Monday, March 31, 2014

Sweet Sleep...or the Opposite

C told me from the backseat the other day, "No, I do not sleep on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, or 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 days. I only sleep on Mondays."

Isn't that the truth.

The girls have a regular bedtime schedule. They get their pj's on and brush teeth around 7:30pm. We read together until 8pm. Hubby and I turn on their music, tuck them in, give goodnight kisses, leave. The girls have a small light in their room that is on a timer, and turns off at 9:30pm.

B usually stays up and reads until the light turns off, and occasionally we find her laying on her belly, book stretched out to reach the light from the hallway. She goes to sleep on her own when she is finished, and wakes up happy in the morning, so it works for us.

B was a LOVELY napper. When she was a baby, she set herself on a sleep schedule...napping from 9:30am - 11:30am, and then from 1pm - 4pm. I didn't know how good I had it. I had time to blog, time to read, time to clean, all in a quiet, serene environment. When she woke up, of course, it was a different story, but those hours throughout the day were so revitalizing. She went to bed at 7:30pm, and slept until 5am, and although that was an early wake up call, she was almost always in a good mood upon waking, and would keep herself busy for awhile in the morning. She has always enjoyed her own space, so co-sleeping was never an option.

C, on the other hand...She tells me she does not like the dark, and does not like to close her eyes. When she was a baby, she would nap for 45 minutes during the day at the most, and only after crying and fighting until she had nothing left to give. Those short naps disappeared around 18 months. She would sleep for about 8 hours through the night, but often only if she was snuggled right next to me. She was intense for every single other one of the 15 hours and 15 minutes left in the day.

Whew. I am worn out again just thinking about it.

These days, she is still intense, she rarely naps and it only occurs if we are driving around in the late afternoon, and that is ALWAYS worse than her skipping the nap altogether. She wants me to snuggle her at bedtime until she goes to sleep, which although I love it and try to soak all the snuggling up that I can before she gets to be what she thinks is "too big for that", my moments to myself and with my husband are few. If she does sneak in that nap, she is up for hours in the evening, and would like some entertainment, please. Most times, she is just tired and on the verge of hysteria and meltdown and the slightest thing sends her over the's a tightrope event every night.

Then there is the morning. I set my alarm for 5:15am daily, hoping to have some quiet time for myself to drink my coffee and do some writing, but most days C is up by 5:40am.

"Mama! The sun is up, so I am up!"

After we watched Frozen for the first time, I started calling C "Anna" in the mornings...such similar wake up calls. :)

She is not always a pleasant little bird in the mornings like her sister, and I have learned to just stop whatever it is that I am doing and pretend that I have just been waiting for this early morning moment to greet her, when my mind is screaming, "Can I just get 30 minutes of peace here?"

It can be very difficult some days. The worst ones include me feeling drained of patience at bedtime and my last words of the night coming out short and frustrated, causing tears (her) and guilt (me). Others leave me feeling like I am just spoiling her and giving into to her every whim and if I would just toughen up and tell her no, everything would be better. But I think anyone who can empathize with my plight knows that is just not the answer.

So what to do? For now, I am adding more activity to our day, attempting to keep her going non-stop to avoid the nap, wear her out sufficiently without sending her over the OE cliff. This will be a difficult transition, assuming it works, for B and I, who are more of the quiet-homebody-never-leave-the-house-if-we-have-a-book types, and it may result in some meltdowns of a different color for her. Maybe me too, to be honest...but there has to be a solution, right?

I'd love to hear ideas that you have tried, what worked, what didn't...because as I am sure you are painfully aware, what works one day may not work the next, and my bag of tricks could always use some refilling.

For now, I'll rest, because that sweet, sassy face will be popping through my door to greet me soon...

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