Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Working the System

Isn't it funny how things just evolve? I mean, at one point, things are going along all fine and dandy and then all of a sudden you find yourself somewhere completely different and you think "How did I get here?"

For instance just a couple of months ago Miss A was consistently sleeping through the night. On the rare occasions she did wake up I could easily rock her a bit and put her back to bed. In these past couple of months things have gradually shifted. One particular night, she kept waking up and I was repeatedly going in to comfort her, finally I decided to leave her for a bit thinking she'd fall asleep as she always had before. Instead she climbed out of the crib. This was a turning point. Obviously, there would be no more waiting for her to fall asleep again. If I wouldn't come and get her out of bed she'd just do it herself.

What has evolved is the following. If she cries in the night (which is happening more and more frequently) I promptly go to her, whereas before I would wait her out and she'd usually drift off again quickly. What I found was that rocking with her a bit wasn't working. She seemed to not settle back down if I removed her from bed. What I resorted to one night was giving her a bottle and then going back to bed. To my surprise this worked like a charm and it could be done with little interruption to my own sleep.

The downfall? It would seem that I have been getting up almost like clockwork at 3 am to give her a bottle. I'm finding this to be a problem. I don't mind doing that sort of thing every once in a while, as a treat, to help calm her down and get her back to sleep. What I feel is happening is that she's working me. That she's waking up in the night and instead of just rolling over and going back to sleep she knows that if she cries out I'll make her a bottle and she could really go for a bottle right now.

Maybe this doesn't seem like a big deal. I think it is. I miss the girl who slept through the night. I miss my sleep. I am fully aware that my nights of half decent sleep are numbered and I'd really like to take advantage of them while I can. So what can I do? I'm trying to come up with a game plan. Feel free to give suggestions. I would also take words of encouragement.

And now, a mish mash of photos to amuse you.


Elicia said...

Miss A is so sweet! I feel for you and the sleep issues. Ethan and I have struggled so much with sleep issues. When Cam was working out of town I would just bring Ethan into bed with me when he woke up in the middle of the night. He'd fall back asleep no problem and so would I. The downside is that I now have a huge struggle on my hands if I'm trying to get him back to sleep in his own crib as he knows I'm a big push over and that if he cries enough I'll come get him. On the other hand, all Cam has to do is go in and say "Ethan, it's night night time, go to sleep!" and I don't here another peep out of him! That frustrates me so much! Have you tried getting Peter to put her back to sleep?

jaybee4000 said...

Thirty years ago it was normal to give a child a bottle for bed. I know most people don't do it now though. You might try making it a bottle with water in it and maybe even putting it in the bed before you go to sleep so she just finds it. But if she is just working you, good luck. Kids are like squirrels, they may just be smarter than adult

Mama D said...

I thought of the bottle of water thing too but I can pretty much bet that she'd laugh in my face. I know apple juice in bottles in bed became a big no no because the sugar and acidity were a bad combination for the teeth. I'm hoping milk won't be so bad. Anyway, it's definitely NOT something I want to be doing... I don't know. We'll see what happens maybe it's a phase.

bon said...

erm... bad news, milk is pretty much pure sugar too. A trick we have used is watering down the milk... that way it's still milk, but maybe not the exact score they were hoping for.

But me? I'm a sucker. I just go ahead and give 'em the milk in a sippy cup anyway. The cut-off age for sippies in this house is 5 years old, so it's not like they'll ruin their permanent teeth.

ali said...

ok, im mean, but it worked/s for us: we put claire in a bed, shut the door (after repeated attempts at putting her back in when she got out - like on super nanny) and did not leave any toys/distractions in the room. she got the point real quick, and for the moment (cause thats all routine behaviour seems to last these days) we know when she cries something is wrong, and if nothing is wrong we let her get back to sleep on her own. maybe im just too selfish with my sleep or lack the patience for attachment parenting that seems to come so easy to everyone around me.

the other advice that i found helpful was "start as you mean to go on" and there was something else like change/transition is hard, but dealing with the problem for longer can be harder.

bon said...

Oh yeah... but I forgot to mention that I fall back asleep the second my head hits the pillow, so for me to get up a time or two in the night is a non-issue.

Is a talent that has saved my parenting bacon, but one that I understand is not common.

And I did not mention... cute kid, but look at those long arms and legs, that cannot possible be MISS A! She a BIG GIRL!! AAAAAAAAAIE!

elizasmom said...

1. A — is for adorable, yes? I love her beautiful curls.

2. I haven't experienced this exact problem but I know well the slippery slope problem of which you speak. Dude, my sympathies.

3. Eliza doesn't wake up at night. Nooo, she just gets up at 6 a.m. on weekends. I have actually resorted to tinfoiling her windows so her room seems darker, in hopes of getting her to sleep late. This has been largely ineffective and now we still wake up early, only our neighbors think we're paranoid delusionals.

Elizabeth said...

Man she looks like you! So! Much!

I'm sorry about what you are going through. It IS a big deal because you are PREGNANT. I wish I had advice, but as you know, fixing sleep problems is not my strong suit. I would maybe see if the hubs could take over that 3:00 feeding and see if maybe she lets it go some when she realizes you won't be the one to come and comfort her.

Oh my goodness! My mom wrote a comment up there! She's de-lurking for you!

Beth - Total Mom Haircut said...

Sorry, that one above is me. I screwed up. Way to pump up your comments though, right?