A Long Week: Tantrums and sleep deprivation
What’s been happening recently in our house? Well, we finally got that second stair gate installed at the top of the stairs. It’s only been months since we actually bought it, after all. And weeks of daily palpitations as the new walker stomped back and forth, past the dangerous drop at ever increasing speeds. Diverting him from stairs in other houses had been getting more and more difficult. Great, I thought, finally it will be possible to start teaching him how to navigate stairs, safe in the knowledge that he won’t be able to try it solo. Guess what? No interest in climbing or descending stairs himself now. Just cries piteously and raises his arms in the universal sign for “carry me!” Doh! Now I have to wait for the next window of interest, whenever that may be.
It appears I have been talking about his dirty bum a lot more than I realised. I started teaching him body parts, but he seems to already know a surprising number of them. At least one of us has learnt something from all those hours sitting on the toilet discussing whether he actually plans on doing anything, or is in fact finished and ready to be wiped (or hosed down). Although he knows how to, he still obstinately refuses to sign or say when he needs to use the potty. He much prefers to signal the impending destruction with an increasingly agitated tribal dance. Often confused with the “I’m getting frustrated about something dance”, or just the “I’m really digging this music” dance.
The kitchen cupboards have been emptied more often than I can count. It’s starting to get very very repetitive. For me that is, to him it’s a wonderful adventure each time he adds another dent to a tin of beans. In fact, he really has little need for baby toys. The house is a never-ending treasure trove. I get handed objects I didn’t know we still had, or have no idea where they came from. I respond to any prolonged silence now by searching frantically for him, and frisking for forbidden objects. Sometimes I feel he’s trying to make a point when he delicately picks up a piece of dirt on the floor and politely hands it to me to dispose of. If he wasn’t still flinging lumps of his meals onto the floor, then I’d take his indirect commentary on the cleanliness of our floors more to heart.
The tantrums, well, they’re back. Bigger and better than ever. He will go off on one if he so much as doesn’t like the look of anything. He wakes from his morning nap sleepy and ready to dawdle unless I inform him we’re going somewhere to see some babies. Suddenly he’s sitting up, fully alert, shouting ‘BAAAAABBBIIIIEEESSSSSS!!!!’. Any delays after that to provide him with a clean nappy, or you know, clothes is met with hysterics. Similarly he’s suddenly devastated when we finish our playdate and he faces the prospect of being put in his car seat to go home. He wails and clings to me like a limpet. No matter how long I stay and give him extra cuddles, sooner or later I’ll have to pry him off me and strap him in. The hysterical tears and wails switch to him merrily babbling stories before we’re at the end of the road, leaving me unconvinced that getting into a car seat is really that traumatic for him after all.
His top two molars are still coming down, but the eye teeth are also poking through for a nasty double whammy. Nights the past week were not good. On Tuesday there was a night of epic meltdowns. Inconsolably wailing for an hour at a time. On Wednesday Daddy fell out of the bed in his sleep, waking the little guy in the other room, who I had just put back to sleep a mere twenty minutes before. Back to the sofa bed for me to be kicked about for the rest of the night. Thursday evening he had just drifted off to sleep in my arms when he turned his head and ejected a waterfall of vomit over me, him, the chair and the carpet. He saved a little bit more for when Daddy ran up to hold him while I literally stripped. Unfortunately he’d had a hearty dinner followed by most of a pear, and a whole lot of milk. I never want to see chunks of pear in this manner ever again.
I was looking forward to the weekend at that point. Silly me. On Friday night he waited until he was sound asleep in his cot, in child position, before coughing until he ejected bolognaise sauce everywhere. This was the start of a good 48 hours of stomach upset, fever, vomiting, diarrhea… the whole nine yards. He’s never been so ill in his short life. Nor was he happy about it. Velcro baby weekend. Luckily he takes after me and attempts to sleep through it all as much as possible. But it was a looooong weekend in this household with a very miserable little baby who had no smiles for anyone. Breaking all the rules, it was couch plus TV for the bulk of the weekend. We nearly finished season two of house of cards in one long marathon run between races for empty bowls, or the toilet. Our little zombie wouldn’t touched food for a couple of days. Back to the milk, sleep, milk, sleep cycle. I’d forgotten how dehydrated that makes me. He slept peacefully at times, but startled awake randomly. His hands immediately groping to find me before he ever opened his sleepy eyes to check that all was as it should be. He was decidedly not happy if he ever found himself alone, or set to one side on the couch. The fever finally broke late on Sunday night. So much for the weekend break. But he’s still not back to normal. The vomit/poop high alert continues. Although the washing machine had been running constantly all weekend, there’s still a surprising amount of hazardous waste material still to be cleaned up from this ordeal. Eventually this cranky, clingy toddler will slowly transform back to his slightly less cranky, clingy normal toddler self. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for some of our clothing and sheets. And I may never look at pears the same way again.