door gleefully whenever the doorbell rang, now he starts to cry and runs away from her. And I know this is probably because he’s attached to me, but it’s heartbreaking.

It’s been getting progressively worse the last two weeks. Things were getting more and more difficult up until yesterday when he did something so heart-wrenching, it will probably haunt me until the next time he does something heart-wrenching. (So, what, tomorrow then?)

She showed up. He started to cry and asked that she leave. He said he wanted to come with me. He sobbed. Followed me around. Grabbed my legs and wouldn’t let go. Naturally, I couldn’t leave with him acting this way. I tried reasoning with him for a while, explaining to him that I would be back in a few hours, that I had to go do some work but I’d be right back. Nothing helped. After about 15 minutes of trying to reason with him, I took my coat off and decided I would try and work there for a while and see if he calmed down. I went and sat in our room, on the bed, with my computer. I told him, “I have to work. So you play and I’ll work.”

And this is where things took a turn for the ouch. He grabbed a hold of his Fisher Price drawing toy and climbed up onto the bed and said, “Mama, I will work too. I wanna work too. I work with you.”

(Reenactment. I didn’t pull the camera out during the whole ordeal.)

I said, “You should play, Emory. You should have fun and play.”

That’s when his lip began to quiver and he looked at me and said, “Mama doesn’t want to play with me. No playing with Emory. Mama wants to work.” And he began to cry, but these weren’t normal tears, these were tears fueled by sorrow, like I had just abandoned him, told him I didn’t love him anymore. I know! Sounds so over-the-top, but I’m not kidding. I’ve only ever seen tears like this one other time. (A story for another day.)

“You don’t want to play with me.” He finally said. And looked down at his toy, which collected tear drops.

How could I leave after that? I hugged him and said that I’d much rather play with him. And even though I did have actual work to do, I decided I would stay until he said I could leave, if he said I could leave.

An hour later, he was OK with my leaving. So I did. But not for long.

My brother suggested that this might be because the three of us never play together. That he might see her as NOT me since the moment she comes over, I leave. And that makes sense. Everyone else I leave him with (my mother, father, brother) he’s completely fine with—we’ve even gone away for a few overnights. So maybe it just takes some work. But there are other problems with this nanny and so I’m beginning to think it might be time to let her go.

And that’s why I’m writing today: I want advice from those who’ve been there before. Am I overreacting because he was so sad and, in turn, made me so sad? Or should it be easier than this? Should I wait to let her go for another week? How long is too long to try if your little people don’t like being with someone?

As much as I love the time I have to focus on work, I’m not sure putting him through so much sorrow and anxiety is worth it.

Snowy Brooklyn. Photos.

We finally got our snowstorm. So this morning before things got too unruly out there, I decided to take Emory for a walk. All was well for a while.

He even pelted me with snowballs.

But then something happened with his hands. They started to hurt because ice cold stuff on bare hands hurts!

Naturally, he refused to wear his gloves, which were in my pocket the whole time. Why he refused? No clue. But in hopes of teaching him that wearing gloves is necessary whenever it’s cold outside and one intends to throw snowballs, I gave in to his stubbornness. However, this backfired, because instead of putting the gloves on, he threw a fit by throwing himself to the ground in protest. Which made him even colder.

Then the tears came. I did not take pictures of this part.

But, overall? Our walk was awesome. And he loved almost every minute of it.

The next time we venture out I’ll make sure to warm the snow up first.