Jeez, Kid. What Do I Look Like? Your MOM?

So, Wesley gets leg cramps.

Before we go any further, let me assure you: We have tried your method! I promise! He’s been suffering from them off and on since he was 2, they’re growing pains that follow a pattern, and we’ve tried EVERYTHING. We have a system of methods we try in order of least disruptive and it’s a functioning system. I only add this because – I find that “leg cramps” garners more advice than breastfeeding or diapering. I think because everyone remembers the horror of it and wants to impart their learned wisdom. So, I want to stop anyone from stressing, we’ve tried your method! I assure you! It might have worked for us, it might be part of our system, but don’t stress about sharing it. After three years we’ve heard it all!

Now, back to leg cramps.

For years he would just wake up screaming because he was too young to really process the whole situation. But around 4 1/2 or so we were able to convince him to get us quietly when they start hurting and now wait until it got that bad and not just lay in his bed screaming.

Life got SO MUCH BETTER. It’s a lot easier to be woken up with a tap at the door or a soft, “Mom?” than the screaming bloody murder. I would wake up a lot more accommodating because my adrenaline wasn’t rushing and my nerves weren’t fried from the sudden, “AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!”

But then, out of the blue, last week he went back to the screaming method. TWICE now he’s done the Waking By Terrorizing when he’s gotten leg cramps and MAN. I am NOT a good mother when he wakes me up like that.

In my defense, it’s not that rational – my anger. It’s the crazy rush of adrenaline and then frustration and irritation combined with exhaustion and sleep deprivation but I am NOT nice. Last night I basically guilted him about his leg cramps. My immediate response was, “OH MY GOD, WESLEY. WHY DO YOU WAKE ME UP SCREAMING, AND WHY NOT WAKE UP YOUR DAD? STOP CRYING OH MY GOD YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN. I AM SO TIRED!!!!!”

It was not my finest moment. Which I realized as soon as I woke up enough to REALLY process his pain and also he started apologizing through his tears, “Momma…I’m sorry…I’m sorry…My leg just hurts…”

Yeah. I woke up enough to realize, Oh, man. I’m a big piece of steaming poop of a Mom right now.

I eventually woke up enough, and stabilized enough, to address his needs. I worked through our system and eventually got him back to sleep, albeit restlessly.

Yeah…not my finest parenting moment. Yelling at my kid for having pain he can’t control. Guilting him about needing me when he’s hurting me. So, let’s hope he’ll go back to waking me up QUIETLY and GENTLY so that I have better odds at being helpful and not, you know, a giant beeyatch.

9 thoughts on “Jeez, Kid. What Do I Look Like? Your MOM?”

  1. I am sad to admit that my husband and I react the exact same way when my son has leg cramps. I don’t mean to, it’s just that the screaming is so loud and goes on for so long that it makes me frazzled.
    My son has had three of these episodes over the last year, and I was so lucky that I read your blog, because it meant that I knew what they were! I would’ve had no idea, if you hadn’t written about them! That being said, what do you do? You could send a private message if you don’t mind. We have no idea how to help my son. He screams in agony for a couple of hours until he finally falls back to sleep from the exhaustion, but then if he wakes at all, the screaming starts again. ALL. NIGHT. LONG.

  2. Well, we have a system, really. I wish ONE thing worked. We do know that nights after LOTS of activity he seems more prone to them (like during soccer season) so we’ll pre-emptively give him Ibuprofen before bed.

    When he wakes up in the middle of the night we start with the ibuprofen (that was our pediatricians suggestion) and try to get him to go back to bed. If they seem really bad (like if he’s already screaming) I grab the heating pad and plug it in next to his bed. I lay upside down on the bed and keep his foot/leg near me and massage it while I wrap the heating pad around it. Usually, we both fall asleep while this is going on.

    If that doesn’t work, the last step is the epsom salt bath. I’ll run him a warm bath and put epsom salts in it. This ALWAYS works, and he can go back to sleep after. The problem is, it disrupts MY sleep so much I usually can’t, so I save it for last resort.

    That’s our system!!! Maybe one/part/all of that would work for you too!

  3. My husband gets leg cramps all the time, and HE jumps out of bed screaming… They’re always after a long workout (I know he’s dehydrated).

    My kids never screamed for Dad in the middle of the night either!

  4. Why do kids never call for Dad. My husband stayed home with the kids and they still call for me 99.99% of the time.

  5. Thanks for the reply. I’ll try your suggestions. I have learned so much from reading your blog over the years…For instance, I really didn’t know that other people have the same social anxiety that I do. Knowing that has been so helpful! So, I may not comment often, but I really appreciate everything you share with us!

  6. I am also interested in what you have tried, because my three year old gets leg cramps on and off. They started last summer and in the last couple months have really been increasing. So far ibuprofen has done the trick, but I am glad to know about the heating pad and Epsom salt ideas. Does a bath with Epsom salts before bed ever help? Is it usually one or both legs? I guess I’m just starting to realize that it is a THiNG and not just a thing. So I’d love actually to read your advice/perspective on it.
    I’m currently sleeping in the spare bedroom with the sick infant, so husband has been dealing with all the older kid issues in the middle if the night. Not sure who wins. 🙂

  7. I had my first leg cramp in ages two nights ago. Pre-pregnancy I had a method that worked for me. I’d reach down grab my toes and stretch my leg, as much as it would hurt it worked. Especially in my half awake state. Now I’m getting to the point that my feet are getting further away from my body (or so it seems!) and so it didn’t work this time, I rolled over in bed nearly ended up taking out Chris and then tried to roll back the other way (I’m not thinking I’m just in pain!) nearly end up on my bump and on the edge of the bed!

    Did you try getting Wes to eat a banana before bed? If you haven’t tried it probably sounds a bit nuts but it’s to do with magnesium and other stuff in the body being out of balance. It might be worth a try.

    I’m currently dealing with a grumpy grounded teenager – he’s not allowed to go out with his friends and so instead I think he spent all morning in front of the TV, he’s now gone to contact with his Mum so we’ll see what mood he’s in after that……

  8. It’s something about Mum having magic powers. Whenever I was ill as a kid, my Mum would come and hold my hair out my face or tie it back in something resembling a ponytail and then chat to me while I’m feeling rotten. (Usually despatching Dad downstairs for a glass of water or something like that). I was at my parents a few months ago and I’d been having a horrible day, I’d been crying loads and starting to feel nauseous. Of course the moment my body decides it’s had enough is the moment that everyone else needs the one bathroom in the house! I end up stood over the kitchen sink, between “attacks” apologising profusely to my Dad for throwing up in the sink and then I start crying because of the throwing up, then he’s been being so lovely and making sure my hair is out my face and holding my ponytail down my back as it keeps falling round over my shoulder that I cry even more. I’d also had a energy drink like gatorade to I had rainbow vomit! OH DEAR!

    But Yes, there is something about Mum magic lol.

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