Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Refreshing New Perspective

Anyone who has read a few of my recent blog posts or is a friend of mine on Facebook is no stranger to the sleeping issues I have had with Belle. It has made me a crazy person at times and has brought me to tears often.

Finally, I decided to make a doctor appointment and seek some professional help. My poor girl has been exhausted and unable to handle her emotions, resulting in massive tantrums. Paul and I get frustrated, which means we yell at Belle, and sometimes we yell at each other.

Wow, do I wish I had scheduled the appointment earlier! The doctor gave me no new remedy or life changing tactic to keep her in bed. He gave me facts, information, and some renewed hope!

My doctor informed me that there are two times in our lives where the synapses in the brain can and do malfunction. The first is during that 2-3 year old stage, and the second is during adolescence. He says that it is often the "terrible twos" we hear about because our sweet, sleeping children now seem to start acting much different. So, turns out Belle is having brain synapses malfunctions :). In many ways this relieved me. I was not doing something wrong. Belle was not having a complete breakdown, and she really was a product of what her body is going through.

The doc then proceeded to say that I could totally use meds (which he wasn't promoting first and foremost, but definitely as an option). He said it is putting a band-aid on the problem, but understands that sometimes it is needed. By meds he means tylenol, benadryl, or melatonin. In fact, they used benadryl with their son often (they also had to purchase ear plugs because he would keep the rest of the house up by being so loud)!

He then said that I must keep her on a strict routine, because children function best with routine. Thankfully, I am kind of a sleep nazi and have usually been very structure with Belle's nap time and bed time.

Lastly, he told me to let her be in her room until she falls asleep as long as she doesn't hurt herself. Turn the monitor off and forget about it. She will eventually outgrow this. I have heard this from others (Kristin Slater, you wrote me a note about doing this and your encouragement really brought me to tears because I had been feeling so lost and alone). So, basically, I need to relinquish a bit of control on her and let her just put herself to bed.

Much more was discussed that made me feel so much better. He stated that some of the most irritating parts of parenthood are when we feel our child isn't getting something they need, and we notice it. Belle is not getting enough sleep and she has meltdowns. He told me to look at those meltdowns as her body responding appropriately. If she was docile and non responsive that could be a much bigger issue. The fact that she is lacking sleep, exhausted, and melting down really is a sign that her body us functioning as it should. Obviously, she needs sleep to prevent the meltdowns, but it simply means her body is telling us what it needs. Does that make sense? It does to me, but I don't know if I am explaining it well.

All in all, "this too shall pass." I feel less guilt that I am doing something wrong, and more encouraged that this is a stage that we have to go through. Honestly, we won't change much around here, but this new mindset is a huge sense of freedom.

On another note, we stopped by her preschool to get her all signed up and on board for next fall...hopefully sleeping issues resolved ;)

1 comment:

Emily said...

I'm glad Belle's doctor was helpful!! You really ARE doing a great job, she'll outgrow this soon enough. But for now, maybe get some earplugs and don't feel guilty! :)