Friday, March 30, 2012

Bleary Eyed

It was a tough night last night!  Ironically, the baby slept great(7 hours straight!).  It's the toddler who was up at 10:15, 11:30, 12:30, 2:00.....He's so cute and personable during the day but so beastly at night.  My guess is that there was something bothering his belly.  Because he has bad nights frequently I have tried to keep track of what he's eating the night before when they happen.  He definitely has problems when he eats things with artificial the sugar free popsicles I accidentally bought instead of the regular kind.  Last night he had some packaged cookies from his siblings' school fundraiser...I will have to check the ingredients. 

I have honestly not slept an entire night in over 10 years...not since before Peter was born.  Peter always had horrible sleep issues.  We figured out he had a dairy and gluten intolerance at the same time we really knew that he was not developing normally.  It was on our anniversary, October 24, 2003.  I had known something wasn't right for a while.  He was 2 years and 2 months and not saying a word and was just "so hard".  He didn't play with toys, he didn't really interact much with us and he was just constantly all over the place.  I remember making excuses as to why he didn't wave "bye" to people(too busy to focus), or constantly climbing things(just a boy), or constantly spinning pot lids(a game he played).  The lack of speech I couldn't justify, though.  I remember praying feverishly as his second birthday passed and each day felt like a black hole as his speech failed to develop.  The pediatrician we had at 18 months had told us to wait 6 months.  The new pediatrician I got when he was 2 called in Early Intervention but still didn't think anything was concretely wrong....that was all before they started doing autism screenings.  Had they asked the right questions they would have known that Peter didn't have any congnitive language skills either, or point, and he had lost the one word(dada) and the babbling he was doing when he was 15 months old. 

I had actually gone to Mass that October morning in 2003 with Peter and Ellie(who was 6 months old).  A woman came up to me after Mass and said, "I noticed that your son has a lot of signs of Autism. My grandson had the same problems and his were diet related."   I was in shock.  i felt like I was having an out of body experience.  But I also knew in my gut that what she said was was an answer to prayer and the beginning of our journey into the world of special needs. 

I took Peter off milk that very moment.  Jay and I went out to dinner that night and when I called home to check on the kids at 9 my dad said that everyone was fine and Peter was asleep.  I was shocked.  Peter never went to bed before 11 and he was always like an energizer bunny on speed for the few hours before bedtime.  I was sure he would be up all night after going to bed so early....but he slept all night long!  I knew that we were on to something with the diet change.  We removed gluten, too.  Anytime he got into those foods, or anything with yeast, he would be awake for hours in the middle of the night unable to sleep.  Which meant one of us was up for hours trying to keep him quiet so he didn't wake the whole house!  Many times his sensory system was just out of wack and that caused sleepless nights, too.  It probably happened 3 to  4 nights a week until he was about 8 when he seemed to get better.(Right around the time Luke was born!).  Now he only has bad nights occassionally and it's almost always diet related.

Not sleeping is hard.  I thank God for the nights when I am able to be patient after being awakened so many times!(Some sleepless nights are not so pretty.)  I know that Luke will grow out of it...Jon was a tough sleeper too and started sleeping better when he was 3.  I prayed every day that I was pregnant for Kate to be a good sleeper.  It seems God has answered that prayer!  So, hopefully, I am a mere 5 months or so from sleeping more than 3 hours in a row!  I'm not sure my body will know what to do with that much sleep!

A woman we knew with a large family always used to say, "When you get to Heaven, I'll be the one sleeping in the corner."  I think I will be joining her!!!