Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I tried to set this week aside for Passover and tax preparation. Both are in dire need of lots of time and attention, and A.'s grades are due Thursday at midnight, so that attention has to come from me. Also, the tax stuff at this point qualifies as work, since my personal and business finances are not at all segregated from one another. I know, I suck, I already berate myself about it enough.

But I am self-employed, after all, so I can take a few days at home and do things like this. That's part of the idea of having my own business (I'm not quite a WAHM--I'm a Work-Next-Door-Mom, both literally and figuratively.) So what happens? First, Z. woke up just a little hot yesterday morning. Not a fever, but elevated. She had been coughing over the weekend and sleep has not come easily to her for a few days. This is exactly the kind of day when I would normally keep her home. But A. was staying home to grade, and her workday would be shot if Z. was home. And I do have stuff that HAS TO GET DONE on Mondays. So Z. went to school, despite my misgivings.

Next, I forgot that because of the tedious, complicated, yet-still-somehow-fascinating reorder stuff that HAS TO GET DONE after the weekend, the earliest I EVER finish on a Monday is 3:00, and Z. is done with day care at 4:00. I spent all day feeling like the minutes were slipping away from me when actually I got done as early as I could expect. Z.'s teachers told me she was coughing all day (read: "keep her home, mom!"), and she looked peaky as all get-out.

Last night, she took a million years to go down, for the third night in a row. I was completely infuriated with her and finally handed her off to A. I think she likes her bedtime routine so much she draws it out. I mean, I know this, but this is not a problem that yields to a quick solution.

When I finally got to sleep, a few hours later, Z. was panting and there was a catch in her breath. She was really hot. She's been sleeping on a wedge pillow since the coughing started, but she had slipped down. I moved her up. She woke up a little, asking for na-na. I nursed her. She wasn't all the way awake, but wouldn't go back to sleep, she wouldn't settle. Not even in the cuddle of last resort (Me lying on my back, Z. draped across my torso, legs willy nilly). In my bed I have enough pillows to prop myself up and sleep with her in my lap, closer to upright, so we moved into the Big Bed, something Z. normally thinks is a treat.

Instead, things got really bad. She didn't want me to put her in my lap, but when I let go of her she still wouldn't settle. Now A. was up and also involved. Z. wanted snack and milk--not surprising because she had barely eaten dinner, and that had been hours earlier. She got snack and milk. At some point she got tylenol. At some point we took her temperature--over 100 at the armpit. She still kept popping up, asking for different things.

Finally I resorted to just grabbing onto her and holding her until she was ready to sleep. This is a discipline tactic I've done a few times when she's just off--it's not that far from what Martha Welch describes in Holding Time, and it infuriates the kid (Z.'s reaction is apparently typical) so it involves a lot of screaming as the kid tries to get away from you. I'm usually not sure it's a good idea, but sometimes it seems to be the only thing that will work. It kind of reorganizes her.

So Z. screamed and screamed. She told me to stop cuddling. She told me I didn't love her. (She told me this over and over, but luckily I happened to know it wasn't true.) She told me to let her scream. I told her she could scream as much as she wanted I would hold her as long as she screamed. She told me she wanted to get out of my arms. This whole thing went on for maybe 15 minutes, maybe longer. Finally, she realized that all she had to do was stop screaming. So she stopped. And she went to sleep.

And she stayed home from school, and wouldn't settle for nap, and her fever's still up so she'll be home again tomorrow. And on Thursday I'm working the register, so there goes my window for taking care of things that need taking care of.



Phantom Scribbler said...

Oy. I'm sorry we had such similar nights! But -- wonder of wonders -- my family is all sleeping peacefully at this moment. Wishing you the same stroke of unexpected sleep fortune.

S. said...

Thank goodness, yes--Z.'s breathing was much better, so we all slept through the night. I think she's catching up on sleep now. This is a marathon nap!