Friday, March 19, 2010

I Find it Hilarious That Sleep Was My Greatest Concern About Being Forced to Return to College as a Middle-Aged Mom.

Despite being drained and overtired from my sinus infection this week, I didn't sleep well last night. Genevieve woke me up overnight, and after that I was awake for several hours, lying in bed and thinking about various worrisome things, mainly related to Julia starting first grade next year. There's nothing like your child's kindergarten parent-teacher conference to get you thinking about first grade coming in just five short months.

Julia's already reading, writing, and doing math at the first grade level, so I'm not concerned about academics. I'm worried about the stamina required to withstand a seven-hour school day, and the fact that while the transition from half-day to all-day school is tiring for most children starting first grade, Julia has particular energy and growth issues that make me truly wonder how she will be able to do it.

We've been having her thyroid and vitamin D levels tested this winter, to see why she's always tired and isn't growing.

(Although, an update: in the past 24 hours, she has complained that two of her pairs of shoes are too small. These are shoes that have fit for almost two years. So Mom, thanks again for buying Genevieve's spring jacket this year, since it looks like I'll have another new expense this weekend in the form of new shoes for Julia.)

So far, Julia's medical tests have been mixed/inconclusive (thyroid) or normal (vitamin D, though it's at the very low edge of the normal range). Nothing has yet explained her difficulty keeping up with other children and having enough energy to really run around and play. She complains of being tired a lot, and naps solidly every day. I always have to think about what she has the stamina to undertake, when planning things as minor as extra after-school playdates or extra-curricular activities like once-a-week gymnastics or art class. And though she eats well and has gained weight appropriately this year, she's still the shortest child in her class (by quite a bit). In June, when she turns six, we will likely seek a pediatric endocrinologist consult, if things do not improve this spring.

But my point is, it's tough to imagine this little worn-out sprout pushing on through lunchtime and an entire afternoon of classroom work next year at school. These are the things that keep me awake at night.

When I finally did fall back to sleep, I had a terrible dream in which I discovered I had not amassed enough college credits to graduate, and was forced to return to Macalester College (after 16+ years) and live in the dorms to finish my degree. I was in a crumbling, multi-room suite with numerous other students and all the beds scattered around a common (noisy) living area (nothing like Macalester in real life, I assure you--at least not nowadays; those kids live in the lap of luxury, I swear!). The worst part was that my roommates were MEAN. They told me that "quiet hours" in the room didn't start until midnight, and they'd be up partying every night until then. No one cared that I'M A MOM TO TWO YOUNG CHILDREN AND NEED TO GO TO SLEEP AT NINE, PEOPLE! They insisted that sleeping time was twelve to twelve. I thought to msyelf, I'll die! I can't stay up until midnight!

Hmmm. So this is what my inner mental life has come to. Worries about my tiny daughter surviving first grade, and nightmares about being forced to stay up socializing until midnight.

3 comments:

Mnmom said...

I have those same dreams too! And in the middle I think "what in the world was I thinking moving back to the dorm when I have three kids and a husband at home??"

Talk to the school Social Worker - she's wonderful and the mom of three girls herself.

Our J had the same growth issues, but the docs felt as long as she was proportional and actually outgrowing clothes, albeit slowly, it would be fine. Your J doesn't exactly come from a long line of large people. But the tiredness would be a worry. Hoping for the best and an easy solution.

Mom said...

I have a feeling that Julia will have a big growth spurt soon. And tired or not, once first grade begins I'll bet she will love it, love eating lunch at school, love going back to the afternoon academics! And then maybe she'll nap on the bus coming home -- or go to bed right after supper! She will adjust! They all do!!

Mom said...

I have a feeling that Julia will have a big growth spurt soon. And tired or not, once first grade begins I'll bet she will love it, love eating lunch at school, love going back to the afternoon academics! And then maybe she'll nap on the bus coming home -- or go to bed right after supper! She will adjust! They all do!!