Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Welcomed Reprieve

It occurred to me this evening that most of my blog posts of late have been about sleep. How dull is that? Seriously, if someone would have told me that I'd be spending most of my free time talking about sleep I would probably have to stifle a yawn.

Here's another post about sleep, although this is a very happy one. I'm amazed at how we can oscillate between horrible and delightful evenings. Last night went well. Sam stayed in bed and other than a tiny lip quiver and a meek, "Will you sit next to me for a bit," he went down without a fuss. As I walked out the door he called, "See you soon, Alligator. I love you. See you at 7!"

Tonight was a good night as well. My heart melted as I walked out the door and he called, "I love you more than chocolate!"

That's all I have to say tonight...not a whole lot. Since my last post was written out of discouragement I figured I'd equal things out a bit and write out of satisfaction and peace. Thanks.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Friendly Totems



In the movie "Inception", Leonardo DiCaprio's character has a "totem" which he uses to test whether or not he is experiencing reality or is in a dream-state. If the top falls over he knows he's experiencing reality. If the top continues to spin he knows he is still in a dream-world.

There are some nights about which I simply cannot publicly blog. This was one of those nights. Out of fear of a future pubescent stumbling across these words I will remain mum. I think it will suffice to say there was a moment tonight when there was not a single dry eye in our house.

I have been reflecting a lot on what it means to be fully present to each moment. One of the dangers of this kind of thinking is the belief that the present moment is the only moment that exists. On nights like tonight my brain only seems to have room for the particular difficulty that is immediately present. The thought of life outside Sam's bedroom seldom crosses my mind. The sleep issue can be so present before me that it seems larger than life while everything else just barely manages to show up in my periphery. While I like the thought of being present to the moment, I often need help keeping things in perspective or I'm suddenly swimming in despair.

John and I have found it helpful to step outside following particularly difficult sequences. We look at the Indiana sky. We breath. But mostly we look for a neighbor to share in brief, often mundane conversations. There is something about talking with another person outside of our immediate family that immediately snaps us back into reality and puts things in perspective.

So at the risk of objectifying dear friends, tonight I'd like to thank G.B., Dave, and Amy for acting as my totems.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Living on a Coke and a Prayer

It's now been over 6 months since the sleep issues started. Six blurry months. Early in this saga one of the things that John and I took comfort in was the thought, "Surely by spring we'll be back to normal." And then, "This will all be sorted out by the summer." Nope. Nevertheless, I'm glad I didn't know way back in December how long this ordeal was going to be. It would have been too depressing.

Early last spring I was asked to speak at the youth camp I'm currently at. The request came on a particularly bad night and after looking at the calendar and seeing John was already away at a conference I responded with a "no" to the camp explaining that our family calendar just couldn't allow it. Normally when I turn down a speaking job I feel a sense of relief at not adding to my calendar. This time, however, as soon as I hit "send" I felt uneasy. I wrestled with this feeling for a while before telling John, "I don't know why, but I think I'm supposed to do this camp." I ended up calling someone on the leadership team and saying something along the lines of, "If you still need someone I can make it work." They did, and so I'm here.

Back when I agreed to come I did so with the assumption that the sleep stuff would be sorted out. It's not. I also had a secret hope that maybe God would grant me a dispensation during these two weeks to allow for some extra sleep. God didn't as evidenced by the croup-filled, albuterol-infused nights.

Normally I'm the kind of person who takes at least 30 minutes to fall asleep. Normally I'm the kind of person who drinks Coke at 2 pm knowing it will keep me up until 2 am. But these are not normal times. I'm living on Coke and asleep the minute I close my eyes. It's full throttle living. (Speaking of which, I'm scheduled to play Jello-Wiffleball tonight--I'm sure that will lull me to sleep.)

Nevertheless I'm glad I'm here. I remember the first day of camp telling God that I wanted to be obedient regardless of whether or not I saw results (though I'll confess I whined that this was a "big ask" for God to make and that results, though not necessary would be nice). Without going into detail, last Wednesday I was about thirty seconds into a conversation when it seemed like the Holy Spirit was whispering in my ear, "This is why you're here." And here I am glad to be.

We leave for Indiana on Saturday which means three more nights of five of us sleeping in the same room. Sam had another dose of the crazies a few nights ago. I think God decided if Sam was going to get me up he might as well throw some humor in there.

