Saturday, November 8, 2008

Like Nailing Jello to a Tree

Parenting a toddler. Or a teenager for that matter - like nailing Jello to a tree.

You try. You try your best and think very hard about how to proceed. Do I slice the Jello a little thinner? What if I use less water when making it? Shorter nails? Longer nails? A tree with a softer wood maybe?

My dilemma this week is: to nap or not to nap?

I've talked often of my issues with sleeping and waking times, here and here - both my own and that of my children. After much hell, er very strict practice, I have gotten into the habit of being up by 8am at the latest in the morning, but usually by 6:30 or 7. My baby gets up with me, the Wobbers gets up about 1/2 hour after I do, no doubt from hearing me muse about the kitchen, and My Petite Flower....well that's the issue. Sometimes she gets up with me and sometimes I let her sleep a little. But usually within the hour of my waking, she's up. That is not, per se, the issue.

It's the problem after she's awake. She's up by 8 or 9 most days, sometimes 7.

If she doesn't get a nap, she's pretty darn cranky by about 6 pm. If she is allowed to sleep then, she sleeps till 8 or so then is up until 12 or 1, which I can no longer handle now that I am not pregnant. If I attempt to drag her through the crankiness not allowing her rest, I can give her a bath at 8, be reading books at 8:30, and lay with her through 15 minutes of crying and she's out by 8:45.

If she does nap during the day, she falls asleep sometime between 1 and 3 PM and sleeps anywhere from 1/2 hour to 2 1/2 hours. As you can imagine, this poses some issues. But the real issue is then she doesn't want to go to bed until around 10 or 11. I can still give her the bath at 8 and try for bed by 9, but the results are fruitless. We end up sitting in bed with me very angry and her making lots of blabbering noises to herself because she's not tired. So we get up and I wait until she is tired at 10 or 11. Then sleep is a little easier.

All of these nights, nap or no, are compounded with the problem of trying to get her asleep while keeping My Little Man either asleep or at least content. If he's already asleep, it's great. I can rest him on my chest and cradle her in my left arm. If he's not asleep and wants to nurse, then I have to try and nurse him while she's trying to fall asleep, all the while having her say, "Arm, arm, arm. Arm. Arm!" Meaning - give me your arm to sleep, Mama. While I say, "In a minute. I've got to nurse Little Man (I say his name here actually, but I'm trying to keep it off the blog). I'll give you my arm when he's done." She doesn't like this one bit. So she tries to grab my arm or thrashes around on the bed a bunch. If she would just calm down and let me nurse him, he'd fall asleep and then we could all sleep. *sigh* But she's just a little girl and doesn't get that. She annoys him by rubbing her hands all over his head, which annoys me, which makes no one relax.

Bottom line: I have to make a decision. Do I go for the nap in the afternoon and deal with a later bedtime OR do I forgo said nap and keep my sanity at night but deal with extreme crankiness?

Things that make you go hmmm.


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