Will and I are tired. Really, really tired. Frances has been waking us up nearly every night since Thanksgiving of last year (2010).
Initially, it was genuine nightmares. She would wake up crying out for one of us, scared and sweaty. Sometimes this would be once a night; sometimes dozens of times a night. So, we made some changes to her routine – cut out all “scary” movies (she loved watching Snow White and Cinderella, but honestly, those are pretty frightening to a three-year-old), put a nightlight near her room, set a “friend” in her doorway (as suggested by the pediatrician) so she could feel protected, and talk as positively as we could about bedtime, her room, happy dreams and other nighttime themes.
She still doesn’t sleep well, but we have moved past nightmares to general restlessness. On a good night, Frances wakes up at least three or four times before 5:30am (the bad nights are too tragic to mention). The reasons vary between quick cry outs for water to longer bathroom breaks or a diaper change. Frances took to potty training like a dream child (in less than two days), but the night time training has been put on temporary hold until we get past this sleeping issue. And I am refusing to stress about that.
When Frances was about four-weeks-0ld, Will and I went to an office Christmas party. We were both undoubtedly looking highly sleep-deprived and one of my co-workers came up to me and said (encouragingly? I’ve never figured out why), “Lucy, they never sleep through the night. The smart ones never sleep.” At this rate, I am fully expecting Frances to get a full ride scholarship to any Ivy League college she applies. At the very least, she owes us that.
In all seriousness, I worry a lot about Frances’s sleeping habits. Children grow in their sleep; their cells rejuvenate; their minds restart; and their bodies recover from the previous day's energies. I wonder what could be going through that active mind of hers that wakes her up at night and wonder if Will and I are handling things the “right” way or making them worse (I have been adamant to-date about not letting her crawl into bed with us in the middle of the night, but maybe that would help? Or are there other tricks we should be trying?)
Some pictures of Frances during her "better sleeping" days
Frances pretending to sleep - so that's what she looks like with her eyes closed?!
Thankfully, George sleeps like a champ. Of course, by posting that last sentence I am certain I have jinxed our only rested child. I suppose we could just double up on the scholarship acceptances.