So after two days of kiddie rides at Nicolodeon Universe, Sam sat straight up in bed and began yelling, "PUT ME BACK ON THE RIDE! PUT ME BACK ON THE RIDE!"

So I did the only reasonable thing a mother could do at that moment. I went with it.

"Do you want to ride The Flyboat again?" I asked.

"YES!" yelled Sam, "PUT ME ON THE FLYBOAT!"

So I picked him up, laid him back down and bed, and said, "Okay, here comes your seat belt," as I pulled up the covers. And satisfied, he slept.

(I totally got suckered into buying this picture. Who wouldn't with a face like that?)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lifter

My father-in-law has a fitting nickname: Lifter. Two years ago John and I went to Tobago to speak at a pastor's conference (rough, I know). My in-laws graciously agreed to watch Sam. My father-in-law is the one with the stronger back, and so whenever Sam needed to be lifted from his crib or highchair his grandma would say, "Let's call the Lifter-Man."

I saw my father-in-law yesterday. This is only odd because he lives in Indiana and I'm currently in Iowa. I was in the middle of changing Clara's diaper when I happened to look outside and catch a glimpse of a man.

"Hey! That man looks like Keith," I thought to myself while resuming diaper duties. A split second later I remembered my father-in-law's personality and thought, "Wait a minute, I'll bet that IS Keith."

So I finished my job and started towards my door. Sure enough. It was Keith.

"I'm just stopping by to pray for you," he said. And he did.

This is the kind of person my father-in-law is. He had something going on in the Dakotas, saw I was an hour out of his way, and on a whim stopped by for all of five minutes. Simply to pray and hug his grandkids.

Maybe I'll start calling him "Lifter", too.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Full Moon Over Floyd

This afternoon we made the trek back from Minneapolis to good old Floyd, Iowa. As much as I loved high school camp, there's something special about the middle schoolers that arrived today. They are just so eager-puppy-ish. Within 5 minutes of their arrival I was already asked if someone could see where I was staying. Within 10 minutes a "Lost and Found" had already been established. The Snack Bar posted a sign that any kid who spends $100 this week will get a free soda. They high schoolers roll their eyes at a sign like that. The middle schoolers don't catch the absurdity of the deal and are already plotting.

The camp nurse is a man and when a young girl approached saying she had scraped her, ahem, derriรจre, the nurse responded, "I hope you don't want me to look at it, because that's Amanda's department." As soon as the nurse was out of the room she proved to me that she didn't quite catch his sarcasm. Zero warning. Sigh.

I love middle schoolers (and yes, I acknowledge that's a bit awkward to admit immediately following that last paragraph). But I do. I really do. And I'm enjoying ministering alongside the band Encounter from Bethany Bible College. I had no clue you could mix-up Coldplays' "Viva La Vida" with "Blessed Be Your Name," but it totally works and I have a new favorite song. The only problem is that this Coldplay was #1 on my labor mix and I have a difficult time hearing it without practicing my Lamaze breathing. At any rate it makes for some really interesting worship.


(By the way, rough night of sleep...praying for something more substantive tonight.)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mall of America

On the ferris wheel
 While Sam loves animals, he does not like over-sized red-eyed tree frogs.
At Rainforest Cafe--Towards the end of dinner Sam asked, "Now can we see the real animals?" He was devestated to learn they were all fake.
 The aquarium at the Mall of America.
 Babysitter extraordinare
 Sam loved the log ride and cried that he couldn't go on the rollar coasters, but he still said the carousel was his favorite.
 Clara's first ride. Love that girl.
Swiper's ride
 On the "Flyboat". This is Seewious.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Time Our Apartment Did Not Blow Up (Recycled post)


(This is a recycled post that I put up years ago. I'm in the midst of speaking at a youth camp and while it's going well, I'm wiped. So nothing new tonight. Just an oldie.)

This is a story from 2003. It's a story about the time when our apartment did not blow up.

John and I had subletted our apartment for a summer and when we returned home we noticed it smelled...different. It was not necessarily a bad smell, it just wasn't our smell. It didn't smell like us. So I immediately set to work lighting candles, opening windows, and waving doors open and shut to try to regain the Drury scent (whatever that might be).

As I paused to sniff the air yet again, I realized there was something familiar to the smell. Something was burning.

