Saturday, August 7, 2010

Remnants of a sleep bomb

Our little Super Girl

So at 24 months, Isabelle is pretty impressive. By this point she can - with good accuracy - count to 10, sing at least half dozen of her favorite songs, say the entire alphabet, can identify all the colors of the rainbow and then some (ie: peach, brown, silver, etc...) and put her own shoes on. Her language skills are strong for her age and she's potty trained (despite us). All things that make us happy.

There is, however, one thing worth noting that she is especially good at...in fact, I'd say she's great at it. And that would be AVOIDING SLEEP.

Similar to the way dogs can smell a tornado coming well before us mere mortals know there's even a possibility, sleep has always been Isabelle's personal barometer. Her sleep habits have always had a way of warning me when something is about to happen like teething or a cold. The slightest thing would give way a number of reasons an all nighter would make total sense to her. And reason or not, the child has begun her day at an hour starting with 5 more than any other her whole life. Take this propensity to avoid a full nights sleep in bed and insert a new baby brother, using the potty, and a big girl bed (which means free roaming to her) and you have quite the fun situation on your hands.

After experiencing a bedtime in which I was sure a monster overtook my sweet girl's body, complete with foaming at the mouth, growing claws, and roars so loud I was sure her normal sweet spirit was hiding under the sheets, we decided to take action. After ruling out any new teeth coming, any ailment or invisible friend tapping her shoulder all night to ensure she didn't sleep, we started with a brilliant idea. We called it the lots and lots of love and kisses technique. Full of fairies and flowers, we felt really good about showering her with loads of love (it comes easy, lets be honest) to ensure she feels safe and comforted and can rest peacefully knowing that we're just down the hall.

What's that you say? She knows we love her? She's taking us for a ride? Ahhhh...maybe that's why there isn't a book written about our special technique because the point was to get her to sleep all night, not perpetuate the problem 10 fold. Then we tried a variety of of other home grown ideas. Then it was getting to the point ALL of us were suffering. Like pain kind of suffering. Like crying from exhaustion at any given moment (that would be me, the mom). Isabelle was sleep deprived, Richard was sleep deprived and not to mention, I was (am still) getting up at least two times a night to feed Sebastian.

So then we went all super nanny on her. Sprinkled with warnings of putting the baby bed back in her room and time outs, it has worked...sort of. Well, things are better. Not perfect, but much much better. However, super nanny technique (putting the child back to bed, even if it means a hundred times, without "engaging with them") has even backfired.

Most nights she just ends up with us in bed. Whatev'. It's kind of nice, really and most of the time we ask ourselves what's the big deal if we all sleep better. Ce la vie.

However, on the nights she does somehow manage to stay in bed, she sneaks pass us like a ninja, throwing things - like bags, blankets, hats, anything - down the stairs trying to wake up Yoly (our live-in whose room is near the bottom of the stairs) to come get her! She moves out of her room in silence and tries to send SOS signals to Yoly downstairs! Any idea how unnerving it is to have a 24 month old roaming the halls at-who-knows-what-time throughout the night? All I can say is that I'm thankful the reinforced baby gate with iron clothes bin shoved in front (yes, she has managed to figure out every baby gate) to keep her from going down two flights of marble stairs on her own. And in the morning there is always a new pile of clothes, toys, anything she can get her hands on, awaiting us at the bottom of the stairs.

Remnants of a sleep bomb.

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