We continue to play sleep roulette. Recent research indicates that a feeling of a lack of control can make people see patterns where none exist. (Click here for the original article in Science.) Our recent nighttime experiences certainly corroborate this conclusion. Hubby and I are desperately looking for a correlation between the quality of Pumpkin's sleep at night and anything. Tonight, I'm hoping that the ease of the evening routine and the quality of the subsequent sleep are inversely related.
Last night, she was a little angel all evening. Sure, she was clingy (we're in a very Mommy-centric phase), but we went through our evening routine with little protest. She went down awake, but only protested briefly before listening to the rest of the story I was telling her and falling asleep. She was asleep by 8:20.
But then she had a horrible night. She was up earlier than usual to nurse, and never really settled back in to sleep in her crib. Hubby ended up sleeping with her for several hours, and I got up and nursed her again at 5 a.m. to get her back down for another hour and a half of sleep (next to me).
Tonight, Hubby hadn't even started reading her bedtime stories at 8:20. Every step of our routine was more challenging. Dinner was OK, but the walk was downright weird. Hubby was planning to stay behind and get the trash out for pick up tomorrow, but Pumpkin and I had barely left our driveway when she decided that Hubby needed to come, too. She charged right back up to the door, calling "Da-dee! Da-dee!" Once she had assembled the entire family for the walk, we set out again. Two doors down, we could hear a baby crying. This completely stopped Pumpkin in her tracks. She kept saying "Bay-bee. Bay-bee. Mommy. Mommy. Some incomprehensible toddler-speak that may have indicated that she wanted Mommy to go make that baby happy. Bay-bee." And then she would make the sign for crying. We tried to pick her up and move her along, but that prompted a tantrum. So I ended up crouching down next to her on the sidewalk, trying to explain that the baby had a mommy, who was going to make the baby happy again. We eventually walked on, but she kept talking about the baby, sometimes making the sign for crying, sometimes saying "happy", but not sounding too convinced that this was true.
We finally got home, and she nursed and had her bath. But then she wanted to play with the empty recycling container and open and close the door to the cupboard where the trash can is stored. Our attempts to deal with this patiently did not work, and she had a full melt down when we finally forced the issue. I had to hold her for several minutes before she would eat her snack, and she would only eat the snack on my lap, not in her chair. We won her back to the table with a lure of a strawberry. She does like a good "brerry". (I can't actually render or imitate how she says "strawberry", but it is my favorite of her words right now.)
It was an exhausting evening! Hopefully, Pumpkin thought so, too, and will sleep better tonight. If not, we'll keep looking for that elusive pattern. We just can't accept that it is not there. At least we now have a scientific study explaining why.