I did a quick glance around the apartment to make sure there were not any open flames. While I did not see any open flames, I noticed that the smell seemed to be considerably stronger in the kitchen. I knelt beside an outlet, took a whiff, and jumped back by the strong burning smell I had taken in. I quickly walked over to another outlet nearby, took a sniff, and encountered the same burning smell. I went from outlet to outlet in our 400 square foot apartment, each time finding a strong burning smell.

I hurried into the bathroom, smelled the outlet, and reached to grab John a towel (he was in the shower...he didn't know our apartment was about to blow up). As I opened my mouth to tell him we had to leave I caught a look at my reflection in the mirror...I was missing a rather large chunk of my hair.

Apparently, while lighting candles I managed to light my head on fire. And every time I knelt down to smell an outlet the singed endings of my hair were coming into my line of smell.

That's my story.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Youth Camp Ramblings

We arrived safely at camp and were ushered into a beautiful new renovated room. It was pristine and clean with unbelievably comfortable beds. The beauty of the room, however, did not make up for the fact that there were five of us in 15x15 room directly above the tabernacle meaning the kiddos were quite literally rocking to sleep. Even this wouldn't have been too much of a problem except for the fact that we had an unending cycle of children waking each other up. And when one of those kids has a sleeping disorder it's even more fun (note the sarcasm).

So after a bit of investigating we've relocated off-site to an equally beautiful lodge ten miles away. This short distance has actually been helpful for me--I leave the kids at the lodge with the sitters and then am able to be more fully present to the teens. Speaking of the sitters, they are amazing. Wonderful! The kind of sitters that when you tell them they can take some time off their faces fall and they ask if they could just play with the kids instead. (And no, I'm not sharing their names with you because they are mine. MINE, I tell you!)

Ah, teen camp. I study the spiritual lives of teenagers for a job and yet, this concentrated dose of reality always jolts me a bit. I forgot about those seemingly random conversations that come up. ("So once my uncle was near the Empire State Building and he wanted to find this restaurant on his iPhone and he kept tying it in and he couldn't find it and he kept walking back and forth right in front of it and he literally missed it because he was on his iPhone trying to find it." This was said in response to my statement of, "That was a crazy game this morning. I thought someone was going to get killed.")

And my heart always aches to see that one kid by herself, following a small crowd at a short distance. My heart also aches knowing that in a camp of this size there are a high number of teens dealing with eating disorders or some kind of abuse. Often times camping experiences are disorienting enough (in the positive way) to jolt the individual into the realization that the pain they are experiencing back home can and should stop. Ah, teen camp.

The schedule is pretty hectic and I've got my "vacation responder" on my email account to buy me some wiggle room in my response time. I laugh every time I set up my responder because I can't help but think about a misunderstanding I had with one of my teens when I was a youth pastor. I was away at a conference and put up a responder that read,

"Thanks for the email. I'm out of the office and will respond shortly."

One of my dear, sweet students got this message after emailing me a question about the start time of a youth event. She got the automatic message and wrote:

"I forgot you were out of the office. Would you mind telling me the time anyway?"

Again she received, "Thanks for the email. I'm out of the office and will respond shortly."

To which she replied, "I KNOW YOU'RE NOT IN THE OFFICE BUT CAN YOU PLEASE JUST TELL ME WHAT TIME IT STARTS?"

And that's why my vacation responder always begins with, "This is an automated response."

Love you, Sophers!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

German Celebrities and the Middle of the Midwest

Both John and I have fond memories of visiting various "church camps" with our families. In both of our cases our fathers were often guest speakers. I've been eager to bring Sam and Clara along to some of these camps. I love the thought of them finding playmates they will later reconnect with in college. I love the idea of having them traips across the states experiencing different slices of America. I love the idea of them getting glimpses of what various worship styles look like.

And so it's with great joy I announce that the great Drury tour of the middle of the Midwest has begun! I packed up Sam and Clara, drove to Michigan City where I picked up two amazing babysitters (thank you, Lord), and am currently in Coal Valley, Illinois where we'll spend the next 36 hours before traveling to Iowa. Following a week of high school camp we'll travel up to Minneapolis to the Mall of America where we'll visit Nickelodeon Studios and the Rainforest Cafe. Why the Rainforest Cafe? Have you not been listening to anything I've said about Sam?

So if anyone has any restaurant/attraction recommendations for the Quad Cities, Floyd, Iowa, or Minneapolis, let me know!

