Friday, December 04, 2009

AN AWFUL EVENING

Alice has always had a good routine and sleep habit but has had some sleeping issues in the past few months. I know that sleep is the first thing to suffer when anything is out of balance.

Through the summer she kept asking for Mummy's Bed, in the end we compromised on 'The Special Bed' (a bed at the end of mine, neither of us sleep well when she's in my bed). After a holiday in a family room at a hotel we came home and she was happy to return to her bedroom, declaring, 'I not frightened any more.' She never expressed her fear at the time.

Through September and October she stayed in her room quite happily but through big changes and excitement - starting a new nursery with a very different routine and no one familiar and then her third birthday. But in the last 2-3 weeks she started asking for my bed again - notable that it's my bed, not me that she wants. After a week or so of this I got the Special Bed out again - not as popular as my bed but better for quality sleep for both of us. This time she's articulated that there are MONSTERS in her room. She also has a lingering cough but is still living life at full speed.

She's in love with Christmas and desperate for a tree in her room, but having agreed to go back to her bed earlier this week (calmly) I didn't even get to the bottom of the stairs before she was crying, instantly hysterical - clearly informing me that this fear is real and huge. Ever since she's been happy to use the Special Bed and has settled quickly and not even stirred when I go to bed (always happens wherever she sleeps).

Tonight she settled quickly and was asleep in a few minutes - all as usual (but usually in her room). 75 minutes or so later she was hysterical. I went up quickly to soothe her (and this is where things became distressing different), despite being very upset she pushed me away and was much more distressed than usual. She wouldn't calm and she wouldn't take comfort. I finally managed to get her to tell me she was frightened (not hurting) but when I asked why the crying immediately ramped up (I tried several times). I took her over 15 minutes to slow to a sob (much longer than usual) and then I was able to calm her further by changing her nappy and getting clean PJs (never understand why that works but it's usually effective but only once she's calming again). Throughout the whole episode she pushed me away (she's usually very affectionate and seeks physical comfort) which was very disturbing for me. Several times I explained that I wasn't leaving until she was calm and then she'd retort that she was calm (but still heaving sobs for breath). Even when she was finally calm she was very, very quick to dismiss me.

It was a dreadful experience and I don't want to make the situation worse if it happens again but I need some new strategies - we've already tried 'Monster Away Spray' (lavender water in a spray bottle) but clearly that isn't enough.

Any ideas?

3 comments:

Naomi said...

Kate,

I have encountered many nights with all my children when they have been fearful of the dark and what looms within it's dark recesses. As you know I am a Christian and believe that God, Who is Light, will comfort, protect and remove all fears. We always pray and ask for His help. It is so hard when your child is so distressed and wants you but does not want you as they deal with their fear. We often play children's worship music in their room on a CD which usually helps.

I'll be praying for wisdom that you will know exactly what to do for Alice.

Maci Miller said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear you are having a rough time of it. Sleeping is a challenge and it sounds like it's all the changes in her routine that are causing her insecurities. Ruby was like that when we came home after sleeping just fine in her crib the whole 3 weeks in Thailand. You won't want to hear it, but sleeping with me was the answer. I swore I wouldn't do it and thought I'd never be able to sleep, but after a few nights of her screaming and waking up every hour I was desperate to try it. As soon as I moved her in bed with me she slept sound through the night, every night and I can even get up and tip toe out when I need to (and prop pillows so she can roll out). We both get a good night's sleep every night and while it's not a permanant solution, I am no longer groggy! LOL. If this isn't a good solution for you, then I would continue with the "special bed" for a few more months. Such a good idea. Maybe try to talk to her in the day, too, about her fears, how she likes the new nursery, etc.

Maci Miller said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear you are having a rough time of it. Sleeping is a challenge and it sounds like it's all the changes in her routine that are causing her insecurities. Ruby was like that when we came home after sleeping just fine in her crib the whole 3 weeks in Thailand. You won't want to hear it, but sleeping with me was the answer. I swore I wouldn't do it and thought I'd never be able to sleep, but after a few nights of her screaming and waking up every hour I was desperate to try it. As soon as I moved her in bed with me she slept sound through the night, every night and I can even get up and tip toe out when I need to (and prop pillows so she can roll out). We both get a good night's sleep every night and while it's not a permanant solution, I am no longer groggy! LOL. If this isn't a good solution for you, then I would continue with the "special bed" for a few more months. Such a good idea. Maybe try to talk to her in the day, too, about her fears, how she likes the new nursery, etc.