Friday, July 27, 2012


I decided to go with the nicer post title, Transitions, rather than what I was going to use: Something's Gotta Give.

We've been home with Lucy almost a year and I still feel like we are all hanging on by a thread most days. The only person getting any real sleep is Lucy, mostly because she can sleep through a tornado. The problem is that she is also an early (and I do mean EARLY) riser. As in 5:15-5:30am. I have moved her bedtime all over the place (after waiting a few weeks to see if it is working before shifting it again) to no avail. Her bedtime has ranged from 6pm to 9pm and every quarter hour in between. The one unchanging equation is her wake up time. It is always within 15 minutes of 5:30am. Nana even bought a clock that shows the moon and sun which we fortify with a daily and nightly explanation of what solar object she needs to see in order to be out of bed. That has not worked.

On top of that, I'm afraid we have compounded the problem.  Here's the scenario: Lucy wakes up every morning with loud LOUD!! cries. Most of the time she is not actually crying with tears nor is she even standing up. I thought she might just be dreaming but no, within a minute or two, she is standing up and screaming for DADDDDDYYYYY or MAMAAAAA. So it's not a stretch to see who else is going to be awake....EVERYONE, and none of us are happy about it. In order to avoid waking Kate, either Len or I make a mad dash down the hall as fast as we can, whisk her out of the room and try to get the door closed before she lets out another ear piercing wail, then she spends the next 45 minutes thrashing about in our bed until we both are so bruised we just get up. We are successful in keeping Kate asleep approximately 63% of the time. The other 37% finds both girls awake and demanding to be let out of jail their cribs which means we will all be up because 4 people in a queen sized bed sucks.

And let me just say that waking up every single day with your feet flat on the floor and running is not good for your stress levels (see previous post on adrenal depletion). It just sets off the day on a bad foot (so to speak).

Then there's naptime. Kate, always the notorious non-napper, has not wavered in her belief that naps are designed mainly to keep her from having a full and happy life. I still put her in there because about 7% of the time she will actually fall asleep while bellyaching about how she's not sleepy. The rest of the time she will mullygrub about in her crib for about 20 minutes before standing up and either calling quietly for me or worse, standing over at Lucy's side of the room trying to wake her up. Somedays, like today, Lucy will wake up and not be able to go back to sleep.

Speaking of today, Lucy woke at 3:30am....and never went back down. NEVER. WENT. BACK. DOWN. OMG, really?? I have no idea which karmic god I have irritated but I'm sorry for whatever it was. Truly.

So, Lucy managed to wake Kate up but after I had been in there several times and checked diapers, bedtime loveys, etc and found nothing amiss, I made the following pronouncement:

ENOUGH! I am going back to bed with your father. You can either go back to sleep or you can sit up and play with your toys, sing songs, tell stories, whatever you like. I will be back when the moon on your clock switches over to the sun and not one minute before that. I love you both. Goodnight.

Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth. I went back to my bed, turned off the sound on the monitor, put on my eyeshades and slept until 6:15. I woke up to both of them still awake. Kate was laying down and talking to her doll but Lucy was still just sitting there, occasionally wailing and then waiting to see if there would be a response.

All of these things combine to make the hours between 3pm and bedtime A LIVING HELL. They fall more. They cry more. Their ability to handle even minute chastisement shrinks to infinitesimal levels. Did I mention there was a lot of crying?

So now I'm eyeing this room.
I love having a guest room because I really enjoy having people come stay with us but good golly, I need to sleep more than I need a guest room. So, I've started planting the idea in the girls that when they get to move into big girl beds they also get their OWN ROOMS! Yay! Kate was excited by the idea. Lucy? Her brow furrowed and she said no. I reassured her that she wasn't moving out, that we would all still be here but that she would now have her own big girl bed and her own big girl room. She looked worried. Perhaps I will move Kate into the new room and leave Lucy in the room she's used to. That may be an easier sell.

I have no idea if this will work but I've honestly run out of ideas. The girls are just so different in their sleep habits. Lucy sleeps about 10 hours a night with a 1-2 hour nap. Kate does best on 12 hours of night sleep and no nap but she still wants her alone time. I've noticed at every playgroup that Kate tends to find something to play with and then moves away from everyone, especially Lucy, to have some quiet play by herself for a while before joining her friends.

There aren't many times when Kate is alone frankly. Lucy still shadows Kate every waking minute. Len and I are trying to rectify that to some degree on the weekends by spending some one-on-one time with each child alone. Last weekend Lucy came with me to do some shopping and then we had supper out. Kate asked to stay home and read books with Len so they did that for an hour (!!) and then went out for Chinese crispy duck. Both girls really enjoyed it so we'll make sure to keep that individual time in the rotation.

In the meantime, I've started pricing out what it will take to turn the guest room into either Kate's or Lucy's room. The designer in me is excited by the new project!


Smitha Mathew said...

OMG!! That is tiring. I am so with you. I would give up my bed for guests, if I can get more regular sleep. Sleep of the child is one thing that stresses me. My life revolves around making sure O sleeps. How come children move more when they are tired?

At 2.5 I did not think so. But pretty soon they will start going to school. By 3.5 O needed school very much. Then they start displaying tantrums at school. I cannot bare that not because it looks bad, more because I do not want anyone other than me correcting her as much as possible.

When it comes to school it might be smart to find a school that has more than one classroom and from the start put them in two classes. One of my friends with twins does that. This way they can see each other but is learning independently.

Good luck dear.

Elizabeth said...

I can't believe it has been almost a year since Lucy came home, wow! My friend and neighbour's daughter used melatonin when her son had trouble sleeping. She did a lot of research and used drops under his tongue. I think the idea of quiet time after lunch is great. Our neighbour in France years ago did this with her girls. They didn't have to nap, the younger one often did, the older didn't, BUT they had to stay in their room and do something quietly. This woman claimed everyone was so much happier for that half an hour of quiet. If I were you I would move Kate to the guest room. You probably want nice furniture but IKEA have some really cute children's furniture. I am like Kate, maybe because it's because of all the noise in my classroom all day, but I like to have quiet time too! You are doing such a great job with both girls they are wonderful! I think you mentioned earlier in the year that you've also tried not letting Lucy nap to see if that makes a difference. Perhaps work on moving Kate out sooner rather than later and after Lucy is asleep putting quiet toys (books) in her crib that she can look at when she wakes up. Sorry, I have rambled and probably not been too much help.

Lynn K said...

You could try two twin beds in one room. It worked for my boys until they were 7 and 9. But they had two years difference and were BOTH early risers.

OR maybe trundle beds in each room so the girls could sleep in each other's rooms. But that may become hellish to manage.

Gotta love those early years!

Aaron and Tori Swank said...

I think your idea of going back to bed while they stay in there awake is a good one. We have a little fan on in the hall for background noise- I guess I'm trained now myself and can have a hard time sleeping without it. :) And don't feel guilty about it- crying or no crying. You are the parent and should set the bedtime/wake times. It will be painful for a time while they adjust to your response... but you might be better able to handle their grumpiness if you have sleep yourself.

Gail Simonton said...

I feel your pain...I continue to read your blog and would love to catch up with you again! Eli displays a lot of the same behaviors as Lucy...they trained em up real good! Would love to share what we have tried and progress...do you still have my contact info?

Gail from Denver

Gail Simonton said...

Just saw another box I needed to check...


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