Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sleep


Yesterday was a rough day for both Amalia and I. We both had had a bad night of sleep, an inexplicable set back in Amalia’s sleep patterns. She had made a fuss going to sleep and woke up several times to call me to her bed and to ask me to stay with her.

Five months ago, after we moved cross-country, Amalia’s routine was thrown and she resented this. I had underestimated the impact the move would have on her. After all I though that when you are three years old, as long as you are with your parents you should be happy enough. But I was wrong. Overnight she went from going to daycare full time to being at home with me. She was bored, she asked for her friends. One month into our stay I excitedly told her we were going to visit the Space Needle, something she had been obsessing about since the move. She loves the Space Needle, even before we had moved she talked about it. Sensing my excitement at the prospect of the trip she got very excited herself and told me maybe Kara would be downtown too! Kara was one of her little friends from daycare, and it broke my heart to hear the hope in her voice of meeting her friend again.

Things improved gradually, we had set backs, she stopped eating her staple favourite foods (salmon and spinach soup), and became pickier and pickier in her food choices (plain noodles, plain rice, cheese). Things improved a lot when she started preschool, she came out of her grief and got a new set of friends, and is now so social it amazes me. This brings me back to the issue at hand, which is sleeping habits. Shortly after we settled we bought her first grown-up bed in her first grown-up bedroom. Until then she had slept mainly with us or near us, in a variety of arrangements to suit us all. She took the responsibility of being now a grown-up girl seriously and the thrill of growing up trumped the fears of sleeping alone. So, for months until recently she had gone to bed very peacefully after reading a couple of books and being tucked in. She would fall asleep by herself, and wake up the next morning happy and well rested.

So this latest set back surprised me. For about one week she had tantrums and would wake up during the night. I know that the Christmas/New Year hoopla did contribute to this, and allowing her to stay up to greet the New Year and see the fireworks was not a good idea long term (very animatedly she told me the fireplaces were lovely). So yesterday was the culmination of two sleep deprived people butting heads and running out of patience; she was short-fused and I was tired. We both ended up crying and napping. Last night she went to bed peacefully and slept the whole night. So I hope this regression was just a bleep in the routine and she will be back to her normal self from now onwards. I love her dearly.

My husband told me last night I was probably over-analyzing the whole issue, but it bothered me immensely that I broke down and cried. I don’t remember doing that … in fact I remember quite clearly the last time I had cried like that, almost two years to the day, and it had been entirely justified then. So, I have picked myself up, and am back to my normal balanced self. It is amazing what sleep deprivation does to you!

2 comments:

  1. Cal! Great writing and great post. Your stories take me back to when our kids were little. Thank goodness that Amalia is back to her old self, minus the sleeping! Otherwise, who would eat all that salmon and spinach soup! LOL

    BTW, great picture of her! Awesome smile!

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  2. Cal,
    oh how I hear you, since I have been a mom I have had to deal with sleep issues with my kids at different times. I can look back and see how we did have blips along the way associated with a house move, transatlantic flight, moving into pull ups, moving to big girl bed and growth spurts. Most recently, over the holidays my 3 year old went through exactly what you described - fussing before sleep and then waking every few hours for some reason or other. I think she was over-stimulated by the holidays and missing our usual daytime routine. Eventually this, like other issues in the past, smoothed out.
    I have learned to ride the wave and not allow myself to be worried. This too shall pass. Hang in there, you are not alone.

    Shona

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