Thursday, April 08, 2010

Bedtime for Hope

Hope is our least sleepy child. She wakes up first in the morning and goes to sleep last at night, and it's not unusual for her to wake for hours in the middle of the night. At two and a half, she already skips her afternoon nap about 50 % of the time. She just doesn't fall asleep, and instead sings, talks, plays, or stares at the wall from her crib. As a mother, I am often tempted to wonder what in the world I have done wrong to create this two year old with a sleep disorder. But, she seems to be getting along just fine despite her strange habits. And glory be(!), she doesn't often wake me up with her in the night anymore.

Comparing isn't very productive, but I'll indulge myself just a bit here. Eva and Hope are opposites on my levels, and especially in the sleep department. Eva sleeps a lot. She falls asleep immediately after I close the door and would often sleep until 9:00 in the morning if Hope didn't wake her up. Eva slept soundly through the night from around 8 months, and Hope still wakes sometimes. Eva took naps until last year, and she still yawns a lot in the afternoon if she isn't flying around the house concocting misadventures. (I don't let her nap because she can't fall asleep at night if she naps.) Hope, is a champion napper- when she actually falls asleep. However, Eva still wets the bed at night. She will be five in less than a month, and I have to drag her to the bathroom every night before I go to bed or else she will wet. Hope, on the other hand has been dry at night for months now... at the age of two. Interesting, how each child is so different, no?

Anyway... back to my original story. Tonight Hope was struggling to fall asleep. Eva was already off in the land of Nod probably dreaming of Prince Charming within minutes of climbing into bed. Hope, on the other hand, started hollering at me a good thirty minutes after I left their room. When I went in to check on her, she was in tears. I asked her what was wrong, and the tears immediately stopped. It took her awhile to think of something that might be wrong, then she announced that she was scared. (For the record, she did NOT seem scared.) I asked what about, and she responded, "that lady was looking at me." Ohhhhhh, that makes sense (read sarcasm here). Sometimes, helping Hope wind down for the night can be quite a drawn out struggle.

I tried a new approach with her tonight, giving her four little books to look at in bed. I told her that once her books were done, she would have to lay down and go to sleep. Sure enough, around 9:30 and 15 minutes later she was hollering at me again. "Mom! Get these books out of here!" I went in and removed her books then she layed her head on her pillow. After I covered her up, she peacefully looked up at me with her big soft eyes. I stroked her forehead and blonde hair for a moment, then I said, "Hope, you are a good girl."

After another few moments gazing at my baby I say, "Jesus loves you."

She just stares up at me, slight smile on her little lips and restful look in her eyes.

"And Mommy loves you too."

"Good night, Hope."

Then her eyes brighten and her head pops off her pillow. "No, we're playing House on the Prairie and you're Ma and I'm Mary."

I say, "Good night Mary, sleep well."

I hear, "Good night Ma."

And then she closes her eyes and goes to sleep.


Ellen said...

Thanks for sharing about your girls and their sleep schedules. I have very much the same thing with Evan and Seth. Seth is a champion sleeper and napper, and Evan is definitely not. The little one is improving, though, and I've learned that tearing my hair out doesn't help things. =)

Rebecca S. said...

fun post :) i have a totally unsubstantiated theory -- based on our recent potty training + sleep stuff... i think the having trouble falling asleep and the staying dry at night are connected -- both based on having trouble (or slow?) letting go in general. we've started doing books for as long as savannah wants as long as she's in bed otherwise she keeps herself up all night. meanwhile, everett has been sleeping great from birth (6 hours a night at birth is now 10 hours per night waking up once usually to eat). thank God kids are all different!

The Mrs. said...

Thats great!