Now, when I agreed to this camp it was with full knowledge that John would be doing his own previously scheduled conference and wouldn't be available to tag along. This camp was also agreed upon before the sleep-stuff with Sam got really bad. My anxiety was quite high a month or two ago at the thought of being without John during this high pressured time. Now I know I could have asked that he skip his conference and help me out, but that would be like asking David Hasselhoff to please button his shirt. He would do it, but he would be very, very sad. This conference for John is the equivalent of the theological Oscars (Oooooh! There's Robert Jenson! Egad! Kathryn Tanner!). So John will be on the east coast while I'm hanging in the middle. While the timing is not ideal, we're both happy to be where we are at. And praise the Lord for my babysitters! Love them!

I'm somewhat hopeful that we can get a better night's sleep tonight. Last night was rough with Sam awake from 11:30-1:10 am. This evening I made the discovery that his asthma inhaler we've been using faithfully was out. Apparently I'm not yet skilled enough to tell when it's empty. I'm hoping the fresh does of medicine will make things easier on him (and me).

Before we left this morning we gathered in the garage for a quick family prayer. Both John and I prayed similar prayers--safety, health, happiness, SLEEP. Sam closed by mumbling something incoherent.

"What did you pray for, Sam?" I asked.

"Japan." He replied, as in, "Duh, Mom, can't you get your mind off of yourself and pray for one of the decade's largest disasters?"

Speaking of me and myself, if you think about it I would certainly appreciate prayers for the following:

1. Safety and health
2. Sleep
3. The hearts of the students I will be preaching to--youth camps can be emotionally taxing in a healing sort of way in that so often it's in these kinds of contexts that various hurts are unveiled (abuse, cutting, eating disorders, etc). My heart is often heavy at youth camp for many of these students.
4. That we would be conscious of the breath of the Spirit.
5. And of course, Japan.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Update

No surgery for Sam! The ENT said quite firmly he didn't think it would help. He said he didn't even consider him borderline. I'm thankful for the firm response. I was afraid it would be a "well, maybe this could help but we don't know," kind of response. The certainty is nice.

I asked what could be causing the excess CO2 and he, too, ruled out a few lung diseases. Sometimes smokers have these symptoms, but I'm guessing Sam's meager allowance can't support the allowance so we'll cross that possibility off the list. Plus I know how Sam feels about cigarettes.

The ENT thinks it's all connected with asthma and that Sam's nighttime breathing will get easier the longer he's on his asthma medicine. The medicine has to be in his system for a while in order to help him maintain normal breathing capacity.

Sam's getting used to doctors. And I'm pretty sure he pays more attention than I initially realized because at one point he interrupted the doctor and said, "I'm just going to write down the things you're saying," and then proceeded to scribble on his Magnadoodle.

As we were leaving I said something along the lines of, "I'm so proud of you, Sam. You were so brave when the doctor wanted to look up your nose."

He responded, "He didn't look in my ears. That's the really tricky part."

I love this kid!

The Time I Went to Buy an iPad and Left with a Secretary

I wasn't interested in the iPad until it occurred to me that I could use it for Keynote Presentations at conferences/churches/etc. I thought it would be the ultimate traveling buddy. After arriving at the Apple Store, however, I found out it doesn't sync with a remote, meaning that I would have to press a button on the iPad to move around from slide to slide. I left the store unconvinced I wanted to spend $500 on a piece of equipment that was quickly moving from the category of "work-related" to "fun-related". It's not that I'm not willing to buy a little fun, but I wasn't quite sold. I heard the recent sermon series in my head as I walked through the mall asking myself, "Will this make my life simpler?" And the answer was an resounding "no."


So instead of the iPad, I got a personal secretary. After leaving the Apple store I walked to a cookie story to surprise John with a gourmet oreo cookie (what a wife). While I was there I decided to simplify my life further and leave my phone on the counter. It wasn't until I drove the hour home that I realized it was missing. My phone has been sitting at the mall's customers service department for the past 36 hours where a very, very sweet lady has been answering my phone and relaying the message that I am not available--all on her own initiative. 


It's been pretty nice so far. Instead of getting calls from people I get emails beginning with things like, "A nice lady at the mall told me you don't have your phone so I thought I would email you." I could get used to this.


Sadly, I'll be relieving her of her duties late this afternoon. Sam has an ENT appointment in Indy so I figured I might as well pick up my phone as well. Goodbye, sweet secretary.


