Thursday, January 31, 2008

Separation Anxiety and Naptime Refusal – RESOLUTION! - Part IV

My now-eighteen-month toddler has finally resumed her normal night and naptime schedule. We went out for a quick errand at 11:30 AM today and she promptly fell asleep on the return trip. I took her shoes and hat off and carried her to her crib. An hour-and-a-half later, she remains in a deep sleep. I am so thankful!

She goes to sleep at 7:00 PM and often wakes up at around midnight. We have found that she quickly goes back to sleep if my husband goes in to see her. He cheerfully goes in, tells her to go back to sleep, and she does! This is in line with several parenting books that advise the non-primary caregiver put a child to bed when there is a problem with separation anxiety.

If, on occasion, she wakes up in the wee-morning hours, I can nurse her back to sleep, as I always did before the height of her sleep crisis.

The only problem I have is that she has been waking up earlier than she used to. Last year, her normal wakeup time was around 9:00 AM. This worked great for me and my husband. We normally work on paperwork for our home-based business until around 11 PM, after the children have all gone to bed, then watch television for one hour before going to bed. A 9:00 AM wakeup time gives us a full eight hours of sleep. I could go to bed at 10:00 PM, but then I would be missing out on quality time with my husband.

This new wakeup time only offers me six hours of sleep. When I go in to see her, she is standing at the crib rail closest to the door, holding her “nigh-night” blanket, ready for me to pick her up. If we were in the army, I would tell her, “At ease!”

I am hoping that she will be able to resume her old habit of playing in her crib for a while, rather than waking up crying for me. It has been suggested that I use “blackout shades”, but I do not think this is the problem. Although the older children make every effort to go about quietly in the morning, I do believe she is sensing the activity in the house.

Still, six hours of unbroken sleep is better than what I was getting. And I am more thankful than ever for the naptime that I always had taken for granted! With her newfound sense of independence, I also have learned how to get more things done during the baby’s awake time, giving me more free time to read and write.

To put this whole situation into proper perspective, parents with older children look adoringly at my little one and say they wish theirs were little again.

“It is vain for you to rise early and put off your rest at night,
to eat bread earned by hard toil –
all this God gives to his beloved in sleep.”
Psalm 127:2

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