Sunday, January 6, 2013

Rough Sleeper

Nolan doesn't know how to sleep.

"What's that?" you ask.  "Know how to sleep?  Like, he can't choose a position?"

No.  I quite literally mean exactly what I said: the boy doesn't appear to find the "natural periodic state of rest for the mind and body, in which the eyes usually close and consciousness is completely or partially lost, so that there is a decrease in bodily movement and responsiveness to external stimuli" (  I'll elaborate.

During school nights especially, we try to get Madison and Nolan to bed for 8:30 at the latest.  Sometimes we succeed with this, which is especially helpful when Lori and I are attending classes ourselves and need the time that they are zonked out to get our own work done.  More often than that, though, we aren’t even putting them in bed until about 8:30 --- and that is due to our own procrastinating.  There is a fear Lori and I share that we associate with most of the overly dramatic transition times in our house --- times that make a Lindsay Lohan temper tantrum look like a Teddy Bear picnic.

(Oh those dreaded transitions --- a time for fighting to get them off the iPad, screaming as they refuse to move down the hallway toward the bathroom, rerouting as that trip down the hallway turns into a detour into a random bedroom, our struggling to drag a limp, lifeless body back into the hallway, frustration as one child can’t resist admiring herself in the mirror, irritation as the other one can’t resist planting his lip prints on the same mirror, and concern as they both need to be retrained once again on the same procedures we retrained for the prior evening regarding teeth brushing, hand washing, potty using, medicine receiving and turn taking.)

Eventually, they make it into bed.  Stories have been read; covers have been pulled up to chins and kisses have been doled out.  Once the lights are off, we know what happens.  Every night.

“Mommy bed,” we hear, and we ignore.  “Daddy, Nolan Mommy bed?”  For now, it’s phrased as a question.

I don’t know why I always do, but I can’t continue to ignore him, and I answer every time.  “Go to sleep, Nolan.  In Nolan’s bed.”

“Mommy bed?!”  It’s a louder question this time.

“No, buddy.  Daddy’s laying in Mommy’s bed tonight.”

“Mommy bed!” he shouts again.  I ignore the request this time, and the cacophony of repetitive demands begins.

“Mommy bed.  Mommy bed!  Mommy bed!  Nolan Mommy bed!  Daddy, Nolan Mommy bed!”

And if we continue to ignore him: “MOOOOOMY BEEEEEEDDDD!” he screeches two octaves higher.

He knows the buttons to push.  “Nolan!” I tell him directly, “You are laying in Nolan’s bed, tonight!”

The debate continues for a little bit, and sometimes he even falls asleep.  Or so it seems at first.  He wasn’t always this way.  He used to insist on sleeping with one of us when he first started sleeping in a Big Bed…and we would usually give in.  Then one day, he just stopped.  He would fall asleep in his own bed and we wouldn’t hear from him until morning.  Then, about three months ago, it started up again.

The one piece that never seemed to go away, however, and happens without fail as though he’s on a timer, nearly every night at almost exactly 12:30 in the morning: Nolan screams.

It’s a scary sound, and often lasts for a half hour or longer.  Sometimes the screams are accompanied by moans, sleep talking, and other alarming, indescribable noises.  Quite often, while we assume he is sleeping, he will holler, “Mommy, no!” or “K’wee (his sister Kaleigh), stop it,” or some other random, sometimes inaudible statement, all the while maintaining the chorus of other unsettling sounds.  No one is in the room bothering him, and we have ruled out the cats sleeping too closely to him.

During this time, he also kicks, turns sideways, and rolls in his blanket like a Cheese Dog on a convenience store steam roller.  We try to calm him down by patting his back, and --- curiously --- sometimes yelling his name works.  There are nights though where no amount of consolation will work; the poor guy just will not sleep.

I guess that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  He sleeps, of course, if ever so very lightly; and not very well, or very deeply.

I’d imagine that’s why he ends up in our Mommy’s bed, anyhow.  

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