Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sparse

Posting may be a bit sparse around here for the next month or so.

I could say that I'm really busy at work, and that we have a vacation coming up, and we promised Pumpkin a new big girl desk to match the new big girl computer we got her as a late birthday gift, and that requires some serious thinking about how to rearrange her room. Also, that will free up her "little girl" desk for Petunia, and getting that into the oversized closet that passes for Petunia's bedroom will require even more serious thinking. And all of that would be true.

But the real reason that posting may be sparse is that Petunia has decided that bedtime is a quaint tradition that perhaps other 2.5 year olds still observe, but that is quite beneath her now. Last night, she did not really go to sleep until sometime between 11 and 12. I'm not sure, because I'd dozed off by that point. Lights went out at 8:30, at her request- she usually tells us when she is done reading stories and settles herself into bed. Back in the old days- you know, roughly a week ago- the adult in charge of her bedtime would then turn on her music and her bedtime turtle nightlight, snuggle her for 15-30 minutes, and then leave the room. No more! My husband has been able to get her down if he snuggles her for 1-1.5 hours. Last night, I snuggled her for over an hour, was convinced she was in deep sleep, so rolled out of her bed, only to be called back immediately by a plaintive "Mommy!" She is quite patient. She will snuggle me peacefully as long as I stay. She does not demand to get up unless I try to do so. So three of the last four nights, I have just given up and gone to bed with her.

Now, I know we could just say good night and walk out and let her cry. (I will note, however, that she has figured out how to open her door, so this approach would require an adult to continually return her to her room.) Or we could try moving her bedtime later (which we may do). But I also know that she has had phases like this many times before. They usually last until I am just about to lose my mind, and then she goes back to sleeping well.

Also, I am inclined to be patient with sleep issues. I figure that for most of evolutionary history, a toddler whose mother tried to leave her alone at bedtime would quite rightly scream as if her life were being threatened. Because it was. So I am sympathetic to the deep instinct to insist on my presence, and am actually pleased that most times, she will accept a substitute, allowing my husband and I to take turns snuggling her. I know, from my experience with her sister, that she will slowly but surely learn to go to sleep on her own and stay asleep all night. I also know that although I may think the sleep disruption is killing me, I, too, will survive.

So we're working through this patiently. We're trying to get her more exercise, both physical and mental, because we know that helps her sleep. My husband and I went out to lunch today, so that we could actually talk to each other about the various things that we're trying to get done.

But blogging will be difficult until this phase passes. I'll see you when I can!

19 comments:

  1. Ooh, that sounds awful. I'll miss you.

    What about curtailing naps, though? It sounds like you are pretty respectful of the natural sleep cycle, etc., but, man, if the no-bedtime thing makes you batty enough, it might be worth doing some manipulation.

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    1. This is my sole complaint with our day care- we can't skip naps easily! Actually, I think there is some sort of state licensing requirement about naps that means they have to "offer" the nap. Whatever that means.

      But really, I don't think that would work well for Petunia. Pumpkin, on the other hand, could DEFINITELY skip naps. Luckily, she's gotten more patient about waiting to fall asleep at night.

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  2. Toria7:54 PM

    Good luck. I hate that lie-down-for-an-hour thing.

    Well truth be told I don't hate that part, it's having to get up afterwards and resume my nightly chores that I hate. I'd rather just go to sleep then too and stay asleep. When your body thinks you are done for the day and then you force it up and semi-functioning again it's even harder to wind down when you're ready go to bed afterwards. (And then when you finally do fall asleep, someone wakes up with a nightmare or reflux or just screaming cos something hurts but won't say what.)

    My one&only is a bit younger than Pumpkin, and he is STILL like that. Except worse (he won't ever go to sleep on his own, won't accept other parent (who usually isnt even home by bedtime so at least that's not usually an issue), usually wakes up during the night too in pain &/or panic but definitely awake so not a night terror).