I'm trying to not get my hopes up that the appointment will give us any progress concerning Sam's diagnosis. Even if this doctor does agree that his adenoids need to go we won't be looking at surgery until early July since I'm leaving for Iowa tomorrow with the kiddos. 


But an adenoidectomy would be wonderful if it will help with the night-wakings. Last night Sam got up three times. It's gonna be a rough day. This kid is keeping us on our toes with his every-other-night-mess-with-our-heads-routine. One night he sleeps all night long. The next night he regularly makes his presence known. I'm going a bit nutty. The other day I shared how sleeping a full night felt like someone gave me prescription glasses to wear when I didn't even realize the full extent of my vision failings. Now it seems like the glasses are being jerked off my face every other day. I don't like it. I can remember all too well what it feels like to sleep. Sigh.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

1000 Steps Forward, 800 Steps Back

Will I disappoint you, Reader, if I tell you that last night was rough? Three wake-ups with Sam being up for the day around 5:30 am. The red-eyed, droopy-lidded child is back...at least for the day. Though I have every reason to hope for a better night tonight.

Last night was still better than what was going on a week ago. I just got spoiled these past three nights. It's like Sam has hit a solid single but I was hoping for another home run. Oh well. I know this will take time.

In other news, I went shopping today and the first swimsuit I tried on worked. This is clearly a miracle and a definite sign of God's favor. Proof I have not been abandoned.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

ADHD and the Sleep Deprived Kid

When I was in third grade, I walked into an optometrist's office thinking my eye sight was just fine. It wasn't until I left his office with my new pair of glasses that I realized just how poorly I had been seeing. I remember telling my mom, "Look! All the trees have leaves!"

I've had a similar experience with sleep. I've known I was sleep deprived for the past six months, but I didn't really grasp just how bad it was until I started sleeping again. Last night, for the first time in who knows how long, Sam not only went to bed without a peep, he stayed in bed until 6:45 am. This means that I, too, stayed in bed until 6:45 am. My night was completely uninterrupted. I've had three good nights of sleep in a row and I can feel a huge difference. I wake up feeling awake. I don't drag in the afternoon. My mind is no long fuzzy. I'm motivated. I'm taking deep breaths. I feel remarkably alive.

The extra sleep is making a difference in entire family--Sam especially. I had hoped that some of the daytime behavioral issues we were having would fade as he got more sleep. They have.

Sleep deprivation in children often mimics ADHD. Doctors have a hard time guesstimating how many children have been medicated for hyperactive behavior when in fact what they need is a few more hours of sleep. When Sam was getting 7-ish hours of sleep he was melting down at the tiniest offence (like when I refused to put honey under his pillow so it would "smell good"). Inadequate time asleep meant the next day he would oscillate between laying on the couch with glazed over eyes, and chasing after house flies with the kind of frenzy that sent me to Google things like, "Does my child have ADHD?" I am so grateful that our pediatrician didn't take the "easy" route and simply write a prescription for hyperactive behavior. I'm glad she had the foresight to see Sam's hyper activity as being a symptom, not a cause.

If someone told me a year ago that I would be celebrating sleeping through the night in June of 2011 I would have assumed they were talking about Clara. Nope. Not the baby, the toddler. Clara was sleeping for 5-hour stretches at 3-days-old. This stretched to 8 hours at a month and increased from there until we hit 12-hour nights which is what we're currently enjoying. God was merciful. She's a doll. A complete doll. She is two days shy of 7-months and is beginning to get the hang of sitting unassisted. Really the only fussing we get is when we don't get the oatmeal in her mouth fast enough.

I had to mention Clara because a number of you (family included) have said along the lines of, "Um, sometimes I forget you have another kid." Clara is doing just fine. And I think the rest of us are as well.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Sleep: It Does A Body Good

No news on the adenoids yet. If he needs surgery it will probably be after the Iowa camp. Speaking of which I've got two babysitters traveling with me which is a huge answer to prayer.

For the second night in a row Sam has fallen asleep by himself without any crying or leaving his room. He's currently on a third of the dosage he was prescribed to help him sleep. I'm sure it will get tougher after he's off the stuff completely, but so far so good. Once again we had a day without any bathroom accidents or temper tantrums. It seems like our old Sam is coming back.

Last night I got six hour of uninterupted sleep. I slept for six hours straight. This is a good thing. And while I like Sam did not have any accidents or tantrums, what was even more exciting was that I got to dissertate.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Could This Be Our New Normal? Pretty Please?

