Saturday, March 21, 2009

Night Eight

Ah, my faithful readers, hanging in here with me as I sleep-train Genevieve for the second time in her life. (By the way, WHO KNEW? When I finished sleep-training Genevieve for the FIRST time, when she was a BABY, I rejoiced that I would never have to suffer through baby sleep-training ever again. In fact, it was one of the main sources of comfort when I wondered if I was really ready to be done having babies. And yet here I am, 1-1/2 years or more later, still sleep-training. And I don't even like that stupid phrase or, really, even the idea.)

Last night Genevieve fell asleep in 25 minutes--and, once again, didn't cry at all overnight (and by the way, YES, it does feel like a miracle every single time I get an entire night of uninterrupted sleep. It's the most amazing feeling. It makes you realize how basic to one's well-being sleep really is!).

The bedtime vigil was non-eventful. She had taken a long nap in the afternoon and so we kept her up until eight. It's likely true that if I nixed her naps altogether, she might fall asleep easier and earlier every night once she got used to the pattern, but I have serious reservations. First, when Julia was almost three, and again when she was almost four, I was sure she was getting ready to drop her nap; however, I didn't force the issue, and as time went on she moved back to taking solid daily naps, which are now often longer than she ever took as a toddler.

This relates to my second thought, which is that according to the one particular sleep book I actually like, most children really do need naps until about age five, even though many parents allow the nap to be dropped earlier than that (often because they misunderstand behavioral clues and think they have no choice but to eliminate the nap). Of course it's true that some children just do not need to nap as long as others do, but I don't know yet if Genevieve is one of those. She skips her nap a fair amount, but I'm waiting to see if resolution of the nighttime sleep problems has any positive effect on her napping schedule (one of the odd paradoxes of young children: sleep begets sleep).

Lastly, I believe wholeheartedly in "quiet time" or "rest time" during the afternoon, even if sleeping does not occur. But, at this age, Genevieve is not able to understand and internalize that notion. If she does not sleep at naptime, she calls and yells at the top of her lungs until I get her up--even if she's only been in her bed a short time. Generally speaking, there's no going in to remind her she does not have to sleep but she does have to play quietly in her crib. She does not get that. I can definitely see how an older child might be able to comprehend this concept and agree to look at books or play quietly in her bed for an hour, but Genevieve's only two. If she's awake, she's done with the crib and is ready to get up and play. If I drop her nap now, it will be difficult later on to institute a new plan for afternoon "quiet time" that allows for rest (for both of us).

That said, who knows? Parenting is often about flying by the seat of your pants, I've found. I guess we'll do what we have to do. But I will tell you this: if Genevieve stops napping, I am FOR SURE sending her off to preschool in the fall. Because all day every day of Genevieve is just a little too much Genevieve. I'm sure you understand.


Mnmom said...

Why do you think I sent the twins to preschool? Hint: it wasn't for their social development.

PS - love your new look

Mom and Kiddo said...

I totally understand about the preschool. If my son does not get a seat in the public pre-k this fall.... I will implode.