Monday, May 01, 2006

Sisyphusian torment?

In Greek mythology Sisyphus was condemned by the Gods to spend all eternity pushing a boulder to the top of a hill, only to see it roll back down again for him to start his task again. Now I can't claim that we have been suffering to that degree, but when Oliver refuses both to eat and to sleep and is consequently less than happy in himself, life starts to feel like some sort of punishment. Hayley puts a lot of time and effort into making him nice home-made food and it can be very demoralising to have to pour much of it into the bin uneaten and then start again with the same probable outcome.

On Friday Oliver decided that all he would eat was yoghurt. One yoghurt in fact. All other meals - lovingly home-made by Hayley - were refused. (His bottles were accepted, thankfully.) As a consequence he went to his bath hungry, having whinged from dinner-time to bath-time, then spent most of his bath very uncharacteristically complaining. Finally he was satisfied when he got out of the bath and had his bedtime bottle.

Surprisingly after a day with next to no food Oliver then slept really well! So I've decided to do my best not to worry when he goes off his food for a day. (Easier said than done!)

One of our Health Visitors (Geraldine) came round the other day and suggested that the fact Oliver has his dummy sometime during the day but not at night might be contributing to his sleep problems. This makes sense (even though offering him his dummy in the night doesn't necessarily appease him) so for the last 4 days we've not been giving him his dummy to nap in the daytime. He's complained a bit but thankfully he still goes off to sleep very quickly. He just has the same comforters as he does in the night: Julien and his blanket. He's even had a couple of long (2 hour) sleeps which is very good (as it should help him sleep at night too).

His night-time sleep is still a bit hit and miss but on Saturday night he did effectively sleep through: he made a few cries in the night but none of them more than a few seconds and we didn't have to go into him. If he could do this consistently it would be a great breakthrough.

One night last week he slept for a good 5 hours without waking me at all. As a result of this relatively long spell of unbroken sleep I was able to get up at 6am and go to work for 7am. I remember the days before Oliver when 5 hours would sound like torture!

Having painted a picture of suffering, we've just had a long (Bank Holiday) weekend - much of it spent de-cluttering the house and travelling back and forth to the tip - but the whole weekend has been filled with Oliver's happy smiles and laughter. He has eaten pretty well each day and apart from waking once for a spell last night he has slept well too. We are still struggling to find exactly why he wakes and cries sometimes (as he has done once while I type this!), but hopefully we are slowly moving in the right direction.