Thursday, February 08, 2007

Conflicted about sleep issues

Oh this wandering and confused Lawmommy...

So, since we have had Lana, I have laid down with her at night to get her to go to sleep. At first, she fell asleep in 5 minutes. Not surprisingly, since we have been home from Vietnam, the amount of time I have lain (laid? lied? geez! why is the verb "to lay" so difficult!!) with her has increased dramatically. Two nights ago, I had been lying with her for 40 minutes. It was 10:15 PM and I had just HAD IT. The end of my rope had been met. I needed a shower. I needed 5 minutes alone with my husband. I needed to not be lying (laying?) in a twin bed with a four year old.

She has discovered that if she wraps her fist around the sleeve of my pajamas, she can feel me get up and she wakes up and cries for me not to leave. After 4 attempts to leave her bed, I just got up, kissed her face, stroked her hair, and said, "I love you. Go to sleep." She cried and screamed and carried on like I was stabbing her repeatedly with an ice pick.

Every four minutes I went into her room, stroked her hair, kissed her face, and said, "I love you. Go to sleep."

For 30 minutes she screamed like a banshee, with me going in every 4 minutes. Then, when I went in her room, she was holding her crotch like she needed to go to the bathroom. So, I picked her up and took her to the potty. When I put her back in bed, she cried for about 1 minute and then she was asleep. She slept until 7:30 the next morning, but, I felt very conflicted about whether or not that was the right thing to do.

Last night, at 8:50, I got out of her bed after reading a book, singing a song, and cuddling in the dark for about 5 minutes. She cried like crazy for 5 minutes, and then I went in and put her sheet on her (she will only cover herself up wtih a sheet, no blankets), and said, "I love you, go to sleep" and stroked her hair for about 30 seconds. She cried for 4 more minutes. (It was 4 minutes exactly, because I was sitting on my bed feeling lousy watching the minutes tick by), and after the 4th minute, she went totally silent. Then, she started snoring. It was 9:01 and she was asleep. I was able to watch Law and Order: SVU and take a shower by myself, and, to be perfectly honest, it felt like heaven. (I haven't watched any "grown up" tv since we left for Vietnam, and I really LIKE tv. I know that is stupid, but, I do like it, and I miss being able to watch Gilmore Girls or whatever.)

But, I hate letting her cry. I HATE it. I find it almost physically painful. (I am the same way about Gabe crying, and I don't usually let him cry alone unless he is being REALLY REALLY BAD.) But, she needs to sleep. (She obviously needs to sleep. I had to physically pry her out of bed at 8:30 this morning, so, clearly, she needs her sleep and has not been getting enough of it.)

Not sure if I am doing the right thing,


Blogger kyle said...

G--one of the books that was a LIFESAVER when we had Molly is "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth. According to the book, 4 year olds (still) need a consistent bed time that's between 7 and 8:30 pm so they can get 10-12 hrs of sleep. Is she napping during the day? I think you're doing the right thing, it seems to be working...
BTW, I'm enjoying the blog--Carma gave me the address so I could keep up :)

Thursday, February 08, 2007 6:21:00 PM  
Blogger Danielle said...

You are doing a great job Gretchen. You made progress since we talked!!

Thursday, February 08, 2007 6:41:00 PM  
Blogger -Jenny said...

4 minutes is nothing. That sounds like you are getting there quickly. We aren't even close!

Thursday, February 08, 2007 9:05:00 PM  
Blogger Ange said...

I attended a seminar on attachment a few months ago, the speaker suggested that most often children are comforted by physical means,so if you can't be with them all of the time, appealing to other senses can work. For instance a child may be comforted by sleeping with a blanket that has your perfume on it etc. Just an idea, good luck to you.

Thursday, February 08, 2007 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I think you are doing the right thing and doing it very well. You are not leaving her to cry for hours... you come in periodically to tell her she is loved and safe. Sometimes kids just need to cry a little to get to a place where they can sleep. R~ and Zeeb get themselves all worked up and giggly and then I put them both in time-out... Zeeb cries (a little) and boom, they both go to sleep. (ok, not every single time, but it does work most of the time). Anyway, it sounds to me like within a few days she'll be going to sleep on her own just fine.

Friday, February 09, 2007 12:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Lie [down]
I lie [down]
You lie [down]
The dog lies [down]
They lie [down]

I lie down with Lana every night

I lay [down]
You lay [down]
he/she/it lay [down]
They lay [down]

I lay down with Lana for five minutes last night

To lay SOMETHING down
I lay the book [down] on the bed
You lay the book [down]
He/she/it lays the book [down]

I lay Lana on the bed each night

To lay SOMETHING down
I laid it [down]
He laid the book [down]
You laid it [down]
They laid it [down]

I laid Lana on the bed and she fell asleep in 4 minutes.

This verb is difficult because the past tense of "to lie" is the same as the present tense of "to lay SOMETHING down"

Just remember: a dog lies down; a chicken lays an egg.

Friday, February 09, 2007 9:19:00 AM  
Anonymous StorKWatcher said...

I don't know if you'll see this comment, since I'm posting to an old post of yours...

I wish I'd found your blog long ago! I just found it and am going back and reading some of your archives...

Your post mirrored my heart - I completely understand feeling actual pain when your child is crying at night!!!!! And not knowing how to deal with it or if you're doing the right thing!

Thursday, July 26, 2007 9:20:00 AM  

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