Monday, June 27, 2011

Sleeping is for the Cows

So, I wish this sleep update would be all about my boy, Noah. But really, he's doing great! He usually sleeps a 3 to 5 1/2 hour stretch first and then a 2 to 3 hour stretch. Not bad for 7 weeks old. I'll take it!

The real reason I'm writing this is my darling daughter, Abigail. She's struggling, poor soul. Please forgive any typos or things that don't make sense in this. It's been a long night.

I have heard from several people that having to retrain a toddler to sleep is fairly common. I just never thought it would happen to me and with a newborn! Whew!

Anyway, I guess the reason I was so self-assured that toddler sleep training would never be a big issue for me is that we have always been very consistent with bedtime and nighttime. The routine has been the same for years (literally) and my daughter has never gotten away with much at bedtime or during the night.

My husband is a little easier on her at night but we've still never let her sleep in our bed or anywhere else but her bed, for that matter. Yet we have spent many nights over the past two or three weeks saying "No, you cannot try to fall asleep in our bed" after she has asked to do this repeatedly. Where do kids get this stuff?

"We" (by that I mean Daddy) have recently told her that if she can't fall asleep right away she can turn on her light and read a book. Big mistake! I knew this and was hesitant to start it but she was having a hard time falling asleep when she napped during the day and I wanted to be sympathetic. When I hear her "reading" at 1:30 am, it's not okay with me. Someday she'll share a room with her sister, hopefully, and she'll need to learn that if she can't sleep, she needs to just lay still and relax and not disturb others.

We are having a hard time explaining the difference between waking us up for an "emergency" (in my definition is blood, poop, or puke) and waking us up for attention. Last night the first visit to our room by Abigail was to tell us that she had falled out of bed. Seriously. The girl walked all the way out of her room, down the hall, up the stairs and into our room to tell us this instead of just getting back in bed. Wow!

Then it was the "potty" break. She does this frequently and during "quiet time" too. She says she has to do #2 and therefore needs our attention to clean up at the end. She and Daddy sat in the bathroom for 15 minutes last night and . . .nothing. I probably could have told you that before she even started but I'd hate to be wrong and have a mess on my hands.

I finally just said to her last night, after her 3 or 4th trip upstairs that she had to stay in her room, with the light off, closing her eyes and not reading. I think my husband thinks I'm harsh but honestly, you can't sleep with your eyes open and turning on lights only stimulates you and makes it harder to fall asleep. She then proceeded to lose her paci and cry for it since she couldn't turn on the light to find it. Manipulate much?! Wow! She's a smart kid.

Anyway, after that episode I told her that if I heard her crying for her paci again, I would take them away . . . for good. No more out of her then.

I have spent the morning, on and off, reading about helping your toddler sleep and sleep training. They are all pretty unified in one thing . . . consistency. Which is great news, actually because that's something I'm good at. We'll see how the next few nights go. I'm also going to try to respond less - and hopefully with less emotion and frustration too.

In the meantime . . .

I'm sleepy! Sitting down anywhere for any length of time is not good because I'll be asleep.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How about taking the reading light out of her room, at least for a while? I've read that getting bright (white) light in your eyes after you've gone to bed messes up your melatonin. A pitch black room is best but might be a little scary for a child. I agree with you that she shouldn't be doing something stimulating in the middle of the night. The question is: why is she waking up in the first place unless, of course, nature is calling? Maybe some lavender essential oil on her pillow would help her get drowsy. I'll try to bring you some.

How about a small reward for staying in bed all night?

Love, Mom