Wednesday, August 15, 2007

THE NIGHT OWL

As of late, our three-year old daughter, Aleita, has decided that there are too many other things worthwhile to do than to waste her time at night sleeping. Up until this point, we have been very lucky in the respect that since both of our children were little, they were really good about going to bed and getting a good night's sleep (and thereby, allowing us to have one as well.) I always prided myself on having done a good job early on of establishing a bed time routine - - -baths, books, prayers - - - and in bed by no later than 8PM. I used to think it was so cute when Maggie was little, because she would lay in her crib and sing herself to sleep. Aleita would lay in her crib and jabber to herself until she fell asleep. . . but both kids knew that once we put them to bed, they didn't cry or whine to get out of bed. And thank goodness, neither of my kids were "crib climbers." No, they both seemed perfectly contented to settle in for a good night's rest once they were put to bed.

Aleita has apparently decided that she is through with this routine. In the last few months, the child makes so many trips in and out of her room at night that we should probably install a revolving door. She has been in a "big girl bed" for a little over a year now. When she was first moved out of the crib, she didn't seem to realize that she could actually get out of her bed on her own free accord for a few months. Once she did, she started getting out of bed soon after she had been put there, but only to get books out of her basket of books. She would then take the books back to bed with her, and look at them by the light of her nightlight. We would go in to tuck her in before we went to bed and find her covered in books. We didn't mind her doing this though, because it calmed her down at night, and she wasn't any worse for it in the morning. And let's face - - she wasn't getting out of bed and bothering us, so no harm done.

Lately though, she seems to have springs installed on her pajamas. Hardly any sooner than she is put down in bed, she bounces right back out it and can be found tiptoeing down the hall to see what we are doing. Repeated threats, and even spanks, have done little good to keep her in bed. Last night, Chris and I went downstairs after putting the kids to bed to watch a little TV. We headed upstairs about 9:45PM to go to bed. As I rounded the last stair, I noticed the light was on in Aleita's room, and then I realized that she was singing. Chris and I went in there, and she looked up from her bed, book in hand, and quite nonchalantly queried, "is it morning time yet?" After being assured that it indeed, was nighttime, and time to go to bed, she was tucked in (again) and within 10 minutes, was asleep.

This problem isn't just limited to the going to bed time though. In the past few months, Aleita has been waking up several times in the night and coming into our room. God bless this child, she walks around my side of the bed (which is nearer the door) to Chris's side of the bed and wakes him up. I have attributed it to the fact that I am a heavier sleeper than Chris is, as well as the fact that travel for work occasionally has me out of town. . .whatever the cause, I can't say that I am sad that she has chosen to rouse dear ol' dad in the night instead of me. The night visits usually start about 3:30AM, and require a trip to the potty. However, they often continue in 1/2 hour intervals after that, and often culminate in a spank by the third one. The other night, Chris woke up (as I snoozed on) to find Aleita sitting on the floor next to Dempsey's bed, just sitting there petting him - - it was 4:15AM. Once she is placed back in bed and settles down, she does go back to sleep. She also doesn't seem any worse for her nighttime wanderings in the morning - - though sometimes it is a double Mt. Dew morning for Chris.

Aleita is only sleeping about an hour at school during nap time, so I don't think that is what is causing the lack of sleep at night. The only things she drinks are milk and water, so it isn't as though she is getting pop or tea to give her a caffeine jolt before bed. Whatever the cause, I hope our little night owl settles into a more peaceful nocturnal rhythm soon.

2 comments:

Julianne said...

Two words:

Door locks

Unethical? Perhaps Effective? Absolutely.

papadale said...

Why, Darlin' I just don't know what you're talkin' 'bout, when the lil' pressus was at our house for th' weekend, she laid down by herself at 7:30 ever nite, never spoke a word 'til least 8:30 th' nex mornin', ett all her brekfust, an said yes sir, and yes mam ta everythin we axed of her. where do you cum wit these reduculus stories about our presious babies?? P.S. sorry, we're booked solid for the next 63 weeks, and just can't watch them for a while. bye now, gotta run.