My two-year-old needs a LOT of sleep. So much sleep that I try to avoid telling people how much of it she needs so as to not get evil glares. The thing is, she doesn’t fall asleep well. All of the events of the day take it’s toll on her at night, and it’s difficult for her to relax. She falls in and out of restless sleep and then eventually around 1am falls into a REM.
Because of this, it is absolutely impossible to wake her up before 9am. I mean, you CAN wake her up, but what ensues is a day that will leave you balled up in a corner somewhere crying and pleading for it to end. So basically, I try to avoid at all costs anything that requires waking her up before then. And here’s where the trouble starts…..
Last week she hit a major milestone and she graduated from Physical Therapy. This was an amazing accomplishment, and a bittersweet parting as we had really grown to love her therapist. But the time had come and so we were down to just Occupational Therapy. Lately, it’s been challenging finding a time when I can take her to OT. Trying to juggle my husband’s schedule, my son’s school schedule and her therapy is a feat in itself, but trying to fit it into the very few appointment slots they have for her is impossible.
I fully realize that Therapists are busy. They have lots of kids to see and very limited amount of time to see them. My problem is that appeasing the great therapy schedule means waking my daughter up at 8am. And this is the part that I have trouble explaining to people. It’s not THAT big of a deal right? I mean, it’s just one hour earlier….
Here’s why it’s a big deal: when I throw her schedule off to go to a therapy appointment she is great… for about an hour. Then the whining and the tantrums start. Putting on clothes and shoes is next to impossible. The drive to the therapy is excruciating on all of our nerves and eardrums. At therapy she is unresponsive and will not cooperate. After therapy she is a screaming-rolling-on-the-floor mess. When I pick up my son from school, everyone stares at me having to physically carry my daughter like a sack of potatoes, kicking and screaming, to his kindergarten class. I get comments about keeping her under control, about how bad her behavior is, etc. Then at naptime, she’s so upset, she can’t sleep so she screams the whole time. When she gets up, she whines and cries most of the night until bedtime when she really lets me have it and barely gives her father or I a wink of sleep. We take turns rocking her and attempting to calm her down. And the next day we pretty much have to seclude ourselves, not go anywhere or do anything as yesterday’s events were traumatizing enough for her. So in essence that one little hour of sleep has affected 2 days worth of time.
So how do I explain this to the world? To the moms who want to go on a playdate because it’s a beautiful day? To the therapists who only have one slot available this week? To the people who do not understand why it’s THAT big of a deal to just slightly change your schedule to accommodate them. I just shrug my shoulders and smile and hope that they don’t think that I’m a horrible human being.
The schedule is king in our house. We live and we die by it. And it stinks that when I try to explain that to people, even therapists, the importance of it gets lost in translation. But that’s the life we live right now, and I have to be unapologetic about it.