Friday, December 18, 2009

Just Ride It In

Nolie's sleep has been like this for months: major, major resistance at bedtime. Hours spent prepping her and getting her asleep. Followed by waking up in the middle of the night, three, four, five times. She's terrified when she hears the train. She thinks there is a thunderstorm. She doesn't want to be alone.

We try: soothing her. Sleeping with her. Threatening her. Having consequences. Crying it out. Wanting (but never, don't worry) wanting to throttle her.

Then, finally, we give up, and in exhausted desperation one night, pull out the trundle bed in Addie's room, throw Nolie in there. Eureka! A quiet, full night's sleep. I feel like I've won a prize. This will be our new way of doing things.

Except: we want to protect Addie's quiet time at bedtime (she reads and reads and reads) so we tell Nolie she has to fall asleep in her bed first and then we'll move her to Addie's room when she wakes up in the middle of the night. And remember when I tried moving the girls into one room a few months back, and it was a disaster because Nolie couldn't settle down? This seems like a good half-solution. Fall asleep alone; sleep together in the middle of the night.

Dumbest parenting move ever. You know what's coming.

Of COURSE this is too confusing for Nolie, and so it takes even longer to get her to sleep initially because she doesn't really know when she's asleep and is fairly convinced she has slept even when she hasn't, and wants to go directly to Addie's room. Who wouldn't? She figures it out immediately. The circles beneath our eyes grow deeper and darker, and I start to despair, feeling like I did when I had a newborn, but worse, because I thought we were past all that, for heaven's sake. Feeling like we are losing more and more ground and before long both kids will be sleeping in our bed when we're fifty and there will be no sex or privacy or quiet EVER AGAIN.

So we decide to go back to square one: no sleeping in Addie's room. Nolie will stay in her room and that's that.

Which lasted all of one night. She broke us, wore us down, made us her little whiny bitches.

And now, there is a little bed set up in Addie's room again. And every night the girls sit in there and listen to an audiobook (they love Magic Tree House stories and also Junie B. Jones). They are happy as clams, Addie included (turns out she was a little lonely, too). Then we read books, and the two of them drift off to dreamland, no problem.

Oh, Nolie still wakes up once in a while, and we take her potty, and pat her back until she drifts back off. But this is nothing, people. I've been to hell, and I know what it looks like, and this feels much more like heaven.

Yet more proof that when faced with major parenting trauma, let go of your notion of what must be and jump into the flow, yo. Just ride it in.

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