Monday, June 18, 2012

Sleep, or the Lack Thereof

Our daughter is delightful, but she doesn't like to sleep.  I think this might be normal for some kids.  We don't know much about her first eleven months of life, but I often wonder if nights were a rough time for her.  Maybe that's why she struggles now.  Or perhaps she'd have the same issues with sleep if she had grown in my womb.  Anyway, we've tried all kinds of things to help her sleep through the night...with the goal of all of us getting some much needed uninterrupted sleep.

Here's our most recent sleepless adventure...
Last night our dear daughter woke me up at 3 am with a soaked diaper.  I changed the diaper and escorted her back to bed.  As she started to protest, I gently reminded her that she could play in her room if she wasn't tired, but I needed to sleep so she must stay in her room.  She chose to play in the hallway outside our bedroom door and I guess she got bored, so she popped back into my room at 4 am.  Lovely.  That time she got a consequence and I calmly returned her to her bed.  I was proud of her that she didn't melt down but accepted the circumstances.  She finally went back to sleep in her room and slept till 8 am.  At nap time today, she opted to skip the nap and played in her room instead.  By dinner she was exhausted and took a brief nap while I got the meal prepped.  I woke her- have to admit it was sort of fun to wake her since she woke me twice last night!!- so she could have dinner with us.  She was an angry bear!  But, finally she ate and we went through our normal night time routine after eating.  Funny thing, while we snuggled and read books she repeatedly told me, "I'm not tired!"  But all her body language shouted, "I'm exhausted!"  My husband and I laughed and laughed.  I figured at bedtime she'd drop off quickly.  Nope, an hour later she was cruising the halls again- which she is not supposed to do.  I reminded her that a consequence awaited her if she roamed around again.  As I write this, all is quiet and our sleep fighter has finally given in to slumber.

Our sweetie in her toddler bed. The bed didn't last long as she kept falling out in her sleep. Not fun.

Like I said, we've tried so many different "solutions" in the 18 months that our daughter has been home from China.  Some things work for a while, but then we revisit the struggles all over again and new solutions have to be found.  I've read the books, and I've dialogued with other adoptive moms from our travel group.  Still, I'm reaching out again to see if there's an idea that we haven't tried.  (Please share your thoughts in the comments section!!)  Also, having her out of the crib is still quite new and presenting a whole new set of "adventures" for us to figure out.

Here's our list of trial and error attempts to help our girl rest well:
-stick to a night time routine
-night light and ocean sounds in room
-no night light (now she has one again)
-bottle before bed (when she was a baby)
-no bottle before bed
-rock her to sleep in desperation
-investigated food allergies (none we know of)
-bumper in the crib
-no bumper in the crib
-parent sleep on the floor in the room (when we are desperate)
-change diaper around 10:30 or 11:00 pm
-scripture lullabies playing in room
-daughter sleeps in our bed (she thrashes around, chats, and nobody sleeps!)
-switch from crib to toddler bed in her own room
-switch from toddler bed to twin mattress on the floor
-she prefers sleeping on the floor since she rolls off the mattress in her sleep
-digital clock in her room so she knows what time it is (still learning her numbers)
-sleeping on the floor in parents' bedroom...a solution when we are desperate
-allowing her to play with stuffed animals in her room until she's tired
-snuggle with her till she falls asleep, another desperate measure
-always...we pray.

The one thing that is working for me is to stay calm in the midst of loud crying in the middle of the night.  I tend to get really ticked when I don't get good sleep, so this has not been easy for me.  I know God is using this whole experience to smooth the rough places in me and make me more like Jesus.  I also know that this is only a season.  Eventually, our daughter is going to be able to sleep through the night regularly.  Still, it can be really rough being in the midst of it.  That's why I so appreciate conversations with other moms.  We usually discover as we chat that our life experiences are strikingly similar at times.  Sometimes one mom will have a brilliant idea that is so helpful.  Other times it's just a balm to have somebody to talk to that can honestly say, "I know what you mean!"  Thanks for listening to me babble on tonight!