I have always been under the impression that there were two kinds of people – night people and day people. I have functioned under the idea that while I am a day person that thrives in the morning light but fades quickly as the sun sets, the Hubs and the daughter were night people. I grew up with a day person and a night person for parents and I just thought that that was how people worked. That it was something in the brain, that it was their normal.
9:30 AM - Sleeping soundly. The day is practically gone.
As the day approaches that the girl begins kindergarten, I have realized that I have got to get her to a different place in her life. The days of sleeping in while I shower her, clothe her and drive her are quickly ending and I need her to begin to function before 8 AM.
This is not normal.
I have been doing a lot of research on sleep patterns and have discovered that this sleepy tendency that she possesses has less to do with genetics and more to do with the fact that I have never sleep trained her. I have got to tell you, it kind of stings to know that you are to blame for things that have gone wrong with your kid, especially when you pride yourself on being able to get your child to do a lot of things pretty easily.
When she was an infant she slept and nursed on command. If the Hubs let her sleep all day, I just dealt with the repercussions that night. When she started daycare, things at home were still very much the same. Daycare had a schedule, they had discipline, but I was a working momma with very little time with her baby. No schedule! Just sleep when you are tired!
This kid is not sleeping. Not even a little.
She slept solely in our bed until she was two. She had a crib. It was what we used to hold her stuffed animals. When she moved into her own room, her own bed, things went from bad to worse. She would fight. Every single night she would fight. And it was hard. I used every Super Nanny trick I could find.
No eye contact? Check!
No raised voices? Check!
No extra snuggles, extra love, or extra cups of water? Check! Check! Check!
Eventually she would scream herself to sleep and, yet, within an hour of me lying down in my own bed? There she was, screaming at me about water or potty or the “debil”. And I would scoop her up and toss her between myself and the Hubs in an effort to just get some flippin’ sleep.
Other nights I would give up the fight. I was too tired or I didn't feel well or something and just didn’t want to do it. So, I would give in and lay in her bed next to her only to wake up hours later with a crick in my neck, makeup slathered on my pillow smooshed face, and a wide awake Supergirl smacking me in the face and talking a thousand miles a minute. I would take her to bed with me, knowing that I was setting a bad precedent, knowing that in the long run this, this was the wrong way to go. Or I would just take her to bed with me when it was time to go rather than even begin the fight in the first place. Or the two of us would crash on the couch in front of the TV (cause that’s healthy, right?)
So, here we are at 5 years and 3 months (almost) old and I still cannot get my child to go to sleep at a normal hour. Last night, I had a plan. After a week of research and talking myself into this, I was ready. I had my arsenal prepared.
7 PM: TV off. Sit and talk to Supergirl about her day. Discuss the importance of the letter Z (the class letter of the week). Practice writing the letter Z.
7:30 PM: Shower. Sing silly shower songs and make fun of my vulva and my lumpy butt (cause that never gets old. Never.)
8:00 PM: Brush and braid hair. Put on pajamas. Pick a book.
8:15 PM: Story time.
LOVE these books. Seriously. Order them now. I'll wait.
8:30 PM: Lights out, good night
8:55 PM: “Momma, I gotta potty.”
9:07 PM: “Momma, I need water.”
9:13 PM: “Girl, I know you are behind me, I can hear you breathing. Get in bed.”
9:19 PM: Carry crying child back to bed, no eye contact.
9:36 PM: Carry screaming child back to bed, no eye contact.
9:37 PM: Stand crying in the bathroom because child just stabbed me in the eyeball. Search for signs of internal bleeding. Count to ten.
9:42 PM: Idle threat
9:49 PM: Bigger threat
10:07 PM: Hubs comes home. Child ramps up screaming, this time for “Daddddddy”
10:13 PM: Carry daddy screaming child back to bed. Actually say, “I will give you something to cry…” until I realize what I am saying and storm out of room.
It keeps going like this until 11:45 PM.
I knew that this wouldn’t be easy and I am glad that I made the decision to do this 5 months before she is scheduled to start kindergarten, but is it really this hard? Do other people have these issues? Should I shift her back even earlier?
What do you do to get your kid to sleep?