Friday night: Asleep by 9:30 pm after 20 minutes of crying. Woke up at 4:17 am and cried for 31 minutes. Woke up for the day at 6:45 am.

Saturday night: Asleep by 8:00 pm after 30 minutes of crying. Woke up at 4:19 am and cried for 17 minutes. Woke up for the day at 6:45 am.

Saturday's stats indicate that Sam slept more last night than he has for a long, long time. I've been astounded by the changes in his daytime behavior after a decent night's sleep. He didn't throw a single fit today. He went to Sunday School with a smile. He stayed in his chair at the restaurant. He told us every single time he needed to use the restroom. He was downright pleasant.

Tonight he fell asleep on his own at 7:45 pm. No tears. No getting out of bed. Just a brief quiver of the lip. I cannot remember the last time Sam went to bed this easily. July of 2010 perhaps? I walked downstairs in a daze trying not to get my hopes up that this could be our new normal.

We expected the sleep re-introduction plan to be much harder. We expected it to take longer. I know it will probably get rougher as he's completely weened off his sleep medication, and I'm bracing myself for setbacks, but for now I'm simply grateful.

This gratefulness is occasionally punctuated with extreme annoyance that we were not doing this sleep regiment months ago. But I have to remind myself that we would have enforced a sleep regiment on a 3-year-old with a serious breathing problem. I have to remind myself that we were not simply being indulgent parents, we were following the advice of numerous doctors who said numerous times, "Do not attempt to modify behavior" until we can figure out what's going on medically speaking.

Tomorrow we should find out whether or not Sam will undergo surgery in the near future. And surprisingly, I'm not anxious. I'm simply grateful for a peaceful evening spent walking through campus, eating cookie dough ice cream, and chatting with an out of town friend.

Thank you for your prayers. They are keenly felt.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Pulling Weeds: Sleep Study Report

Three days ago I was weeding a flower bed (is it still called a flower bed if there aren't any flowers?). Sam asked to help. I instructed him on how to pull up a weed by its roots in order to keep it from growing back. He got the hang of it pretty quickly.

Last month we were told numerous times by numerous doctors "not to attempt behavior modification" until we can uncover the medical problems prompting the night wakings. Trying new tactics to get Sam to sleep would be like snapping off a weed without getting at the root. It would be futile. 

Well, folks, we identified the root and we officially started weeding. We found out today that in addition to asthma Sam has unusually high levels of carbon dioxide when he sleeps. This can be caused by a number of things. Thankfully, all of the scary culprits have been ruled out. There's a good chance the extra carbon dioxide is a result of his adenoids getting in the way. We'll meet with the ENT next week (again) to see whether or not his diagnosis gels with the pulmonologists. If so, we'll have them removed.

The root of the problem is the asthma/carbon dioxide levels. Both of these are being treated. Medically speaking he has made huge strides since our last visit a month ago, breathing tests indicate he is breathing much, much better now. This root, however, grew and sprouted something called "sleep-onset association disorder", which is a fancy way of saying that Sam does not think he can sleep without a parent nearby.


Now that we know what kind of root we are dealing with we can start the weeding process. Now that we know it will not be detrimental to Sam's health to enforce a strict bedtime procedure we can begin enforcing more boundaries. For example, no more cup of water in bed which leads to leaking through two overnight diapers a night. When apnea was a possibility there was a concern that he was extra thirsty (due to the kind of breathing apnea requires). No apnea, no cup.

We enforced a strict bedtime tonight. Not only did we enforce a strict bedtime we were able to do so with confidence that we were doing what was best for Sam without any fear that we were damaging the poor boy.

Our doctor sent us home with a very, very detailed plan of what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. I peppered her with questions for a good 20 minutes, "What if Sam gets a dirty diaper?" "What if he just screams for two hours straight?" She patiently answered my questions. When I asked her how long she thought it would take to get him sleeping "normally", she smiled and said, "The smarter the kid, the longer it takes. Sam is a very bright child." Gee, thanks.

Sam fell asleep within 20 minutes or so tonight. It was tough. He cried. His pathetic cries of, "I just want a hug," were a little rough to hear. But for the first time in months Sam fell asleep without a parent next to him. I should add it certainly didn't hurt that we gave him a small dose of a prescription sleep aid--this no doubt meant he fell asleep after 20 minutes of crying instead of 2 hours of crying. While it would obviously be better for him to fall asleep drug-free, nights like tonight will prove to Sam mentally that he can fall asleep without his daddy scratching his back or armpit (yes, this strange, strange child often asks for him to scratch his armpit. I will not do this once he hits puberty).

