6.16.2008

Quadruple Whammy

1. Charlie is teething. In the most major way I have ever seen a baby teethe. My others had at least four teeth by age one, and were fussy when they came in, but it was nothing like this. His gums are bulbous and he is cranky, cranky, cranky - so TOTALLY not like him. Poor baby. But it also makes me SO totally not like him. I'm not sure what to do for him - Tylenol hasn't helped much and he's having trouble sleeping. It's very sad.

2. I am tired. Partly because of Charlie's waking, but also because of crazy insomnia and then fatigue and knowing I'm exhausted but not being able to do anything but watch the minutes on the clock tick by at 3:30 a.m. and then 4:42 a.m. and then 5:57 a.m. and then I drift off and then the boys are there wanting breakfast.

3. Charlie and Henry are both having separation anxiety. Charlie's is a little earlier than it usually hits - Cal and Henry both had theirs pretty much at exactly eighteen months, right when they were old enough to finally go to the church nursery. Charlie is seriously bereft when I even walk out of the room, crawls after me wailing and desparately clinging to my legs. This is distinct from, but probably exacerbated by, the teething thing - it started a while back but has escalated in the past few days. Maybe the one year perfect baby contract just expired. Whatever it is, I pretty much either have to stand and hold (sitting doesn't work) him all day or else listen to him cry, hard and extremely pitifully.

Henry's is somewhat of a regression more than separation anxiety, I think. He has started needing help with things that he has long since been able to do by himself. And he needs a million hugs and kisses and goodbyes when I just leave to run an errand. And he will only allow one person to do things for him (like wipe) - and that one person is ME. Lucky me. I believe in validating and acknowedging and meeting needs. I'm not the best at it, but I do try really hard.

These last few weeks have just been especially taxing. I get really grouchy about neediness sometimes and it makes me feel really guilty because I remember being little and just needing. I mostly wonder what the neighbors think when every time I walk out the door, there's at least one small child running out after and practically chasing the car, screaming for one last kiss and to tell me good-bye and that they love me before I can leave them - with their own daddy - for a fifteen minute errand. The drama. I thought I was exempt from that since I don't have girls, but no.

4. We do have a more masculine type of drama happening as well: a real-live alpha male competition at our house. I honestly never seen anything like it. Long story. Can't put it all here, but a single mom friend and her little boy needed a place to land. I didn't really think there would be any major issue - Calvin and her son are a week apart in age and have played together before, I've babysat, etc. I guess it's a whole new story when someone moves in.

The boys have had two all-out brawls since Saturday, even with me right there trying to stop it before it begins - both times it's been the other boy getting a little aggressive to start it, but Calvin doesn't have a high tolerance for turf invasion (I promise, we're working on it). I understand the psychology behind the other boy's behavior - only child, lots of change and uncertainty in his life, stressed out and distracted mom. I am extremely empathetic and am inclined to take his side. Which creates a weird dynamic anyway.

Calvin and Henry work out their stuff in a totally different manner so I have no idea how to remedy this situation. It is shocking to me - I know that boys play surprisingly hard and now I know that apparently they fight hard, too. Both times I've pried these boys apart from each other (risking minor injury to myself), their fists and feet flying and teeth gnashing, my intervention has not been satisfactory to either party. (I'll be honest: Calvin gets mad at me because he was winning before I got involved and the other boy is mad at me because really the whole point is that he needed to try to show what he was made of without someone's mom saving his butt. Maybe I can get them to get along by becoming their common enemy...?) I'm almost to the point where I want to let them have it out (that's what my husband says needs to happen), maybe just take them to the ER when they're done...except I don't want my boy to think that's the best way to solve a problem, and I don't want a guest in my house - especially a little boy who needs TLC more than anything - to feel scared or uncomfortable. It is ugly and I'm at a complete loss.

And did I mention that I'm too tired to sleep, let alone function rationally? I hope we can all make it through this week.

4 comments:

Liz said...

((hugs))

Talk to your doctor about checking your thyroid re: the sleeping issue.

((more hugs))

Anne said...

Traci,

i am so sorry! hang in there!! we will be thinking about you over here in Israel. my sister makes a teething syrup out of clove oil and glycerin that works really well. maybe you could mix some clove powder into some karo syrup (sugary I know). i dab a little on a toothbrush or pacifier and then let the teether chew/suck on it. i think the clove is supposed to be soothing. ps - i LOVE your writing. you do very well capturing that part of parenting that is usually impossible to help others understand. good luck getting some rest!

Anne

Jen4 @ Amazing Trips said...

I wish I had advice for you, but since I don't have any that are Calvin's age, I can't even fathom the psychology at that stage. But I agree that letting them fight-it-out would be terribly difficult to see.

What about squirt bottles?? Is that too naive?? Like when they start getting really flustered with each other they pull out their squirt bottles?

I think I'd just continue to tell them both that fighting is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE and will not be tolerated and if they keep it up (or start it again) I'd grab a squirt bottle (or garden hose) dose them down and toss them both outside.

Re: the teething ... stuff that works for us: frozen washcloth, watermelon rinds, teething rings stuck in the fridge, Tylenol, backpack carrier. Sometimes all you can do is hold them.

I hope things even out for you soon. I know it is so draining when you go through a tough patch.

Happy face said...

I (strongly) remind my boys that no fighting or rough housing is allowed. Okay, so sometimes I yell. If it's rough housing, I tell them to go outside. If fighting, they get sent to separate rooms.

Once I suggested letting them duke it out, and my husband disagreed strongly!!! Once his parents and a friend's parent did that. He and his friend duked it out hard, settled the score, and never spoke again. He always regretted that since he and that friend had been very close.