Parent Advice Needed

Okay, so this post is not about diabetes today. I know a lot of you guys out there are parents, so I’m hoping you can help me with something we have going on.

Two weeks ago, Kip had out-patient surgery to have ear tubes put in to hopefully relieve him of his recurring ear infections (he had 6 in 5 1/2 months). The surgery itself went fine, but it has changed him.

Before the surgery, he was a social kid. He didn’t care who he went to, if they wanted to hold him, that was okay. I never had a problem dropping him off at daycare outside of the first day. As long as his little playmate was there, he was cool as a cucumber and smiled back at me when I left. If we ever had to leave the room for any period of time (say, leave him in the play yard while I got ready in the morning), he would be okay.

Now? He’s so different. He bawls and pitches a fit when I leave him at daycare. He can’t stand for us to leave him in a play yard or his crib. This past weekend, we had gone out of town to a friend’s baby dedication and stopped of to get something to eat on the way home. Erik ordered him tea (I usually order water for him) and we gave it to him in his sippy cup. He didn’t go to sleep for hours! So, we thought to just let him go out on his own and put him in his crib and tried the “cry it out” method where you leave them for 5 minutes or so and go back to reassure them and check on them, and leave them for another 5 minutes. We’ve done it before (not exactly the cry it out, but more like play/whine yourself out method) to let him tire himself out as he wouldn’t cry, just whine some and play with his toys in his crib. It didn’t last any time. He coughs when he cries at times, so we didn’t think to rush right in. WRONG. His nerves were so on edge that he had actually vomited twice and commenced a third session just as we walked in the door. The look on his face was pure fear. I felt terrible. I handed him off to Erik to clean up while I cleaned up the room. Then, he started crying…. and stopped breathing. His little face started turning blue and we did everything we could think of to get him to breathe again. Scared the ever-living-shhh!!!## out of me. I blew in his face and he finally breathed in and cried harder.

Sidenote: Never again will I try that stupid “cry it out” method.

If he wakes up in the middle of the night, he won’t go back to sleep until he sees one of us. Sunday morning, he woke up at 5am and started crying. Scared we would have what happened the night before happen again since simply seeing us and us tucking him back in wouldn’t do, we did the big no-no and put him in the bed with us. Almost as soon as he laid down beside me, he curled up and went right back to sleep (but not before taking my pillow).

The only thing I can think that happened is he was upset when they took him from us to go back to the O.R.. I should have gone with my inside voice that was screaming at me to go with him and be there when he was put to sleep for the procedure, and to be there when they woke him up, but I didn’t. I didn’t think I was allowed since the option wasn’t given. He was screaming when I went down the hall to get him after the surgery. He was so upset, he was dry-heaving, even as we left. It’s like the whole thing flipped some sort of switch in his mind and now we can’t get him to unflip it.

I know that the “experts” are going to have a bazillion articles saying you have to let them learn. Leaving them alone isn’t going to hurt them. But this is my kid. I’m worried about what it will do to his mental state. I need to know techniques to get him comfortable with us leaving him without him going into a fit and getting scared. I’ve read the separation-anxiety articles, but most of those just seem to suggest they sort of gradually come to the realization that you’re not always there and get scared. This only happened after his surgery.

I need help. If you have any advice, please tell me.

6 thoughts on “Parent Advice Needed”

  1. My son went thru the same thing after his tubes. I’m not sure if it was tubes or just timing but his were night terrors that I had never seen. Unfortunately it lasted longer than I liked but just like that they were gone. I feel like the terrors at night carried into the day because he was exhausted. There is a sleep specialist in st Louis that has some great suggestions if you google her. I think it is Nancy Birkemeier. Best of luck! It’s not a time I like to remember…I have an 8 month old that hates nighttime as well right now!!

  2. L hasn’t had any tubes or anything, but she’s going through a similar phase. Her sleep schedule is all messed up, she’s a bear to get down for a nap, and she is having HUGE separation anxiety. Honestly, I think it’s just that they’re at that age for that.

  3. I wish I knew what to tell you. We were all set to have tubes put in my son’s ears (8 1/2 months old) the day after tomorrow, but called it off… found out on Friday that he has a reaction to dairy and that it may contribute to the ear infections (my wife has been nursing; she has since eliminated dairy from her diet to see if it makes a difference, and at this morning’s doc app’t his ears were clear). But I’m off the topic.

    I would suspect, and this is just my wandering mind talking with no medical backing whatsoever, that with all of the ear infections, Kip’s hearing may have been a bit muffled. (Previously, how did he respond to your voice or calling his name?). Now, he’s probably hearing all kinds of strange new sounds, and is having trouble making sense of it all. What used to be soothing and muffled is now crisp, clear, and perhaps frightening. And if he’s crying and screaming, he hears those cries and screams louder than before, which just starts the process over.

    There’s also the possibility that something happened during the surgery that is leaving a lingering pain in his ears. Has anyone checked him out as a follow-up? I’m not saying that’s it, but it can’t hurt to check.

    One final thing I can think of is that maybe water got in his ears. While the tubes are supposed to let the fluid drain out, they also let water in (during bathtime, etc). I’ve heard suggestions of putting cotton in the baby’s ears to keep the water out; it might also be worth trying to muffle some of the sounds, at least temporarily. I’m not saying to do this, especially without running it by your ENT first, but I know the helpless feeling when you’d do just about ANYTHING to comfort your crying child, and it might help a bit.

    I wish I could tell you how to magically fix everything, but I can’t. But I can certainly feel for what you and Kip are going though. I sure hope it improves.

    (By the way, we tried the “cry it out” with my first son who would NEVER sleep at night. It was two nights of pure agony, but after that, he was a real pleasure at bedtime. Based on your experience, I wouldn’t recommend trying it again, though!).

  4. My vote is for separation anxiety too. He is at the right age. I think Scott may be on to an idea about him hearing new things too.

    As I mentioned on Twitter, my childhood was one constant ear infection. I had tubes twice. Once at 14 months and again closer to 4. The second time they kicked us out of the hospital because I was so loud. Kids are resilient.

    One thing to be aware of is that the tubes mean that his ears will actually DRAIN the fluid instead of getting infections. Especially when he is getting sick. So one night (as I understand from the story she likes to tell), I was cranky because I was sick and my mom let me sleep with her. My ears drained and SHE woke up with pink eye. I don’t think you want any more details about that situation. 😛

    Someone on twitter was wondering in our conversation about swimming and water, we would just put moldable wax/clay in and I kept up with all the other kids in the pool.

    Also, apparently I didn’t really talk much before I got tubes but started to speak in sentences almost right away. It’s amazing what can happen when you can actually hear.

    I have a bit of scar tissue from the tubes but it doesn’t actually affect me really at all. The only reason I know that I have it is because when I go to urgent care when I am sick, the doc always feels like he needs to point it out. Like he is the first guy who has ever seen it. It does not affect my hearing, the docs just think it is interesting.

    I stopped getting ear infections at about age 10. A few years after that I was at the allergist and they explained why. Our ears actually move up proportionally on our heads as we grow. Instead of the fluid draining into our ears (the easiest path in childhood), it drains into our sinuses instead (path of least resistance).

    I don’t see it in Kip’s pictures but I was just a really congested child. Big black circles under my eyes from all the fluid. They actually put me on a gluten free diet – before it was cool. It did help somewhat. I would hate for you to have to cut another thing out of your baby’s diet, but just offering my experience.

    Let me know if you have any more questions.

Tell me what you think!