Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sleep...

We've been getting more of it, yay!

Mid-July, not too long after we got back from our whirlwind trip to Chicago, Aurora figured out how to climb out of her crib. At first, she didn't try it again, but within a few days she was climbing out every single time she was put in the crib. Good-bye, sleep. Once she figured out that we couldn't keep her in the crib, she also started refusing to go to sleep. So we decided that the crib was no longer an effective use of space and took it down.

Now, we knew this would make bedtimes difficult for a while, but surely no more difficult than they already were, right? Ha! Aurora's a smart little cookie who has a lot of patience when she wants to. Most nights we would do her bedtime routine, then try to rock her or lay with her to help her fall asleep. If we left her, she would get up and play for hours. It was not uncommon for it to take 2 hrs for her to finally fall asleep. Often getting her to sleep involved lots of screaming and fighting mommy or daddy. But she would eventually relax and fall asleep. Many nights, she would sleep for two hours, wake up, and we would have to do it all over again. No fun at all, not to mention exhausting.

We knew we were doing something wrong and that somehow there had to be a way that was easier that didn't involve hours of screaming and crying. We tried leaving her and letting her play, but she would play till who-knows-when and I (Regina) couldn't sleep while she was awake making noise in her room. Me not getting any sleep is a very bad thing, so that just wasn't going to work for us. We tried letting her sleep with us, but she wouldn't sleep there, either. Most "helpful" people told us we weren't letting her cry enough--but if they could be in our home at bedtime, they would know that that was definitely not true. I even made Aurora a weighted blanket, hoping that would help her little fidgety body relax--she likes it and it helps her sleep once she's already asleep, but she hates it being put over her before she's asleep.

Then one night, Wil decided to turn off the rain CD that we had playing on repeat in her room to help drown out noises at night. Aurora screamed and cried like normal (for over and hour) and then proceeded to sleep for 9 hours. She had never slept that long in her life, ever--never saw that one coming! So, the kiddo can sleep...so we started looking for other things that might be bothering her. I described our situation to a couple of online friends and they offered several very different suggestions that we, stuck in our rut, hadn't thought of.

We started simple: empty her room of toys (hello, messy living room!) and just stop fighting her. We do our bedtime routine and I lay down next to her in her bed and sing her bedtime songs, then I kiss her good night and leave. We actually haven't done more than that because she's been putting herself to sleep after less than 10 minutes of fussing in her dark room. Yesterday she fell asleep on the rocking chair for naptime, but she slept! Last night was the best night we have ever had in her entire life: she slept for 6 hrs, woke to nurse, and slept for another 6 hrs. Apparently her room was too distracting to her, too much to do, so much to explore. Her busy little mind and body wanted to keep playing and learning, even though she was tired. Now, once she sees that her room is boring, she goes and sleeps, cuddled up against pillows on her bed.

I never thought that we would find the "silver bullet" for Aurora's sleep, but this is definitely awesome! It's only been a few nights that we've been doing this, so we'll see if it continues, but I have hope that it will. I'm thrilled that we found a simple, gentle way to help her sleep--she does it all herself! Who would have thought that would work? :)

So, that is why I haven't had the energy to update the blog for like a month. Once we get a bit more caught up on sleep, I'll try to catch you all up on what you've been missing.

~Regina

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