Sometimes I feel like my entire life is tied up in whether or not my children get enough sleep. Any mom out there will know what I’m talking about. Or maybe it’s just me.
Kendall is generally easy enough to get to sleep. She’s taking three naps a day and goes to sleep on her own at night. Her problem isn’t going to sleep. It’s staying asleep. She routinely wakes up 45 minutes into her nap, wide awake and ready to play. Then she’s exhausted just 30 minutes later, but unable to settle down. She wakes in the middle of the night and early in the morning with no intention of going back to sleep without intense cajoling. One night last week it lasted for two and a half hours. Let that sink in. For two and a half hours, she was wide awake, either screaming or thinking about screaming. It was not fun. For the past week she’s been stirring between 4 and 5 a.m. wide awake and raring to go. That’s just a bit earlier than I’m willing to get up in the mornings.
Micah, on the other hand, sleeps like a rock. Her problem is going to sleep. I can feel the dread of naptime approaching when it’s still hours away. I know what will happen. I’ll give her a five-minute warning. I’ll set the timer and tell her that when it goes off, it’s time for a nap. Sometimes, she instantly complies, cleaning up her toys and docilely following me to her room, where we’ll read a story, and I’ll gently tuck her in. She’ll give me a hug and kiss, I’ll give her a pat and leave the room. Only to come back five minutes later to discover her surrounded by a pile of books on her bed, quietly resisting a nap. Other times, she flat out refuses to get ready for a nap and throws herself into a rage before we even head to the bedroom. I end up taking away all of her favorite baby dolls, her blankies, and her dream lite every single day before she finally gives it up and goes to sleep. The same thing usually happens at bedtime.
A few nights ago, Dennis and I were sitting in the den, preparing to go to bed ourselves. It was 10:03 when Micah came bebopping into the room. She was wearing a princess gown over her pajamas. She had a crown on her head, a string of Mardi Gras beads around her neck, and one cheap plastic clip-on earring dangling from her right ear. She stuck out her bottom lip as she handed me the other earring and said, “Mama, my eaw-wing bwoke. Can you fix it?”
I just looked at her in shock. Seriously, kid? She had been playing silently in her room for TWO ENTIRE HOURS, and she really expected me to fix the blasted earring? At that moment, I decided that her dress-up clothes probably shouldn’t live in her closet anymore. You can imagine how well that went over.
I’m not really sure how I became this sleep-obsessed mom – I only know that if my kids don’t get enough of it, then it’s all over. I will fiercely protect naps and sequester my girls in the house if something threatens their rest. I’m sure that some people think I’m crazy, but I also know that my sweet little girls turn into raging little monsters if they don’t get enough sleep. I suppose they get that from me.
At any rate, we’ve been going through a rough patch lately. Neither of my girls are sleeping particularly well, and it’s starting to wear on me. As I mentioned before, sleep and I are really good friends. I don’t respond well when our time together is interrupted.
Sigh. I know many of you can commiserate with me. I’m looking forward to the days when they’re a bit older and I can stop worrying so much about the amount of time that their eyes are closed each day. Of course, I’m sure there will be something else to worry about then. It’s just one of the many joys of motherhood. We’ve gotta have something to worry about. And right now, it’s sleep.
Anyone else dealing with sleep issues with their kiddos? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments section.
Until next time, grace and peace.
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