    The continued sleep issue is not a small part of why he is a one&only. I kept saying "when he regularly sleeps through the night then we'll think about trying for another", except he never does. But, on the bright side of him still being an only, at least I'm not having to try and put another child to bed with a different bedtime routine at the same time too. So my sympathies for you trying to juggle 2 kids when one is being so difficult.

    But it just screws up so many other aspects of your life when you can't get a good night sleep, especially when your own regular evening calm-down routine is disrupted too.

    So good luck getting through it, and I hope it ends for you soon.

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    1. I'm fortunate that this hit at a time when we are both largely home and available in the evenings (although I do need to do some work tomorrow night- one of the things that comes with being in IT is having to do weekend system upgrades!) So the person not trapped in Petunia's room does all the evening chores. My husband is trapped in there now, and I just finished up the dishes. As soon as I'm sure Pumpkin won't be calling for me, I can go do the rest of my chores, which mainly involve putting things in the car for tomorrow's soccer lesson.

      I hope your kid sleeps soon. I totally understand why having a difficult sleeper makes it hard to contemplate having a second kid. There is a reason that my kids are spaced as they are... Petunia was conceived not long after Pumpkin's sleep patterns finally became somewhat decent!

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  3. I have to admit to being relieved when I find another parent whose child resists sleep. I've taken to calling Baguette the "Napless Wonder." Apparently she's fine with the idea at school, but we're never sure that she'll nap at home. And sleeping at night is no better. We're trying to get her to bed earlier (9:30-10 is our norm these days, and that's a good 90 minutes later than we'd like), but when we try--even if she seems sleepy--we wind up with a playful, rambunctious little girl who just takes that extra time to play in the dark rather than sleep.

    So I hope Petunia settles down for you, and I hope that Baguette settles down for us.

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    1. If you're looking for people whose kids resist sleep, you have come to the right place! Pumpkin's naps were ALWAYS hard won, and often required motion. At home that is. She naps just fine at day care and always has. She gave up napping on the weekends over a year ago. Petunia is my "easy" sleeper. Usually. Although, to be honest, Pumpkin is the better sleeper right now. But I'm still scarred by her first two years, when her sleep patterns just sucked. For us, anyway. They worked fine for her.

      Love the blog name, btw!

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    2. Thanks!

      It's tough when she doesn't nap, because she will eventually--at, say, 5 p.m. And then she's up until all hours.

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    3. I had one that resisted the afternoon nap way early, & then, after we had finally settled into an actual nap pattern, switched to a mode where if she slept at all during the day--15 minutes for nap, an hour for nap, or even 5 minutes in the car as we drove home from a lunchtime errand--she stayed up for at least an extra hour at night. My first was a champion napper. It's been the contrast that enabled me to start laughing about anyone saying "here's how you have to do x", 'cause even with a sample of two who are sharing genes, dude, there's major variation. In any case, my party-girl is going on 6, & we've found lots of good ways to deal with the different sleep patterns we all need. That's in case a hopeful story from the other side helps. (It certainly wasn't all easy or rose-petals to get here, though, so don't let me make it sound like a breeze or anything!) Those transition periods were (actually still are) brutal. My mantra during these times tends to be "It won't be like this when s/he is dating." That reminder helped me through potty-training, sleep setbacks, & any number of other moments that seemed, rightly or wrongly, overwhelming. Good luck with all the sleepings!

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  4. Good luck!

    My one thought-- could she feel as if she's not getting enough cuddle time during the day? Our bedtimes are more protracted when DC feels like he hasn't been getting enough individual attention. I imagine this will increase when there are 2 small children. Not sure if substituting awake cuddle time for in-bed cuddle time would make much difference to adult quality of life though.

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    1. Anonymous5:18 AM

      I would agree with this assessment. My son did this type of thing too, when he was young and we didn't spend enough time just with him. As he grew older it went from not sleeping to misbehaving when he wanted attention.

