For the past few nights since our son’s transition to his new bed, we’ve gotten less and less sleep. He wakes up and won’t go back to sleep for these long periods. He wants to get out of bed. He wants me to hold him and dance him and hug him. He wants everything but sleep. Because he is not held prisoner anymore, he can also get up. One night, we caught him sleep walking. When he opened his door, I bolted into the hallway only to herd him back to his bed where he laid down, eyes closed, and continued sleeping.
I’m also sick.
On Tuesday night/Wendesday morning, BG slept like crap. This was a night of two lengthy wake-ups (one was nearly two hours of me trying to get him to stay in his bed, stop sreaming, and go back to sleep) and the sleepwalking. I had worked until midnight. BG woke up for the day at 5:30. The last remnants of BG’s breastfeeding have been first thing in the morning and just before bed, so my wife brought him to me to nurse in hopes that I might sleep a bit more and extend his sleep too. I was desparate for more sleep after three hours of very interrupted sleep that night. Shortly after my wife left for work, my son started pinching me, scratching at me, and finally, as I was blocking his little claws, he bit down. Hard.
I yelped, then immediately placed BG on the other side of the bed, and put pressure on my very sore breast as I snapped, “No Biting!” He looked surprised but didn’t try to nurse again. He knew something had gone awry, but in his sleep-deprived crazy state, I’m not sure he new quite what. Not wanting to dwell in the moment, he told me it was time to get up and make coffee. I reluctantly agreed. It was, after all, not even 6:30. I pulled back the blankets and began to stand up when I noticed a half-dollar-sized spot of bright red blood on the front of my shirt. My nipple was bleeding and hurting. I started crying. My son laughed at the red spot on my shirt. I cried a little harder. I told him “na-na” was very hurt. That his bite had caused a “big owie.” He was ready to move on. I was hurt. The sting and ache of the cut was one thing, but I also felt betrayed by my son.
He has nipped me before, typically when he’s been teething. One time previously he bit a little hard and left me with a bit of an injury, but this was far worse. This drew blood. This was the result of being irritated with me, with losing control. I could hardly relate to him all day, but I had to. I was on my own with him most of the day, and he and I were both in rare from (and by this, I mean we were crazy with fatigue). All morning, he cried and whined and fought me over and over. I had no tools to cope with this small tyrant who had invaded my son’s body. All my patience had been used up in the middle of the night. Finally, I sat down on found an episdoe of Sesame Street. I sped through the segments he didn’t like–the things that made him frustrated again–and I snuggled with him during the segments he liked. But then he started kicking and smacking the computer. I had to shut down the one bit of respite I had found. This catapulted him into a full-blown tantrum. I thought a bath might calm us both down, but this made it worse. He didn’t want a bath, he didn’t want me to give him a bath. I’m pretty sure he didn’t want to be in his own skin. I was summoning every speck of patience I had ever known. I dressed him, put on some music, and danced him down to his nap.
I collapsed on the sofa, and my cat joined me. I watched some bad television and finally fell asleep. My boy slept for nearly two hours, and I awoke from my own nap to him smiling over me.
When my wife finally came home, I had to take our cat to the vet. Earlier, I had found a giant absess on his back, and he had to go in. I never imagined going to the vet would be a means of getting some time to myself, but it was important–both to help the cat get well and to help me find some sanity. When I had to leave the cat at the vet for surgery and put down nearly three hundred dollars that we absolutely don’ thave, I nearly lost it.
I was reeling from the day, knowing that I was going to have to take the next big step toward weaning. So far, this process has been slow but natural. We’ve eliminated more and more nursing until these last two bookends have remained, but I’ll no longer be nursing my son in the morning. Our bedtime nursing will be all that is left, and that won’t be much longer either. I’m afraid of him biting me again, and I don’t want that. I don’t want to be tense with my son. I don’t want this event to color how I feel about him. I just never expected the end to start this way.
Today has proven better, albeit challenging in a new way. BG is quite sick and has been fighting a horrid fever all day. We had to pick the cat up from the vet and care for him all day. My two boys–my son and my cat–have required everything from me, and somehow I have had it to give. I’m tapped now. I have no idea how I’ll finish my work for the week, how I’ll get to spend time with my wife, where time for myself will come in. I can only live each moment hoping reprieve and strength and grace will come soon.