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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Conversations with Princess Ellie - 3AM Style

Ellie has been getting up at night for about one month now. Almost every night and seriously people I don't know how Dave and I did it for so many years. We have had about a year of her only getting up a few times a month which is like a huge vacation for us after her being up every night and vomiting or being sick and being in pain and before that when she was really little, we would be up with her to keep her breathing...good times.

Her being up again...kinda sucks. She started waking up I think because she is cutting a tooth. She has one really cute adult size front tooth and the other is taking ages to come in but has started to in earnest over the past month. Also, she gets up because she is growing. I was never a night eater as a kid but Dave was - so it's his fault! His gene pool that says, "must have full tummy to sleep!".

So we have been feeding her at night...

Ellie's first Pedi, told us when she was little, if you feed her at night you will train her body to wake up at night to be hungry and need to eat. Now all of you parents out there with kids that are on a continuous drip because your kid needs the calories - this does not apply to you. We have been there and when Ellie was on the drip her reflux was so bad that she woke up every other hour. That is how we spent the first 2.5 or more years of her life. So if you are living that my heart goes out to you.

Now that Ellie is bigger she still wakes up from reflux but also due to hunger and like all well trained NICU parents we get up, feed her, hold her up so the acid goes down and in doing so also end up playing with her. You just feel bad when Ellie is in pain and then she innocently signs "iphone" and you find yourself giving in and before you know it (especially if you are the dad of such an adorable and at times distressed Princess) you have set up her favorite seat and have a video going along with a hot meal all at 3am until 5am...and it starts to get regular.


Two nights ago when Ellie was up, I went in to her, because, oh and this is another thing about raising a kid who has been known to have seizures, and is at risk of aspiration and can't sit up on her own, "cry it out" is medically NOT an option. We can't not go in. We have to check. I go in and I hoist her up on my lap - which takes me a try or two because she's heavy now, and I am annoyed and I say, "Ellie, why are you up? What do you want?" And she looks right at me and signs quite confidently, "iphone".

I say, "Ok let me get this straight, you are only up because you want to play?"

She signs, "yes!" Like, well done Mama, that's right!

I then proceed to read her the riot act:

"Ellie, you can't wake up in the middle of the night just to play any more because Mommy and Daddy are old and we need our sleep. You need your sleep too because you are a big girl and go to school. Mommy is working on her dissertation and needs rest to do that well. When you wake up at night from now on we are not going to eat or play. You are going to have to eat enough in the day. We will always come to help you and if you are in pain or sick we will hold you and help you until you feel better. But you can't get up at 3am any more to play. I love you."

I said all of this pacing each word and pausing between sentences. Sometimes between the sentence she would sign, "iphone" but after the third sentence her sign was more of a question, "iphone?" accompanied by a raised eyebrow.

Then I said, "I am going to hold you for 2 more minutes and then you have to go asleep" To which she reached down to touch her pillow to indicate for me to put her back on her bed. I go to lift her off my lap but she says no and holds my arm tight...

Was that a bluff?!

Ellie's got some eight year old chops to be sure! Ha! (This is the part of me that is always routing for her to give me a hard time and show that spirit and intelligence - that part of me LOVES this!)

I say, "Ok one more minute then."

I hold her for one more minute and then put her on her pillow and tuck her in and she grumbles but roles on her side, inserts thumb and still grumbling acquiesces to our new program of sleep through the night.

Wish us luck because the next stop is super nanny!