We have our plan puttied to the wall outside of his door along with Post-its of helpful reminders like, "This is good for Sam; this is good for us." I know it will get tougher as we move the bedtime earlier to a more "normal" time. I know we'll have some tough nights as we ween him off the medicine. And I've no doubts his middle of the night awakenings will feel torturous as he will have to go back to sleep without a parent or a sleep drug. But I am so, so relieved to finally have a plan. I'm feeling hopeful and empowered. And I know eventually Sam will, too.

As you think about it, we would appreciate your prayers:

1. I'm still fighting dread as I think about the middle of the night. I will be surprised if we don't have at least two hours of screaming sometime between midnight and 5 am.

2. For a consensus among the doctors concerning Sam's adenoids.

3. And then one more cherry-on-top request: IF Sam needs his adenoids out, there is a SLIGHT chance this could happen next Wednesday. This would be huge since I leave a week from today to speak in Iowa for two weeks. This surgery depends on 1) the ENT's diagnosis and 2) an open slot in the operating room on Wednesday which is when our doctor operates. I'd love to take an adenoid-free kid with me.

Thank you for your prayers and support. I know we still have a long ways to go, but at least we know which direction we're heading.



Thursday, June 02, 2011

Fullness of Joy, Sigmund Freud, and Lady MacBeth

Late last night I sat in our family room surrounded by visiting family. The kids were in bed and the adults were all laughing. We were having the kind of conversations that only families or close friends can have--the kind full of inside jokes, knowing looks, and the occasional roasting--all done without any worries that someone might be offended. It was freeing and uproariously fun. In the midst of the laughter I had a moment of dread. I thought to myself, "Ugh. Sam will be up in about 3 hours asking for who knows what." The dread of the night was threatening to steal the joy of the moment.

And then it occurred to me: I've been forcing myself to live in the moment during the rough times. I've had to focus on my current tasks without extrapolating into the future. If I give my hard times the privilege of full presence, why not do the same for my joyful times. Why not work just as hard to be fully present to joy. And so I did. And it was a wonderful evening. I laughed without dreading the coming hours. I enjoyed the evening to the fullest.

An interrupted night's sleep is fertile grounds for the ability to remember vivid dreams. Last night, for example, I dreamt that I was running around The Mall of America as quietly as I could so as to not disrupt the rogue toddlers who were looking for me in order to shoot me. Yes, you read that right. I was being hunted by three-year-olds toting pistols. With bullets. Which they used on me whenever I accidentally made a sound. How about them apples, Freud?

The gun-sling toddlers were interrupted by Sam who ran into my room yelling, "Clean my hands! Clean my hands!" Given the craziness of our nights I fully expected him to follow this out with the pronouncement, "Out, damned spot!" (Act 5, scene 1, line 35 for all you nerds out there.)

So it was a rough night, but I am pleased to say that its threatening shadow did not siphon the joy out of the previous evening.

"The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace." Romans 8:6

"In your presence there is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11

I am enjoying the fullness of joy this morning!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Night Time Crazies: Exhibit A

11:48 pm

Sam: (Whilst crying) "Mommy, I want honey under my pillow."
Me: (Certain Sam is confused) "You mean you want money under your pillow? Like the tooth fairy?"
Sam: (Anger-ball style) "NO! I WANT HONEY UNDER MY PILLOW."
Me: "You want honey under your pillow?"
Sam: "YES! I WANT HONEY UNDER MY PILLOW."
Me: "Okay, Sam. I understand that you want honey under your pillow."
(Sam relaxes)
Sam: "My back is between my bottom."
Me: (Certain Sam is confused and is talking about his vertebrae) "You mean you have bumps between your back?"
Sam: (Anger-ball style) "NO! MY BOTTOM IS BETWEEN MY BACK!"
Me: "Okay, Sam. I understand that you're saying your bottom is between your back."
(Sam relaxes)
Sam: "I want a flower my hand has never touched."
Me: (Now certain Sam is just in la-la-land) "Okay, Sam. I understand that you want a flower your hand has never touched."
(Sam relaxes and falls asleep)

What?! It's like I'm living in one of those fairy tales where the heroine has to do three impossible tasks to break the evil spell.  Friday's appointment cannot come fast enough.