Whew. Thank you...and you....and you!
Thanks to all of you for once again sharing your thoughts and advice (and sympathy!) about bedtime. I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating: you guys rock! It's wonderful to know that I can hit "publish" on a post all about my latest struggles, and know that within hours I'll receive a bunch of different perspective and ways of looking at the situation. Seriously, how did people raise kids before the internet?! ;o) It doesn't take a village - it takes a blog community!
Anyway, instead of responding to everyone individually, I thought it be better to post a followup here.
To those of you that expressed familiarity with these bedtime struggles - I'm sorry! but I'm also secretly glad to know I'm not alone in this. The whole misery loves company deal. ;o)
Arizaphale your words - "You are a great Mum and you have a high maintenance toddler. The best and brightest ones often are!!" - were especially heartening to me. I do feel that Nadia has a very keen mind and her headstrong nature is a sign of her intelligence and potential. She's going to do great things one day - if we can just get past this frustrating stage! I keep reminding myself that what I call stubbornness now will one day be called persistence and it will be a good thing. Nadia's exuberance and zest for life is one of the things I love most about her - but also one of the most exhausting and challenging.
Our bedtime routine starts around 7:30. I have Nadia help me pick up her toys, then we change into pajamas and brush teeth. All 3 of us pile into in Mommy & Daddy's bed to read books: one new library book every night, which she is then allowed to bring with her to bed. After prayers she's off to bed by 8:00-8:15. She turns on her music and flower light herself, and I tuck her into bed. I have tried snuggling with her in her room for a bit, thinking it will help her to calm down more - plus, I crave snuggle time with my busy girl! - but she usually resists. By the time I'm at the door, she's back up and waiting to give me one more hug and kiss over the gate in her doorway. She goes back to the bed and does reasonably well for about 20 minutes, usually reading her book, but then the chaos and crying starts.
I love the idea of having her tuck her baby into bed, and in theory it sounds perfect. In practice it hasn't worked so well. We've done it with TedBear, but he hasn't been a very well behaved child and she hasn't been a very consistent mother. After two minutes, she has him up again. But since Ted is her constant companion, perhaps it would work better with a not-quite-as-special baby. I will move the doll cradle into her room and we'll give it a try - I'll let you know!
Closing the door doesn't work either. We've tried it, and it just turns into a new battle. I close it, she opens it. Over and over.
It doesn't work for me to stay in the room with her, either. As long as I'm there she stays riled up and will never go to sleep.
One thing that might work would be to threaten to take TedBear away. But I really, really hate to do that. It just feels wrong to me. Ted is her best friend and source of comfort, and I think it's good for her to know he's always there. But on the other hand, it would probably only take a couple times of losing him for her to get the concept. I don't know...I'll have to think about that more. I'm almost that desperate, but it just doesn't sit right with me.
She does sleep with us sometimes, and honestly we all like that. I have no problem bringing her the bed when she wakes up in the middle of the night (which is rare) and she goes right back to sleep no problem, but she doesn't do well falling asleep there in the first place. She just can't settle down and thinks our bed is for partying all night.
I said yesterday that before this, her room was "a kid's paradise crammed full of...well, all the junk that 2-year-olds accumulate." That is and is not true. She had plenty in there, but I don't think it was overwhelming. Dresser, bookshelf, chair, basket of stuffed animals, rocking horse, giant Pooh Bear. Most of her toys are in the living room. I had moved a few more toys into her room over the last month or so, as she's been enjoying playing in her room more and I wanted to encourage that. But it wasn't chaos central. And there was not a tv in her room, nor will there ever be. That's something I feel very strongly about.
Nadia is a kid that needs a nap. Without it she's a complete bear by late afternoon. There have been a few times she went on nap strike and I thought she might be giving them up, but she always went back to it. And she's almost always been a good napper, sleeping 2-3 hours each afternoon. Even if she didn't need the sleep, I still think it's important for her to have downtime each day - she needs the break and so do I! I don't even call it naptime anymore, I call it quiet time; I turn on her cd and once it ends (about 1.5 hours) she can get back up. I don't care if she falls asleep or not as long as she gets some rest, but as it is now she's not coming away from it refreshed. She has been exceptionally challenging these last few weeks, and I can't help but wonder how much of that can be attributed to poor sleeping.
This morning I asked Nadia, for the first time since moving her to the big girl bed, if she likes her bed or would rather have her crib back. Her face lit up and she immediately said "my crib!" I think that gives me my answer. I had wanted to avoid it, feeling that it's not a good idea to move backwards...but another part feels like I should go put her crib back together this very instant. She slept well there and she misses it. She has accepted most changes in her life quite easily but for whatever reason this is a big issue for her. So let her have it back! Who cares where she sleeps as long as she is sleeping and is happy. She's growing up too fast as it is. So I'll give it a few more days, and if it's still not working well I'm going to put the crib back together on Tuesday when I have a few Nadia-free hours.
Whew, that was long. I didn't even realize I had so much to say about this! The good thing is that writing it all out has helped me work through some of it in my own mind. But I kinda feel like I should write something totally off the wall here just to see if anyone actually made it to the end. ;o)
And thus ends my very loooong way of saying thanks for the advice and support. :o)
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