Thursday, April 05, 2007

Mother and Daughter Insomnia

I blame myself completely for Dova's sleep habits. When Adam was a toddler, we were very strict about creating good sleep habits. By the time he got his big boy bed, we started leaving him in his room while he was still awake so that he could learn to fall asleep on his own. Sometimes Doug would be too tired to get out of his bed after storytime and end up falling asleep with him. We would have all sorts of fights about how this was not good for Adam's sleep independence, etc. By the time I was pregnant with Dova, I was simply too tired to argue anymore, but then started developing my own insomnia patterns. I figured it was just pregnancy insomnia. I would wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to get back to sleep for hours. Most of the time, it would be just daily lists of things to do going through my mind. Often, I would get out of bed and either get a snack (I was pregnant and allowed right?) or get on the computer. I've since learned that these are totally no no's when it comes to middle of the night insomnia! Still the urge to "get something done" is hard to overcome.

After Dova was born, we definitely suffered from second child syndrome, where she had every thing easier including sleeping. When I had nursed Adam in the middle of the night, I propped myself up uncomfortably in a wingback chair with my head bobbing and then carefully put him back in his crib afterwards. Dova's room also has a guest bed, so for her, I popped her in that bed with me to nurse. It was much more comfortable for me and often times I would simply fall asleep with her in the bed. Better sleep for mom and baby right? When she eventually moved into the bed, the same pattern continued. Every night, I would lie in her bed until she fell asleep, often falling asleep myself (so much for all those arguments with Doug, definitely the pot calling the kettle black!). If I left, she would often wake up in the middle of the night and walk right up to my bedside, and I would have to bring her back to her room. And only mom would do, no substitutes! Sometimes if I had the fight, I would force her to stay in bed by herself and go back to sleep. More times than not, I would simply climb in bed with her. It was just easier, less aggravation for me and her. Nowadays, this happens about once a week, but at one point not so long ago it happened every night for two months straight!

If I fell asleep with her in the beginning of the night, and woke up several hours later, I would be at risk for mid night insomnia. I would try to keep myself semi-asleep while I brushed my teeth by saying "Don't think of anything, keep you eyes closed, don't think of anything". If insomnia struck, I would toss and turn in bed for hours. And as if on cue, Dova would often wander down and I would gladly take the opportunity to go snuggle with her instead of suffering insomnia. I'd go to her bed, and we'd snuggle, looking at each other, stroking each other's faces. It is our little mid night insomnia secret. It is always easy to fall asleep with Dova because I can grab her and squeeze her and hold her tight. If I dare disturb Doug while he is sleeping, the grump monster comes out. It could be that worrying about waking Doug adds to the insomnia.

Actual sleeping is another story. Dova is not a easy sleep partner. She likes to make sure that you are there by sending her foot towards you and pressing into your back, leg, stomach or butt. If the foot comes at you quickly, it feels like a swift kick. Sometimes it comes slowly and she will hook her foot into the back of your underwear and press her foot into your butt. The reason I can remember this so vividly is because I spent several hours last night having feverish insomnia, with Dova doing just that and me composing this post in my head (note to self: don't blog while having a fever, get blog insomnia and funny blog dreams all night. Wait, I still have a fever right now, AARRGGHHHH!!). Alas, I could not grab her and squeeze her because I was too sick.

So now Dova is completely dependent on me for falling asleep and staying asleep. If I'm not around, dad will do and sometimes grandma, but don't try that too many nights in a row (just ask Grandma Marjorie). And of course Adam has been sleeping happily by himself through the night for years. Lesson definitely not learned here!

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