Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Sleep Lately - What Not To Do

I know, I've still been awol. Basically, I've still been sleeping every chance I get. Which has been good for me, bad for the blog. You see, we're still struggling to reach a new normal with F's sleep. I said last time that I didn't regret weaning, but I take that back - I regret it, hard. What I thought was bad was in fact totally doable. To be really honest, I hate bedtime right now. It's the worst part of our day. It takes twice as long as it did, she will still only tolerate me putting her down (as opposed to her Dad), and it's a much more frustrating process. It seems to take at least two hours, start to finish, and unfortunately I start to lose patience after about an hour and a half. I'm reading the No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers, and it has helped, but I'm still not happy with the situation. 

Maybe I'm expecting too much. I'm just trying to create the conditions under which she's tired enough to fall asleep, in her bed, more or less unaided (although I'm with her). I don't actually PUT her to sleep. I don't rock, or sing, or do anything terribly taxing other than read stories for a long time and then repeatedly put her back in bed. Sometimes we cuddle. Some nights, she rolls over in bed and goes to sleep without TOO much fuss. Other nights, she squirms and jumps and giggles - actively fighting sleep. I remarked to a friend that it was like watching someone who was desperately trying not to fall asleep at the wheel - everything short of slapping herself and pounding a Red Bull. Since then, I have actually seen her slap herself on the cheeks! Here's what we're trying:

Earlier dinner and bedtime. If I'm going to stand a chance of getting her down by 8:30, we need to go upstairs by 6:30. Ridiculous, right? I want to condense this so she's going down about 7:30, like before. 

White noise. The nightlight that was already in her room happens to have a white noise setting, so giving that a shot. It helps in that she can't hear her Dad coming and going with the dog, which is a distraction. 

When I start to lose it, I take a 2 minute time out. I don't know if it helps her, but it helps me. She cries when I leave the room, but maybe it's a little reset button?

So, this is the routine:
5:30-6:00 Bath
6:00-6:30 Hot Tea (warm milk)
6:30-7:30 Tidy room (toys out of reach), teeth, pyjamas. ALL the books. In my opinion, this takes too long, but I'm trying to get her to a point where she's actually sleepy. If I limit the books to like 3, she's still wide awake and I get crazy jumping-bean baby.
7:30-8:30 Bedtime, aka repeatedly put down my squirmy, tired, desperate-to-stay-up kid. 

I'm also trying to keep her nap as early as possible (I'm certain she still needs one), and have a lot of physical activity during the day. What else can I do??? I won't resort to CIO - it just ain't for me. Tips would be much appreciated. In case you were wondering, if I just take a chill pill and start later, it doesn't seem to make a difference - it's still a 2 hour process, only then she's overtired and either hyper, or prone to screaming in my face, which is nice. 
To make matters worse, we're going to be doing some travelling next month which will only upset things further. Waaaaah. 

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  1. We find the best approach is to "take the fun away" once it is bedtime. Our little one is able to get out of bed and her room but will find one of her parents waiting in the corridor. We're there (usually reading a book or the news on a smartphone) to prevent her scampering into the rest of the house. Given she can't get far, she'll try to interact with us. Dancing, jumping, attempts at hug or any other kind of interaction are firmly ignored because if they're not it's still awake fun-time right? Sometimes she'll give it up and go to bed, other times there needs to be some enforement, so again we take the fun away by making her sit still. When she starts to complaint she is required to sit still for longer then she'd like, and once she's free to get up she'll usually take herself to bed.

    Works for us.

    1. I like it! Thank you! I guess I'm trying that in a way, in that I make sure that all toys and distractions are put away, but I suppose we're the biggest distraction of all!