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Oh, What would your mother say?

August 27, 2010

The last couple of days have been incredibly frustrating for both Mr. Spy and myself, although not always for the same reasons. Work is aggravating and anxiety-inducing, and so demanding, that we haven’t been able to get outside and enjoy the stunning weather. So I’m making a concerted effort to be appreciative of the things that are working and not so anxious about the things that are not.

AJ’s been a little out of sorts too. He seems to be settling in at school, but he’s definitely mourning the loss of his free time. So far, the only homework he’s had is to assemble a collection of objects that represent him and prepare a 5 minute presentation to his class. We’ll be working on that over the weekend. Today he is going home after school with a friend to play to celebrate the beginning of the first weekend of the school year. Hopefully he’ll come home feeling better.

Part of AJ’s disgruntlement is almost certainly due to the fact that he has been waking up at night a lot. This is not new to the beginning of the school year. It’s been going on for most of the summer. He’s been having a mix of nightmares and night terrors. He’s had nightmares on and off since he was small. It is always more or less the same. He comes into our room to wake me up and tells me he had a bad dream. Sometimes he tells me about it, sometimes not. I walk him back to bed, sit with him a minute, tuck him in, and leave. But for the past few weeks it’s been night terrors, which are a lot weirder. He comes into my room in an absolute panic, shaking and drenched in sweat. He talks rapidly and incoherently. He repeats himself over and over as he struggles to find words that elude him, as if he is afraid of the silence while he thinks. He talks to me, but it’s almost as if he doesn’t really know I’m there. I guide him back to bed and talk calmly to him. I stroke his back and his head like I used to when he was a baby. It calms him for a minute, but then he grows agitated again. He sits bolt upright. He fidgets. His teeth sometimes chatter. He stands up and sits down. He runs to the bathroom and back again several times, never, as far as I can tell, doing anything while he is inside. He complains of being “so tired” and “so scared.” Eventually I am able to get him into bed, under the covers. I sit with him until his twitching stops and I’m sure he’ll stay put. He falls back asleep. In the morning, he remembers nothing.

I can tell the second he comes in what I’m dealing with. Night terrors are qualitatively different. They have their own internal logic that’s kind of fascinating. His description of what he’s afraid of, if he is able to offer one, often seems more like a rationalization, as if he’s trying to explain it to himself, than a retelling of a dream. They seem to be triggered by exhaustion — they’ve definitely kicked into high gear since he started football practice every night. AJ’s doctor suggested that if we wanted to break the pattern of the terrors, we should start waking him up at night before the time they usually arrive. But we haven’t done it, mainly because they seem to be much more disturbing to me than to him. He does not remember them at all. It’s as if he’s not even awake when they are happening.

Greatly elevating my mood, however, is the humongous set of mix CDs sent to me by Smed a couple of days ago, along with a whole lot of baseball cards for AJ, which he has been playing with almost non-stop since they arrived. I’ve only listened to the first disk so far, which is a terrific collection of 60s era music, some familiar (e.g. The Doors “Break on Through”) and some not. My hands down favorite in the latter category is a song called “Wounded” by The Cookies, which, alas, does not seem to be readily found on the intarwebs beyond the 30 second clip you can hear at Amazon. But it will give you an idea. It’s an eclectic song with sections that veer in style from Motown to Abba. And there’s a harpsichord! Thanks, Smed!

And with that, I get back to tweaking my resume and writing cover letters.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2010 2:57 pm

    Not a problem. I really should update that blog. I just don’t have the mojo or the time. Anyway, the theme of the mix, if you are curious, is “Kill Ugly Radio” – songs released as singles pre-Soundscan that didn’t hit the Top 40.

  2. Lass permalink
    August 30, 2010 9:33 pm

    Oh, I hate to hear that AJ is suffering from night terrors. I am a lifelong nightmare sufferer/sleepwalker and went through a pretty bad bout of night terrors in my adolescence. I would wake the whole house up with my screaming – the first time it happened, my dad bolted into my room, sure someone was in there killing me. I remember vividly what they felt like – waking up in a blind panic, knowing you’re terrified but not sure of what. I hope AJ leaves them behind soon.

  3. August 30, 2010 9:42 pm

    AJ, fortunately, seems to remember nothing of them. In fact, the first time we talked to him about them, he didn’t quite believe me.

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