Friday, June 26, 2009

Emily's Night

I mentioned to Don yesterday that I wanted to price some toddler bedding, so during Emily's nap, the boys, Anna and Mommy went to Walmart, which is our go-to place because of the short, eight-minute drive. Other stores are about 25 minutes away.

As I feared, they had only ultra-commercialized-looking Disney princesses and a satin Dora set. We don't have any Disney videos, except for Pooh Bear (Mommy's favorite pal), so Emily can't yet relate to anything princess-oriented. I was discouraged, but after arriving home empty-handed, Don remembered that we still had a Target card someone had given us for Christmas. Yippee! Target is usually a good bet for housewares, so I put Anna down for her nap and when Rosey woke up the two of us set off together. The boys were very happy to stay behind, after having swindled a sprinkler out of me at Walmart. The temperature was hitting 90 degrees with humidity, so they didn't have to work on me too long. I knew it would cool Mommy and Daddy and baby off too, more than once this summer!

Emily hasn't gotten much in the way of material things since she was born, so I was very happy to be doing something special for her. We already had lots of puzzles and toys and books, and extended family has given her dolls, so there wasn't ever a need to purchase much.

We found a very lovely set at Target, complete with soft sheets! It's a pastel floral combination, with a coordinating pastel plaid pattern on the underside. She was thrilled! We also got matching decor for the wall--various sized pastel dots that give the effect of wallpaper.

And now for the sleep details. Thank you so much for your input. It didn't occur to me that she no longer needed much day sleep. Timothy gave up his nap at 30 months, if my memory serves me right, but I thought it was because I was 10 weeks pregnant with Emily and had to wean him. I had lost weight from morning sickness and didn't think it was wise to continue nursing; besides, there wasn't much milk left. Without being nursing to sleep for his nap, it just wasn't happening, even when I offered to lie down with him. He actually was very tired after about 3 o'clock for a good three months, leading to some cranky dinner and pre-bedtime behavior. Not a fun period.

I really thought his situation was an unfortunate fluke. So when the broken-record, put-them-back, matter-of-fact routine wasn't working to keep Emily in her crib, it didn't occur to me that she just wasn't TIRED enough to stay in. It should have, however, because of the way it happened, in comparison to Timothy's situation. He came out continuously, requiring me to camp outside his door for about 30-45 minutes, for about a week. Then the problem was solved; he was too tired to keep up with the fight. His body was ready for sleep.

Emily, when put back in, did try to stay in, but when she couldn't fall asleep, she would come back out, apparently from boredom. The time intervals were longer--most escapes were about fifteen minutes or more apart, up until 9 p.m.

After reading the suggestion that her nap was now cutting into her nighttime sleep, I planned for her to fall asleep around 9:00 p.m., after having awakened that morning at 7:oo, and napping for about two hours--leading to 12 hours total sleep, which is the minimum for her age. More would be better, but I have to work with her body and with the season. Maybe there is some beneficial biological reason for going to sleep at 9:00 in the summer. It is certainly true that our bodies respond to darkness, in a chemical way, priming us for sleep at that time.

Everything went swell! She was tired at 9:00 and only came out once. I decided not to threaten to spank. Firstly, I didn't think she would be bored or have an interest in coming out. Secondly, I want her to come out freely anytime she needs to use the bathroom.

This morning she initially awoke at 6:30, but when I told her it wasn't 7 yet, she went back in her room and fell asleep until 7:20. And, my goodness, she loves the bedding! I think it makes her feel like a big girl just to have covers on her bed, like the rest of us. She went in there a few times this morning just to get under the covers again. Cute.

I've heard it said from experts that the sleep we get before midnight is our best sleep of the night. If that's true, I would prefer an earlier bedtime for Emily, but that may happen in the fall naturally. We'll see how things go in the next week, with her overall wellness and cheerfulness.

Anyhow, thanks again for your input!


Andrew & Terri said...

Yay! I'm so glad that it went well! :) Gabe loves his bedding, too..even though it's a totally mismatched combination of the quilt my mom made him before he was born, and the Cars pillowcase she made him last month.

Steph said...

Yay! Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees when it comes to kids and sleep issues...this I have learned! Hope it continues to go well. Maybe after a few days with shortened or decreased naps she'll be tired enough to go to bed earlier, too. We always found there was a rough patch around suppertime when the kids adjusted to shorter or no naps, but it passes. :)