Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Lettuce Bath

Lack of sleep will make you think and do crazy things.  

Babies are cute and cuddly and have this euphoric smell that is impossible to replicate.  But their sleeping patterns are erratic at best, and can’t communicate to explain why that is the case.

Sleep.  Yes, lack of sleep is the worst of all baby dilemmas.  I can take the whining.  I can handle the crying.  I can manage holding the baby for all hours of the day.  I can attempt to give them all the attention that they require.  But I can’t withstand the lack of sleep.

Matthew, yes this cute adorable face . . . .

had difficulty sleeping when transitioning from his serene Philadelphia nursery to the dog barking, rooster crowing Ecuadorian nursery that was separated from our bedroom by a curtain (since replaced with a door).  And yes – I used serene to describe Philadelphia.  But like I said, lack of sleep will make you think and do crazy things.  

He didn’t sleep for the first month or two after arriving in Ecuador.  So I cursed the nocturnal barking dogs that ran up and down the streets at all hours.  I cursed the roosters that didn’t wait till sunrise to start their crowing.  I cursed the curtain that didn’t block his or our noise.  I cursed anything I thought was the culprit for his sleeping difficulties.  And I did this as I strollered him up and down the driveway, trying with little success to get him to fall asleep.

It made me feel better to try and blame the new surroundings as the culprit for the sleeplessness.  But we had no clue the source.  We needed some help. 

So we called a local pediatrician for some expert advice.  The first piece of guidance was to give him a lettuce bath.  A lettuce bath.  The doctor told us to boil lettuce in a pot of water, allow it to cool, and then give Matthew a bath in that water.  This was the solution to sleepless nights. 

Donde estas?

The doctor said it with such conviction that we began to believe we had stumbled on a secret cure to baby sleeplessness.   We would be millionaires.  We tried it, and tried it, and tried, and tried it . . . to no avail.

More sleepless nights followed.

Until we finally got to the root of the problem.  It wasn’t the barking dogs or the crowing roosters or the changing of rooms or the lack of lettuce in his baths.  It was acid reflux.  But even that wasn’t an easy fix.  Nothing in Ecuador is easy.  Pediatricians can’t prescribe acid reflux medicine, so we had to go to one of two gastro specialists in Quito, the capitol city.  The gastro specialist prescribed the medicine, but only one pharmacist carried it.  And the medicine was in pill form that had to be opened up and dissolved in water.

Now, he is sleeping during his naps and at night.  He still wakes up from time to time.  He is a baby, not a machine.  But it is not the type of crying and screaming that can’t be soothed.  It’s not the type of crying that keeps us up all night attempting to rock him back to sleep with no success.  

His sleep has increased and so has ours.  And now, I can’t blame my inclination to think and do crazy things on my lack of sleep.  

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