Let’s start by making it clear that I am not talking about an error with lighting here. I’m talking about something that rhymes with light errors that involves a child waking and screaming throughout the night. I don’t want to come up in any search engines. So now that we’re clear, I’ll move on.
We’ve only noticed it completely in the last couple of months. Liv has always been a poor sleeper, waking several times a night to be covered, whining or just gritching about uncomfortably. It’s escalated over the last few months though. Yelling. Crying. Speaking incoherently. It happens more nights than not, and you can’t wake her up. She’s never been terrified, and for that I am grateful. Usually it’s just general discomfort and angst. We figured she was working some things out in her sleep. She…doesn’t get her way a lot because her way is usually unreasonable. And it feels like it is us against her a lot of the time. But as her sleep has gotten worse, we were really starting to worry, and I wasn’t sleeping because I was up with her half the night while she screamed and thrashed.
I had planned on making an appointment with her pediatrician to discuss all of this, when she ended up getting a sinus infection and we had to go in for a sick call anyway. We went through all of that, and then I brought up the sleep issues. I told the pediatrician everything—and seriously, bless her, she sat and talked to Hub and me about all of it for 45 minutes. On a day when we were just an add on appointment, we must have screwed up her whole day. Just because she is not fearful doesn’t mean it isn’t light errors, apparently. She’s definitely trying to work things out that she can’t or doesn’t when she’s asleep. The doctor went on to give us some tips for trying to stop them before they start, and right there is where I have some issues.
Liv by nature is a very difficult child. She is a limit tester. She believes that her way is the only way. She will stop at nothing to get her way. And even when she knows she will be punished, she will still do what she wants to do. She would rather get her way and accept the consequences than not do what she wanted to do in the first place. So there is a lot of Liv being in some sort of trouble at any given time. With all of this in mind, here are the doctor’s suggestions:
1. Let her have her way more often. If it’s not dangerous or causing problems for other family members, try letting her go. Hub and I are really big on rule following up in here. One of our big ones is that nobody gets up from the table until we are all done eating. This is one of the examples the doctire used. Just let her go. I…struggle with this.
2. Eliminate things that potentially make her nervous. We were thinking along the lines of the dancing Santa, who she wanted out of her room because she didn’t want him to see her being bad. The doctor recommended that we walk her around the house and ask her what makes her nervous and then show her that we were getting rid of it. The first night we walked around, and a dirty pair of underwear she’d left laying around made her nervous. Then last night, it was a Santa hat she’d left on the floor. She’s yanking our chain.
3. Even if she doesn’t eat any dinner, let her have a snack before bed. If Liv eats 2 bites of dinner any given night I consider it a success. I have a hard time getting behind letting her snack when she doesn’t listen and our rule is no dinner, no snacks. This one is workable though…I can get past my issues if potential hunger is affecting her.
4. Don’t let her watch any TV with scary images. This one is not hard either. Bud watches a lot of Star Wars and while it doesn’t seem scary, and while Liv’s favorite song to hum is the Imperial March and she wanted to be Luke Skywalker for Halloween, we’re putting a temporary ban on the movies while she is awake.
5. Don’t yell at her at bedtime. Even if she gets up and calls to be covered 247 times, keep it relaxing and calm. This one will be hard. Like I said—she is a limit tester, and she is SMART. She will figure it out if suddenly I am soft. Bedtime has never been the best time of the night for her, and even after you give her everything she wants, she still gets out of bed and needs things and is just generally obnoxious.
So last night I let her have a bowl of cheerios at bedtime even though she ate dinner. Then I sang her 5 songs instead of the agreed upon 3, I cheerfully covered her 4 times, and let her get 3 drinks from her water bottle. She slept all night. This may be a fluke, because her antibiotic makes her tired. It seems like we’re going to have a lot of trial and error going forward, but the plan is to try and stop them before they start. And thankfully, Shannon has given me some tricks to help Liv when the errors do happen. So I guess we shall see what we shall see. But hopefully we can make some progress, and all of us can get some sleep.