Little ones, little wins

As an expectant mother I felt I knew everything about parenting. My child would be Ferberized, would sleep through the night, go to bed early, and would never have my baby sleep in my bed, never, ever, ever.

Of course, I was an idiot. Many people have a lot of success on the sleep front, I just happen to not be one of them. Ryan fell asleep standing up on many occasions while I let him “cry it out”. I rocked him for 2 hours many nights. He rarely fell asleep before 9:30pm. He cried, I cried, my husband vetoed my plans and decided for all of our sanity he would lie down with him in our bed, while watching tv, and let him fall asleep. It worked, and continues to, to this day.

When I was pregnant with our second, Ryan started to fall asleep in our bed, and stay there. Matty was never Ferberized because I was petrified that two children awake and crying would send me over the edge. Then, my new little angel decided he hated the crib. I transferred him to a bed at one year and my body was the barrier that kept him off the floor. So it was official, I no longer slept in the same bed as my husband, but I had two happy kids who slept through the night.

A year later nothing has changed. My husband and I only share a bed on vacation, and with two kids under the age of four there haven’t been many weekends away. However, tonight, with lingering colds in tow, we all climbed into my and Matty’s bed at bedtime for fun. It was early, it was unlikely, but I thought why not? Twenty minutes later I was the only one awake, and it was before 8 pm. I won the lottery. I can’t stop smiling.

In the almost four years of parenthood I have learned to relish in the small wins and ignore the noise that surrounds me and challenges all of my parenting instincts. Too much tv, not enough vegetables, oh well. Toilet training remains a struggle, but Ryan told me he had to pee during his bath tonight…and he didn’t do it in the bath tub. Win. I’ll take it. I may still be an idiot, but at least I have two sleeping children and a bath tub free of urine.

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Scientific Explanations, to a Toddler.

Dealing with a sick baby is tough, there’s no doubt about that. Anyone who has had to do it can tell you it’s heart breaking, soul sucking and generally bloody hell.  I’ve gotten past that though, I’ll keep doing everything in my power to improve the quality of life for our baby girl Gwen (she has a very rare form of infantile epilepsy).

My challenge now is how to explain it to my very smart & intuitive son (almost 3.5).   He KNOWS something is going on, he can feel it, yet we’ve not fully explained it to him.  I need to make sure he comprehends it so he doesn’t feel left out, angry or any number of emotions to him indecipherable.  As you can imagine, our daughters care and struggles are not rare topic’s in our house,  my intent is to make him truly understand.  I am hoping by writing this maybe I’ll gain some insight as to how better move forward with explanations while simultaneously,  maybe help to others who are struggling with a similar situation.

Below is a synopsis of our most recent conversation.  If anything strikes you as funny, please remember, even life’s most difficult of situations demand a sense of humour.

Son, you know how your Sis’s not doing the same stuff as other kids right? He replies yes.

It’s because she has epilepsy.  Pause, wait.  He asks “What’s epilepsy”

My explanation: It’s kind of like when you want to do something but your brain isn’t co-operating, you know what your brain is? (he points to his head)  I say; Yes, your brain is in your head, it’s kind of like a computer that controls your body & let’s you think about idea’s, like fire breathing dragons that don’t eat flowers (a story he told me yesterday) it also contains your mind which is less easily explained.  Her brain is making illogical connections and randomly firing neurons.  So it’s basically making her confused and once and awhile making her body do strange movements.  Daddy is looking for a better medicinal solution to help her, we will all help her in any way we can, we love her and we love you.

His response, he looked sad and said “Daddy, I don’t like epilepsy” to which I replied “me neither”

I barely escaped breaking down and freaking out, sure as hell I tell you that! I wanted to explain more but figured that was enough for now.  I know this:  I am glad I broached the subject with my boy and I will revisit it soon. For now, I will continue stomping towards a future that holds therapy’s not yet discovered and or understood.  I hope my son has questions tomorrow, I will be ready to answer them.  We will then build a robotic gorilla hand.