Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Girl Without The Curl

There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead
And when she was good, she was very very good
And when she was bad, she was horrid

Well Avery doesn't have a curl on her forehead - yet. But man, the 2nd half definitely applies. She goes from screaming one minute to smiling the next - enough to throw me into a tailspin trying to figure her out! I think I've finally decided not to try & figure her out. While her screaming, to me, seems like hysterics, to her it apparently is just her way of letting go of excess energy & tiring down - nothing wrong, just the baby stage she's in.

I ended up getting in to the doctor with her yesterday instead of next week. I'd just had it with the constant screaming and the very short naps. I was getting so stressed out with worry. While the pattern is so so similar to what Madison was like as a baby, Avery's intensity is so much stronger. I did a ton of research when Madison was a baby to try to help her sleep skills and, now with Avery, I've been back to the drawing board with research. Though I have seen absolutely no symptoms that there is anything physically wrong with her (colic, reflux, etc.), I endure the constant unsolicited (though well-meaning) advice indicating it must be one of those things. My diagnosis (Dr. Mom ;-) all along has been that her behavior is totally sleep related. Whether she's able to sleep, how much sleep -- the crying, nursing, wake/sleep patterns are all tied to that. Avery's definitely a One-Cycle Sleep Syndrome baby, sleeping through one 45-minute sleep cycle then unable to fall back asleep though she's still tired. The challenge to parents is in the time between when a baby wakes from the short catnap and when it's actually time for them to get up. Is the baby able to handle getting up early or do they still need sleep badly enough to work with the baby or let the baby work back down into sleep? This is my daily challenge right now until she is able to learn completely the art of independent sleep, and it certianly sounds more simple than it is.

So I go to the doctor's (our pediatrician happens to specialize in sleep disorders) and explain all of her behavior, other people's suggestions, and my diagnosis. He commented, "Your diagnosis is correct." (I missed my calling! Should've been a sleep doctor!) It was good to have my observations confirmed and know I'm not crazy (insane maybe, but not crazy... or is that just the same thing repackaged?). He did give me a few ideas and encouraged us to continue what we were already doing, creating the right atmosphere while allowing for minimal intervention at naptime to allow her to learn independent sleep skills.

I came home and reported, "The good news is - there's nothing wrong with her. The bad news is - there's nothing wrong with her." While it would've been nice to write a prescription to "fix" the 'problem', it's good to know she's healthy and we can be confident that she will grow through this over time. (It's just taking more time than we expected & hoped for! Ah the folly of misplaced expectations.)

So in the meantime we just continue to love our little Avery for the baby that she is and tell her she's a good little girl -- even when she is horrid.

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