When I originally started this blog, I had the idea that I'd use it simply as an outlet to vent - mostly about my marriage and financial situation. After all, I had other blogs, each with a different base topic to satisfy my compartmentalizing needs. But after the past few months, in which I didn't blog anywhere and barely made an appearance on any on-line outlet, I began to rethink my goals and needs. Instead of embracing the "cranky" part of this blog, I'm going to focus more on the "mommy" part, which is more than just my family title, as all you fellow moms know. To be sure, I will still have cranky days - mostly owing to lack of sleep. Like today since my son spent a very restless night in bed with me. This is something new, I don't think the girls ever spent a night in our bed, once they stopped night nursing, if they weren't quite sick and that hasn't happened often. I don't want to start a trend but I don't have the energy to figure out what is going on with AK (who's 2.5). Really, he's just been very cranky himself through the day and has been refusing afternoon naps in favor of late evening naps. This is a problem I haven't gotten figured out yet. I'll share my tips for the sleeping problems I did figure out and hope you'll share any tips you have for me on this one!
(The following post originally appeared on my "company manners" blog Neoteric Traditional)
No super parent am I, nor have I had terrible issues with my kids at night, but I've got some experience and some tips. This doesn't mean that I'm not awoken nearly every night by one thing or another, but sometimes it's my own sleep issues or more frequently it's the train rumbling past, oh wait, that's my husband's snoring.
To find the correct fix, you have to figure out why your child is waking up.
Are you in potty training mode? She could be waking as she pees or when it becomes uncomfortable. Is she dry when she wakes up in the middle of the night? One issue we went through was she was being alerted by her bladder but she was too sleepy to realize the cause / didn't know to go to the bathroom at night. When she woke up, I'd take her to the toilet and remind her that was why she woke up. As she went to bed I'd tell her "If you wake up at night, go to the potty, quietly and without me."
Is she a cover kicker or a night sweater? Try changing PJ types and different blankets. First, we practiced how to fix her cover during the day which worked sometimes, but eventually I turned the flat sheet perpendicular so I could snugly tuck in the "sides" and she couldn't get everything so twisted up. I kept the sheet a bit loose on her because she's an active sleeper but the length meant I could tuck in more sheet than she could kick.
Is this the start of nightmares? This one is a bit tougher, because when they're scared they just want you. Talk out the dream in the morning, ask her things that she could change or add to the dream to make it turn into a good one. Try to not give answers here, but if you do make sure they're as silly and as "rainbow-y" as you can think of. Bestow some magic powers on her favorite snugly or get a new one that can fix the scary dream. Flashlights, especially those with the silhouette caps are good at chasing bad dreams out the window.
Is she in a growth phase? Our bodies do most of their growth and repair at night but sometimes it can hurt. It might take you massaging her legs or arms for a few minutes but see if you can figure out something she can do herself. Try adding a little rub down to your nighttime routine and getting a funny little massager thing she can rub on her legs/arms. The one I have is just blue plastic but it's mine therefore special for her to use. There are ladybug shaped ones and plain wooden ones etc.
My final tip is to think about your and your spouse's sleep patterns. You kids could have similar patterns / issues. If they simply wake up at night make sure there are things to do at night in the bed or in easy reach. A dim lamp, nightlight, or flashlight so she can see what she's doing, some favorite books, little stuffed animals, a magna-doodle type board. Something she can do alone, quietly and that won't be wrecked when she falls back asleep on top of it.
Those are the 5 main reasons my girls have woken up at night and for the most part these fixes have worked. Let's not forget the boy though, and since I've publicly put in my 2 cents on this issue, he'll have bigger and harder to solve problems!
See, I knew it!