The very first day we brought our son, Bob home from the hospital, we noticed that he was different from his older sister, Jenny. Jenny was a child who slept 10 hours a night, quietly and never made a sound. Bob, on the other hand, snored liked a 95-year-old man — and you could hear him even when the door was closed to his bedroom! He tossed and turned a lot at night and we thought it was because he basically snored himself awake!
As Bob got older, his snoring only got worse – and when he was about two years old, he developed a nasty habit of fainting whenever someone scared him or he scared himself. If he got startled during a game with his sister, he would pass out. If the dog barked at an inopportune time – he passed out. If he got really mad because his toy was taken – he passed out. Needless to say, we high-tailed it to the doctor to find out what was wrong with the little guy.
Our doctor said that he was small for his age – probably the runt of the litter (I just love men who compare having babies to having a litter of puppies — you never hear a woman say that!). Other than that he was a healthy little boy who just startled easily and he would grow out the fainting spells. I was very concerned that the fainting could be causing brain damage of some type — particularly mine because I was so frightened by it every time! He assured me that everything was fine and to bring him back in a year (yes, a year) if the fainting continued. And the snoring? Well, he did have very big tonsils – but he would grow into those and everything would be fine.
This went on for another year – during which Jenny took great delight in trying to make Bob pass out whenever I was out of sight. Bob would be eating his peas in his high chair – happily feeding the dogs (see Where’s Your Dog?) and Jenny would walk up to him, bang her fist on the tray, which would invoke an intake of breath from Bob followed by him passing out. He would wake up happy and giggling — which of course, for Jenny meant — do it again, do it again! My brain cells were dying by the thousands every time she did this — it could not go on!
Back to the doctor we went – who indicated that Bob did have exceptionally large tonsils and a restricted air space, which could be causing the snoring – and oh yea – it might cause him to faint occasionally. Don’t worry – he will grow into them and everything will be fine.
When Bob was four, he wasn’t fainting as often, but he was so thin we had to tie his pants on with a rope. Since he was the ‘runt of the litter’, he just seemed to be destined to be the skinny one in the family. Bob was our skinny little boy who snored so loud that it would wake up the neighbor’s dog and who provided great entertainment for his older sister (who was still ticked off that Bob had not gone back to the hospital after he was born – talk about holding a grudge!).
Finally, in first grade after a speech test – our doctor conceded that Bob would have to be Paul Bunyan to grow into his tonsils – so we might want to consider having them taken out. Although the doctor was correct in that the fainting spells had quit occurring so often — we attributed this to the fact that Jenny was occupied with her friends at school and had moved on to better toys than her brother Bob.
So, after five years of thinking I was sleeping in a nursing home – and having many brain cells destroyed by worry over the fainting — Bob had his tonsils out – along with two teeth which came out during the surgery. The Tooth Fairy left him an extra-large amount for the teeth and the tonsils! The first night he was home, I didn’t sleep at all because it was QUIET!!! Scared the heck right out of me – I always knew he was breathing by his snoring pattern – and now I had nothing!
The other side effect of losing his tonsils was that Bob started to grow — yes — GROW! He gained about 20 pounds and 2 inches in the first six months after the surgery! So, our poor skinny little guy was no longer the runt – and he definitely wasn’t going to let his sister torment him any longer — surprise for Jenny!