      Also, I know you're against the idea, but leaving them alone to fall asleep helps them too. I did the same thing with my daughter (older than my son) - except I'd fall asleep for half the night and never get anything done, and I always had stuff to get done. Yes, it's very hard the first couple nights, but it gets easier. Just my 2 cents - even now my kids are school-agers, nighttime is not my favorite part of parenting.

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    2. Could be. She's a very cuddly kid. I know she gets lots of cuddles at day care, because the teachers all love cuddling her! She may be wanting more parent cuddles, though.

      I'm not against leaving her alone to fall asleep- there have been times when we've done that. But it isn't my first choice response. That's just for me, though, and primarily because I hate listening to my kids cry more than I hate long bedtimes.

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  5. Oh no - sounds so frustrating! I hope she gets back to her regular sleeping patterns soon.

    Not sure if it helps, but we're going through a similar issue with Evan. Usually after the night time routine (bath, teeth, books, etc.) we lie with him in our bed and he falls asleep quickly (<10 minutes). Then we move him to his crib.

    Lately, though, we've been doing the whole routine, he *almost* falls asleep, then decides it's playtime and is bouncing all over the bed. We've been having a hard time trying to figure out a new routine for him. It has been frustrating.

    I think sleep issues tend to bug us the most because the evening is our "alone" time. We can read, watch TV, etc. and just relax. The longer his bedtime routine takes, the less relaxation time we have, and we're dying for it lately.

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  6. Ugh. That sucks. Sorry. When my daughter kept coming out of her bedroom I put the babygate on her door...

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  7. Anonymous6:02 AM

    that stinks. My 2yo is a pretty good sleeper, but he goes through rough periods every few months. calling out for us to 'cover him up' at 3. waking up at 5. we get all concerned about it. then he just starts sleeping again. i assume it's developmental. like toddler 'wonder weeks'.

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    1. I'm sure there's a developmental component to this. In fact, I'm sure I could go get my Bedtiming book and look up what it might be! I vaguely remember that 2.5 years was a "bad" time.

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  8. We thought that we had conquered sleep issues. Haha.. kids are getting the last laugh. Adults get zero sleep...In other words, you have my sympathies!

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  9. Anonymous11:18 AM

    My son didn't sleep through the night until 1 yr, I was about to loose it. Read a bunch of books and tried several techniques. The one that worked was to let cry 5-15 min go in to him (after the time set) and then leave again, repeat. After 4-5 nights, he slept through the night. Also, often too little sleep causes these issues (try putting to bed earlier). This worked like a charm to get him to bed (we added about 2h, in bed by 7:30pm)

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  10. banana11:47 AM

    I happen to have 'Bedtiming' on my phone, so...
    28-36 months, Social Comparison. predicting how behavior effects others and the beginning of jealousy. Rule bending to meet goals etc. I love Bedtiming!

    Our bedtime issues are more around who puts our one year old to bed. Because I had some health problems post partum (and for about, oh, the entire year), I just couldn't do the walking, jiggling, swaying to sleep that our girl needed. Now, she's entirely used to daddy doing all of it (although the process has gotten much easier), and I'm ready to get back in the game. But she won't have any of it - she just cries for daddy. He has her all day too so I'd love to have some downtime with her as she relaxes toward sleep. But it'll be a battle - we may have to deal with a few tears. But also, he doesn't get enough time to work during naps/post bedtime, and it would really make our lives easier if she'd - well, adjust...

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  11. Oh man, I feel for you.

    We just moved T to a regular bed (didn't want to make it seem like we were booting her out of her crib when the baby shows up) and I actually like that we can lie down with her a little now. Though she doesn't trap us in there for more than 10 min, so that's good.

    We're almost through the jet lag from the trip and back to the regular schedule, but she's still waking on some nights. But she wants "Daddy only" so I'm off the hook :D

    Sending good sleep vibes to you and Petunia.

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