Friday, April 04, 2008

The Sleep Schedule is Going All to Hell

The girls have been sharing a room now for almost two weeks, and I think it's fair to say that we're ALL getting less sleep. I mean, it's going much, much better than it did when we first tried it early last fall, so obviously Genevieve at 19 months is ready to change rooms in a way that Genevieve at 13 months was not. She doesn't sit up in the crib for hours at bedtime this time, gazing around the nursery and sobbing until she falls asleep upright in her baby vigil.

But the fact of the matter is that nothing is simple when it comes to babies or small children--especially, I think, in these pre-K years when their little brains are so unformed and they can't be reasoned with, they often can't even use words to tell you what is wrong in the way that older children can. It doesn't help that Genevieve is also going through the infamous 1-1/2-year-old baby sleep regression you read about so often in the child-development books; she's been doing all sorts of previously uncharacteristic bedtime crying and screaming, even before we moved her to the nursery. Of course, now that she's there, such ongoing crying and fussing interferes with Julia's bedtime. (Overheard on the monitor too many times in the past two weeks, "Gen-e-VIEVE! Why are you TALKING?!"; and, whimperingly, "Genevieve, go to SLEEP!")

And then there are mornings like today, when Genevieve woke up at 5:10 a.m. and immediately began screaming for us, resolutely refusing to a.) quiet down, or b.) go back to sleep. Naturally, unless we wanted TWO children up for the day at five a.m., we had to remove Genevieve from the nursery ASAP. And since we don't have children who go back to sleep in early pre-dawn hours, not even if it is still dark outside and they are snuggled into their parents' bed--let me re-phrase that to say, ESPECIALLY when they are snuggled into their parents' bed--well, that brings me back to my first sentence up there about all of us getting less sleep.

Dang this parenting gig is hard.


Mnmom said...

Why do you want them to share a room? When our twins were Gen.'s age, we had to actually separate them. One twin was ready to sleep and the other wanted to cry, play, or scream. We put twin #1's crib in a large walk-in closet just so she could get some sleep.
Sleep makes the whole family run better, and I'm one Mom who says "whatever it takes, get some sleep".

Twin #2, the unsleeper, for a while made us provide a pile of books in her crib, which she would lay ON TOP OF to doze off. Sounds like you have one of "those" on your hands.

Shan said...

Yeah, for sure. And I totally agree with your assessment about sleep and family functioning, which is why it's taken us 19 months to actually put the baby in the nursery. (The baby crib has even been untouched this whole time! Genevieve has been sleeping in a porta-crib, first in our room, then in the guest room, b/c we didn't want to disassemble the crib to move it out of the nursery, and also b/c we assumed, when G. was born, that she would move in there fairly soon. Ha!)

You ask a good question. We want them together for several reasons. Mainly, b/c our house is a 3-BR and we really, really want/need sleeping quarters for guests, since none of our family live in town and therefore when they visit, they stay over, with us (that is, they used to, before the baby took over the guest room). And we do have family visiting relatively often, every couple of months.

We also like the idea of them being "sleeping buddies" for each other, in time. Believe it or not, Julia actually really wanted G. in the room with her, and asked about it every few weeks. (I wonder if she's changed her mind now, though, ha!)

Another big part of it is philosophical/values-driven: we personally just don't feel that tiny little children each need an entire room for themselves (especially when space is at a premium). We would like to raise them, as long as possible, in a shared bedroom rather than go down that common path of bigger/more = better.

However, having said all that, it is clear that, in most cases, more (rooms) definitely is better when it comes down to tiny children sleeping! :( Our hope is that with time they will get used to each other, their bedtimes/wake-ups will change as they always do, and it will work out in the end. Only time will tell! It certainly has gone much better this time than our first try--and I mean MUCH, MUCH better--but boy, it's not easy, either.

Shan said...

Oh, I should add: we also want the girls both in the nursery because the guest room has serious ventilation issues (i.e. super-cold in winter, super-hot in summer, in spite of central heating and central air; for some mysterious reason, it's the only room in the house with these temperature-control problems), making it difficult to keep a baby comfy overnight. Which obviously is unfortunate for our guests also :) , but at least grown-ups know how to stay under their blankets at night in the winter, and can generally sleep with the noise of an open window or a box fan in the summer.

Mnmom said...

How about letting the baby have the room, all alone, until she learns to sleep in there on a very frequent basis, THEN add the older girl?
I agree with all your reasons - our twins have always shared a room although they are fraternal and different as any two siblings can be.

Cheesecake Maven said...

And you think this is going to change as they get older because . . .? Just ask MnMom how serene her home is now that her girls are older. :)

Parenting . . . damn a manual would be nice. (Or at the very least a dimmer switch!)

Shan said...

In response to Cheesecake Maven: Because, if any child of mine is actually still crying for hours from her crib at bedtime after age, say, two or three, I will run away, fake a fugue state, and begin a new life under an assumed name. That's why it's going to be easier when the girls get older.

donna said...

If it makes you feel any better... we're going through the same sleep regression.