Friday, August 20, 2010

It's Been a Hard Day's Night

Thursday was a long day, Thursday night was even longer, and not in that "oh I got so much sleep" sort of way.  I will admit that I have not disclosed some of the rougher moments of this trip. I plan on making a list, and offering some of the solutions we had, or should have had to make our time easier, but last night was so bad, I would feel deceitful if I pretended like I wasn't brought to tears by my son, and had barely enough patience to make it through the night.

We drove from the Bridger Teton National Park, where we had two lovely nights, all the way to Provo, Utah. It was a hard drive. It was windy for 200+ miles, then we hit Provo rush hour traffic set against a backdrop of the sun in our eyes and 30 miles of construction, including uneven pavement and cement barricades with no shoulder. Add Jack having eaten about 60 granola bars, making him extremely regular, and Katie's current need to be fed every 26 minutes, throw in several close calls with small cars who cut us off, and a mix up at the campground requiring us to change spots twice, and you have two very tired parents.

Shawn set up, I took the kids to "the park" which was really some old truck tires half buried in sand and a rusted swing set. Katie was thrilled, Jack, less so. No gravel here. Everything was kind of grubby at the park; it was clearly our second choice, but, it was a place to stay for the night and it had a pool. When Shawn had breathed for 10 minutes he came over to take a walk with Jack while Katie and I swam in the cold pool for 15 minutes just so she couldn't say we didn't take her.
Jack leading Shawn

Dinner was normal, as normal as it can be when you are using a toaster oven to cook strips of beef, pieces of salmon, garlic bread and corn dogs all at the same time. Everyone has been so hungry on this trip, that meals have been frantic, but that's not all that different from being at home.

Something went wrong after dinner. Somehow we missed the window for Jack to go to sleep. Jack has had horrible sleep issues over the years. I think everyone knows the 52 day episode when he just didn't sleep longer than 10 minutes at a time. Things have been more under control in the last few years, if for no other reason than we have made Jack's room safe enough to leave him there by himself, awake. This doesn't mean I don't check on him during those sleepless nights, I do, we do, all night long, but it is just not as stressful as it used to be. We get tired, and it's not fun, but no one gets completely overwhelmed anymore.

After dinner and jammies, I read from the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, Little House in the Big Woods. Jack has really been listening and enjoying the stories, and Katie loves that Laura has brown hair and is spirited like she is. I'm happy reading because I loved the books as a child. So I read, one chapter, two chapters, and still Jack would not lie down.

We turned off all the lights, closed every blind, gave him more blankets, then gave him a snack, and another snack, and some milk, and some water, and I read another chapter, and I rubbed his back, and I petted his hair. Shawn took a turn, I took a turn. He was up and grabby, pulling things off the counter, climbing on the chairs, trying to get past the "Jack blocker", which is basically a net strung across the front of the RV to keep him from getting  to the electronics and the driver's side instrument panel. He grabbed at his sister, who has been game to spar in most wrestling matches, but at 12:30am, she was done. We tried to put him in the back bedroom, but he kept standing up on the bed, threatening to crack the lamp above with his head. It was Shawn's turn to be on watch. I went to grab my shoes to take out the trash and Jack ran into me, knocking me against the dining table edge. My head struck the wood so hard I thought  for sure I was bleeding.

The RV is just not that big. It is of course. It's a behemoth, and spacious and plenty of room for our family, and yet it was not even close when it came to containing Jack. He swept everything off the counters. He got into the sink. I tried to let Shawn sleep, knowing we had a big drive Friday. I laid down next to Jack, kept tugging at his shirt to bring him back to his place on the couch bed. He started pulling my hair, hard. He pulled back my hair and bit at my face, including my very sore forehead. He did it again. And again. He jumped on Katie. He leapt at the door of the RV, which we diligently lock. He jumped onto the bed. He crashed down on me.

Crying, I went to the back bedroom, startling awake Shawn, who jumped to help me. We discussed our options. We always carry liquid Valium with us for situations like this, when Jack is unsafe, or making others unsafe, and cannot be brought back to within normal range with all of the usual incentives. We don't use it often, maybe 3 times a year. We gave him a dose, and I took Katie into the back bedroom with me. It was nearly 3am by this point. Five + hours of restless boy wandering pacing the 34 foot RV. Jack wasn't trying to hurt us, he wasn't crying or even yelling. He was goofy and wanted to play and wrestle. He's never violent, he just doesn't really know his grip, or his strength.

I fell asleep next to Katie, Shawn never came back to bed. I heard Jack make some squeals at 3:50am, the Valium clearly never really worked, Shawn just stayed with him, keeping him safe until they both fell asleep eventually

Great Basin National Park

Jack didn't get hurt. Shawn and I didn't fight. Katie wasn't injured. We survived, and had a great day today. We visited Great Basin National park, which was beautiful. More happy thoughts and more photos tomorrow.
Right now everyone is sleeping and I don't want to miss my chance for uninterrupted sleep.


Patricia Carter said...

Jack is a kid I thing it was expected of him. I like the kid.
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Suzan Baker said...

Sometimes, the kids are a bit difficult at time specially those who have special needs.But he is definitely a good kid.
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