Lil’ Miss Red is funny, caring and lovable. She smiles, tells us silly statements and is a joy to be around. Except for bedtime. Then she’s the Girl Who Cries Wolf.
Her history of sleep has been, like most children, rocky. As an infant she was nocturnal and her wakeful period was from 7 p.m. until midnight or 1 a.m., when she would still get up one or two times during the night to eat and I had a 5:30 a.m. wakeup call to pump.
She started sleeping through the night, 75% of the time, when she was a little more than a year old. We had a nice routine and she’d happily talk to herself, sometimes for upwards of an hour, in her crib, with all of the lights out and the door closed. When she didn’t sleep through the night it was usually related to teething or sickness and within a week she’d be back to her usual pattern.
That was one year ago.
Now, at two, Lil’ Miss Red has a new plan. To get out of going to sleep. Enter her new tactics:
- Throwing her pjs away. She has placed them in both the trashcan and her diaper genie.
- Crying “help me.”
- Crying “I have a poopy diaper.”
- Crying “hey mama” or “hey dada” repeatedly.
- New iterations of how far the door can be open. “Open the doorway” and “not dark” are new calls from the crib.
Any of the above combinations can go on for an hour. With an 8 p.m. bedtime, this means that she sometimes doesn’t fall asleep until 9, or even 9:30 p.m. A few weeks ago I went in after 9 and insisted that all of her friends were asleep. “Wake them up,” was her response.
Oh sure, we do the various tactics of getting ready for bed. No TV an hour before bedtime, reading books, giving her ample verbal announcements about changing clothes, offering her an option of who will sing her songs, letting her pick said songs as we rock her, etc.
Her stubbornness is starting to shift to naps, too. We’ve found that one of the ways she’ll at least go into her crib is by convincing her that everyone is “taking a rest.” We’ve even started singing a favorite song, courtesy of Sesame Street. The Caribbean back beat really helps.
Nearly two years ago I ended my maternity leave and I quipped that the key to work/life balance was sleep. Not much and a little of everything has changed since then.