I’m sure this is a common scenario you’ve either heard or have experienced; watching your child playfully wondering around the sofa busying herself with her books and toys during the night and completely oblivious to the fact that it’s time to go to sleep.
This has become the norm for our Pumpkinella over the last few weeks. At 14 months old, she has lept from three naps a day to just the one. She is the proverbial Duracell battery. Awake at 6am, she’ll have some milk followed by porridge and finish this off with some fruit. She’ll be dropped off with her grandparents at some point during this lengthy breakfast meal and once full will play to her heart’s content till about 11am when she’ll settle for a nap in her pushchair. I know at this stage you might be confused about why the pushchair but the simple answer is that she’s not yet used to her cot bed in her grandparents house and sleeps very well in the dining room or out for a stroll in her pushchair.
After 1pm she’s ready for round two. I used to make food for her fresh but she favoured Hipp Organic food and it was frustrating to see the food go in the bin day after day.
After a pouch, she’ll have some bread, shavings of cheese, baby crisps, and some fresh fruit. She’ll continue to graze throughout the day until mummy and daddy get back from work. If we’re late, she’ll have had her dinner of peas or pasta or ham before we arrive.
She appears tired by about 6pm but the minute we leave her grandparents for home, it’s like something comes over her and she no longer needs or wants to sleep. The nighttime bath exacerbates the situation to the point where she’ll start to sing, dance and run around like she’s just had a can of coca cola. There’s no reason to it. At 14 months old and 7 hours after her only nap of the day, it’s frankly remarkable how she has so much energy still to work off. We give her a small snack and some water and by 9pm there are a few rubs of the eyes indicating it’s finally bedtime. She is given some warm milk and finally settles in her bed for the night (well till about 2am).
How can this be I wonder? Her grandparents think it’s because she misses me and her dad and wants to spend as much time with us as she can. It makes me feel terrible to think that she’s missed me so much that she would fight sleep just to get some time alone with me. I dream of a time where I can devote my days to her fully but like many families, the demands of mortgage payments, bills, baby paraphernalia and food etc…, it’s often necessary for both parents to go out to work. It can also be rewarding to know that sacrifice keeps us accustomed to the lifestyle we’ve grown comfortable with, spending excessively while still having money to spare.
I panic some days when I have Pumpkinella all to myself because I don’t get the chance to very often and feel like I don’t know what to do with her. Funny enough, she’ll nap twice a day for me but bedtime is still getting later and later as she states into my eyes stroking me while sucking her two fingers. I miss her so much and feel like I’m missing out on so much of her life. My mum tells me Pumpkinella will be so proud of me when she grows up because I did what was necessary to make sure she was happy, safe and well.
She most likely does the ‘no sleep’ performance also because she has started to become aware that she has choices and can exercise her right to do what she likes whether mummy and daddy want her to or not. The lack of sleep may be just one demonstration of exerting her independence.
What this means at the moment is that evening meals are being missed by mummy and daddy while we entertain and try to wear her out.
It’s probably time for a change in gear; to get her involved with the evening meal preparation and eat with her. This can then be followed by a bath, stories, prayers and then sleep.
It’s funny how one little human can completely change your life. It’s also a wonder why we still haven’t yet adapted to the newfound lifestyle and become accustomed to broken sleep like she has.
I’m reassured by parents with older children that it does pass. I sincerely hope it does all improve, preferably before I am too delirious with the lack of sleep. It’s been 20 months since the last full and uninterrupted night of sleep and counting.
Does anyone relate to this? Or do you think I’m a wuss for not being stricter? The thing is that every time she’s ill, a cold, tonsilitis, cough etc… it takes us back a few steps and it would seem that until the current bout of the cold virus and cough has gone, sleep is not a privilege mummy or daddy will be experiencing anytime soon.