Monday, August 9, 2010

"I had a bad dream...."

Shortly after Ava turned 4 last year, Davis started sleeping through the night. He was six months old. "Yay! I get to sleep through the night again, too!" was probably my first thought. Unfortunately for me, Ava developed a fear of the night around the same time her brother began to embrace it. I really thought it was a phase. She started waking up a few times a night, saying, "I had a bad dream." Rarely could she tell us the nature of the dream, but that's the way dreams often go, right? I quickly figured out that if I laid in her bed with her, she'd get back to sleep and be fine. Problem is, she has a big bed (double), so I can get pretty comfy in there, and next thing I know, I'm waking up and it's morning.

Now, I'm not so cold-hearted that I think children who wake up scared should not be comforted. Quite the contrary. I remember the night being a little scary around that age, and a little hug from my mommy always made me feel better, too. I also remember getting into my parents' bed on stormy nights and getting to sleep there. But it was never a nightly thing.

Back to Ava. All of this started about a year ago. Up until then, she had been the BEST sleeper. She'd go down without a fight, read books in her bed until she fell asleep, sleep until way past was great. Now this has become our night:

-Use every possible excuse not to go to bed
-Read two books. Argue about who gets to read them (her or me)
-Say prayers.
-Oops! Gotta use the bathroom. Again.
-Family hug.
-Sing a lullaby.
-"Hold me for a minute."
-Sit in a chair next to her bed for 5 minutes.
-Tell her goodnight, then wait for the tears to come.
-comfort her.
-She reads about 10 books, then calls for me to come take them out of her bed.
-She realizes she is scared, and asks for books back. We say, no, it's time to sleep. Then it's in and out of bed until she falls asleep. With the light on.

On the flip side, here is Davis' nighttime routine:
-Read two books.
-Turn on lullaby CD.
-Baby in crib. Night-night!

Anyway, I feel like I'm being a teeny bit manipulated with this whole bedtime thing, and I know that if I would just buckle down and be a Mean Mom, then maybe we could make some progress. But I feel sorry for her when she's crying that she's "too scared", so then I end up lying down with her until she falls asleep, or sleeping there in the middle of the night. She's only going to be this little for so long, and I doubt she's going to make me come lie down in her dorm room with her at college. My goal for now is to take baby steps to getting her to sleep on her own again, and trying not to get too frustrated with her in the meantime.

Did I mention that the poor girl also seems to be afflicted by night terrors? Now that's some weird stuff, let me tell you. She wakes up maybe an hour or 2 after falling asleep. She's crying, sweating, trembling, but totally unaware of what's going on. We ask her questions, she doesn't respond. After a few minutes, it passes, and she goes back to sleep, and never has any recollection of it the next day. Freaky stuff, especially the first few times it happened.

On a completely different topic, today is my birthday. I got the sweetest cards from my husband and kids this morning, and they really brightened my day. Turning 29 again has been great! I have a two-night celebration planned. Tonight is dinner at Dos Taquitos (margarita para mis cumpleanos, por favor) with the family. And then tomorrow night is dinner with the husband at my favorite restaurant, Poole's Diner. They have the best, best, best food in the world. Seriously. The world. And they have a kick-ass female chef. (Why is it that women are the primary chefs in most homes, but the most renowned chefs are actually men? Weird.)

I had planned to start my birthday with a run this morning. Alarm went off at 6:15, at which point I debated whether or not this run was going to happen. I decided it would be a good birthday present to myself, so I got dressed and ready to go. I walked out of the bathroom only to find Ava sitting on the floor of my bedroom. Seriously??? I said, "Honey, it's too early. You need to go back to bed." (and adding to myself, "since you stayed up until 9:30 last night fighting sleep). She said, as she rubbed her eyes, that she wasn't tired. So, instead of fighting it, I went back to her bed with her, and waited until she fell asleep. Next thing I knew it was 7:20, and the opportunity to run had passed. Maybe I didn't really want to go after all? Hmmm.

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