Friday, September 18, 2009
sleep: the unattainable dream
every parent has their issue. some struggle with feeding. some struggle with safety. some struggle with keeping their child as germ-free as possible every single day. my issue with tristan has always been with SLEEP. i became a self-proclaimed nap nazi as soon as i discovered that tristan needed a daily routine in order to...well, in order to not cry the entire live-long-day. and so i became a slave to the routine knowing that if his nap was later than normal, or even if (heaven forbid) he missed napping that day, there would be hell to pay that night.
a few weeks ago i posted about how he's been having difficulty falling asleep during bedtime and naptime. quite a few of you commented that he may be ready to give up his nap. neither josh nor i thought that he was ready for that, (and we still aren't certain that he is) but he decided that he was ready. and we have learned for certain that there is no forcing a child to sleep, just as there is no forcing a child to eat. it just doesn't happen.
so he's been on what i call a nap strike for the past week or so. we try every day to put him down for a nap and every day he just plain refuses to. and believe me, we've played with the times, making his nap earlier or later than normal, let him sit and cry in his room, lay down next to him, told him to have quiet time hoping he'd fall asleep, and nothing has helped. this would be all fine and dandy if he was a normal child who didn't have severe sleep issues. in fact, i was almost relieved to be done the whole napping thing, thinking that his mornings would finally be at an hour most people wake up. HOWEVER, my child has had sleep issues ever since he was a newborn. every sort of transition we've gone through with him has affected his sleep. this "no nap" transition is no exception.
at first, we'd put him to bed an hour earlier than normal when he wouldn't take a nap. that didn't seem to help because he'd just wake up an hour earlier than normal the next morning and be frightfully tired and extremely grumpy all day. then we started putting him to bed just half an hour earlier than normal. and that's when the poop hit the fan. he has not only been waking up at random times during the night, crawling into our bed or hollering for davy crockett, but he is also getting up at 3:30 am and NOT going back to sleep.
as you can imagine, nobody is happy about this. tristan is an over tired mess who still refuses to take a nap despite being perpetually exhausted. josh is having a hard time falling asleep at night, so is averaging about 4 hours sleep total. and me? i've got a newborn with a stuffed up nose who needs comforting at night on top of tag-teaming with josh to try and get the toddler back to bed.
please tell me, did this happen to anybody else? when your toddler was done taking his daily nap, did it adversely affect his night sleep before everything got splendid and happy again? i don't know if this is normal and i'd love to have a light at the end of the tunnel. (though at 3:30 in the morning, that tunnel appears so dark that i'm not sure much light would be able to penetrate it.) advice please again!