For those of you who were keeping up with this blog, I'm so sorry. Life has a way of happening, as I'm sure you all know. My sister-in-law has come to live with us, the kids have a stomach bug, ya know, life.
When I left off, I was telling you how the professional enuresis people have us deal with waking our son up at night. Well, when the alarm goes off, mom and dad have to get up with him (well, at least one of us does, but usually we both do). At this point there are a couple of things to be careful to remember. 1) you parents are not fully awake and may be cranky, 2) your child is not fully awake and is likely to be cranky. This is normal and expected, so don't overreact, i.e., don't snatch the little darling up by the toenails and demand with your best drill sergeant voice that they turn off the alarm. Sometimes it helps me to rehearse this little phrase in my mind..."I am a calm and rational individual...I am a calm and rational individual..."
If your child does not wake up on his own from the blaring of the alarm, then you have to wake him up gently by rubbing a cool wet rag over his face and neck. When he is awake, he is to turn off the alarm (no, you can't do this for him even if the sound is splitting your head in two) and go to the bathroom. In the bathroom, because he is still probably not fully awake, he needs to splash his face with cold water. (side note: he has to do this even when he wakes up before wetting the bed). Then he gets to go to the toilet, even if he doesn't feel he needs to pee. Be firm in all of these things, and steel yourself for what comes next.
This next part is particularly difficult if your child is young. When he is done using the bathroom, then he gets to clean up his alarm pad. As a compassionate (and calm and rational) parent, you will probably have the urge to wrap the sleepy angel in a warm blanket and let him snooze on the floor while you do the dirty work. But the real point of all this is to break that messed up sleeping cycle so you take care of the problem, not just the symptoms. If your child is anything like ours, it will take him 5 times as long to do this as it would take for you to do it yourself. He also may keep falling back to sleep even while wiping the screens dry. Be strong, and remember that better days are ahead.
Now, I don't know how all this will work out for you if you already have one of those little alarms that fit in the underwear or panties. Our alarm consists of a vinyl pad with two mesh screens. We put a pillowcase over the top screen (or one over both screens if, like us, you have cheap, thin sheets). When the sheet gets wet, the moisture makes the screens contact and sets off the alarm. If you need any help with how this goes, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can't promise that I can figure it all out, but I'd be glad to help if I can.
When he wets, our son has to take the pillowcases off, wipe down both screens and the vinyl pad with a handtowel. Then he has to put clean pillowcases back on the screens, clean up the sheets if necessary (this usually has not been a problem even though he pees like a horse because the pillowcases and pad hold most of it), and change into another nightshirt. Oh, and the required sleep attire is a shirt with no bottoms at all. Not even underwear. If modesty is an issue for your child or the rest of the family, make sure the shirt is long enough to cover him up. Our son just sleeps in one of his daddy's t-shirts.
Okay, that's all I have time for today. I promise I will do better about this in the future. Honestly, I didn't know how many people were actually reading my blog. I feel so honored to be able to do what I can to help you all. My sister-in-law who is staying with us tells me that her 12 year old daughter has the same problems that my son does. She is going to be calling the dad to recommend he follow my blog and start trying all this. I can't wait to be able to tell you if it works for them!
PS. We have only had one wet night since my last post!