A is five. The biggest hurdle with him, from day one, is the unpredictability, both good and not-so-good. As an infant, he rarely slept more than 2 hours at a stretch (this finally resolved itself somewhat by the time he was 5 months), then would be up for 45 minutes to 2 hours. I memorized the middle of the night TV schedule…and got hooked on Sports Night as a result. He didn’t nurse well, dropped on his weight chart…you get the idea. We never knew what to expect with him, so the stress level was always sky-high. While things have gotten better with that, we still have a hard time predicting how he will act in any given situation. No, seriously. This unpredictability has driven me to therapy, anti-depressants, and drink (after the boys are in bed). The siggy line in my emails is “we can’t control the wave, but we can learn to surf.” I really try hard to remember that.
The last couple of days has brought this unpredictability to the fore again, both positive/humorous events. A loves Captain Underpants books. Loves. Them. And I think they’re a stitch, too. If you have boys, you must read the Captain. If you have a sense of humor, you must read the Captain. If you’re offended by farts, boogers, and heavy discussion of the merits of elastic underware, pass on the Captain. So, if you’re familiar with C.U., you know that Mr. Krupp turns into Captain Underpants when someone snaps their fingers and back into Mr. Krupp when he gets wet. A plays Captain Underpants anywhere, anytime. I will look in the back yard and he’ll be running around in his little boxer briefs. J is “Boy Pullup”, a character I made up. So A tells anyone who’ll listen that he’s Captain Underpants and God help us if that person snaps his/her fingers. At the Children’s Sermon on Sunday, Pastor S was talking about baptismal water…oh I was so afraid she’d snap her fingers and we’d all get an eyeful. And that A would get splashed and he’d go back to Mr. Krupp (yelling “Blah Blah Blah” the whole time). Tom and I honestly did not know what he would do. We were sitting in back, going “Oh God, oh please, oh God, stay dressed, oh please…” This time, we got lucky, nothing happened, A was an angel. And we laughed ourselves silly through the readings.
Potty training has been the hugest hurdle. Two and a half years of absolute hell. I know everyone has a strategy they swear by, trust me when I say we have tried them all. No joke, every single one. We’ve taken A to pediatric urologists, pediatric gastrointestinal specialists, everything, and they’ve all said, “Hey, you’ve tried every trick we have.” Now we’re up to “Good luck, there’s nothing medically wrong, it’ll happen soon.” And it’s very very gradually getting better. We’ve not done night training ’cause we’re still in the hysterics of day training. Now, since the basement has been torn up, the boys’ rooms have been torn up. I did not notice that A was out of the pullups he wears at night. I was at a meeting last night and Tom got the boys into bed. He was busy with J and didn’t see A get into his jammies. Imagine our shock and awe when A got up this morning, wearing underwear, and completely dry. This has never happened. Ever. We’re still reeling from the shock. I think seeing J starting to show interest in the potty has pushed A into “Big Brother” mode and he’s getting over this hurdle. God, I hope so.
A’s best attribute is his sparkling personality. Actually, it’s his saving grace. Every single person who has spent more than 5 minutes with the kid loves him and can’t believe how bright he is. And I agree. He is the best little guy. But his pace has worn me out. Five years of “Oh GOD, what will today bring?” will do that to you. Five years of stress being in the red zone. Five years of not ever really being able to relax. Five years of knowing that your child is a wonderful handful and that other parents don’t know that and they blame you for his antics. I can’t even start to think that staying dry all night will happen again any time soon. Chances are darned good that tonight he’ll soak the bed, and every night between how and who-knows-when. Chances are good that today at J’s swim lesson he’ll do something I couldn’t possibly prepare for (like last week’s “experiment” with the Craisins and the swimming pool: will they float or sink?). (edit: swimming was great; he and other little boy waiting went and peed on a tree. They loved it) People look at me like, “can’t you control your kid?” Uh, sorry, no. I really have no idea what’s going on with him most of the time or what reaction/discipline would work this time. It’s frustrating as hell.
So, if you’ve made it this far you get to find out that the sleep specialist has his report together and it’s currently on its way to the ENT. The specialist called this morning and talked to Tom. His recommendation is to remove the tonsils because A does have a case of sleep apnea. Thank God. We need to get cracking on this because A starts kindergarten in four weeks and two days. Yes, I’m counting. But the specialist also made a comment that made our blood boil. When A was in for the sleep study, the tech asked why he was there. I told him it was because of the possibility of large tonsils causing poor sleep causing ADHD-like behavior. The specialist saw this and suggested, over the phone!, that A start a regimen of Ritalin. WTF??? That suggestion, over the phone, about a kid he has never met. Good thing he was talking to Tom or I would have taken a piece of his face off over the phone. Meds are the absolute last resort, on the bottom of the pile of options on the desk, been there done that tried everything and then meds. Tom very politely told him no. He’s a nicer person than I.
So here we go. If we’re lucky, A gets to have a tonsillectomy in the next couple of weeks. This may get me out of teaching VBS (please, oh please). Unfortunately, it may also put the kibbash on us going camping with our friends. But if it means that A finally gets enough rest, that we’re no longer yelling at him, that things start to look up for him and no one ever again suggests meds for him, let’s do it. There are worse things in life than to eat popsicles for a couple of weeks. ; )
update: Just talked to the ENT…they had a cancellation for tomorrow afternoon and we’re in. They had just gotten the specialist’s report and we’re off!
Although my child is no where near as challenging as yours, I am glad to hear another person who has had tribulations and frustrations with the potty training! Its only gotten good just this summer (she turned 5 in March) and we are still in pull-ups at night. At least we are making progress…