12.17.2007

On sleep, change, questions, and the wisdom of other moms

Well, we've seen a week of changes, that have mostly kept me away from the computer, or too tired to type at night...

The most brutal (and not expected and definitely not hoped for so soon...) has been Yummy going from 2 naps a day to only one: bye bye free time... And hello whiny lunch time, as we now skip the morning nap! I put her down after lunch today, and of course she resisted being rocked, and cried, so in bed she went and I left the room. Not 3 minutes later, she passed out smack in a middle of a cry!

We've also seen changes in her nights, as she doesn't wake-up quite as often as she used too. We live in a not-so-big-but-great condo (which we obviously bought before we decided to adopt... and still would probably buy again!), and her room is on a mezzanine and ours is on the main floor. Ever since we came back from China, one of us has slept on the guest bed upstairs, just outside her room, which guaranteed the other a good night sleep downstairs every second night. At first, she would wake 7-8 times a night, mostly because she had lost her beloved rag. Giving it back to her sent her back to sleep just about every time. We got so good at it, we now have 2-3 rags hanging at the end of her bed, and just grab one and aim it at her in the dark, when we are half-asleep at 3 AM: works great! She was also taking a bottle at around 2 AM, which she stopped on her own almost 2 weeks ago. A bigger diapers at night really do the trick...

So, we started noticing a pattern in the wakings. Mainly, she would sleep much better and wake-up less if Dad was on duty, and still wake-up crying 4-5 times when I slept upstairs, especially on the (very) occasional times I took an evening off and went out and Dad stayed home. And it didn't matter who put her to sleep: it's as she knew who would be there later! So Dad decided to experiment, and spend 3 night in a row upstairs: she only cried enough for him to have to get up once or twice for the 3 nights!!! Guess what happened when my turn came back? Two times, which is still better than before. So, we are seeing improvement!

And the one nap a day is kind of helping going to sleep at night, as she is so tired by then. We haven't seen any big dramatic production of crying, screaming and kicking in a few days... Those are the worst! Man, the girl can put up an angry fit!!! It has taken us as long as an hour to finally get her to sleep sometimes, and it was not fun for anyone...

With all those sleep issues, I've been trying to find good books to help us decide what to do: to let cry or not? to pick up or not?... I've realized with quite a bit of surprise that the adoption books barely talk about sleep, and the sleep books, if they mention adoption, will say something like "adopted children might require a few months before you can attempt these methods" and blablabla... Yeah, but still, what do we do NOW? How much do we let her cry??? We tried rocking her until she slept, thus avoiding the big traumatic tears, but she would then cried more during the night, up to 3-4 times an hour. Not good... Even if we've gotten pretty skilled at recognizing the angry cries from the really distraught ones, and act acordingly, the questions of how to handle sleep always stay.

Attachment is such an ongoing process, back and forth, back and forth. And because of the adoption, I tend to question a lot of her behaviors which would probably seem perfectly normal for a mom of bio kids. For example, Daddy now gets a very excited welcome from Yummy when he comes back from work at night: she wiggles, and squeals, and claps, and it's the cutest thing ever! I was out most of the day last Thursday, getting my hair done and Christmas shopping. I came back just after her dinner, and was basically ignored for the rest of the evening... No clapping for Mummy, let's give her the cold shoulder! Hard... It took her a few days to really look and smile at me again. On Friday night, we had some friends over for dinner, with their kids, and dear Karen so reassured me by saying her kids have done the exact same thing, "punishing" mommy when she leaves them, even for a short period... OK, so I guess I didn't traumatize her for life by getting some hair highlights and buying her presents! Yay! Because that half hour in the middle of shopping, alone in a coffee shop with my book felt just too good...

There are definite differences in the challenges involved with adopted versus bio kids. But there are also many, many similarities. And with a first child, I think it's often tough to figure out what is what. And you want to give them all the best. And sometimes you succeed, and sometimes you loose your patience.

And then other moms will tell you everything is fine.
And tell you they've been there.
And done it.
And reassure you.
A lot.

3 commentaires:

mortimersmom a dit…

not to scare you or anything, but BB still wakes up at 2:17 am. everynight. it's been almost a year.

as for the crying or not cring, I'm of the mind that it hasn't been long enough to let her cry. I would give it at least half as long as she was in the orphanage (1 year in orphanage, 6 months at home). that's totally my opinion. And my kids were older, so it made us have to wait even longer.

If you want call Domenica Labasi at the CLSC, she's really great with stuff like this.

Mutha a dit…

I've not experienced the punishment from my bio kids. I do experience that with Juna. She was quite angry with me for being away from her for a few days while I was in the hospital. The sleep issues are a killer, so I sympathize. And yes, they happened just like that with the bio kids. Did you know they say it's a sign of intelligence? What you don't know with your first is that every child is so different with sleep. You blame yourself! But some are good, some are not so good. Our first, the "gifted one" was a horrible sleeper until she turned three. There's hope.. in a few years time. SORRY!!

Gen, Eric & Kyle a dit…

If it helps at all I just wanted to let you know that we have been facing many patience issues with Kyle too..I am starting to think it is an age thing and that after 12 months they start "testing"
Also, when we wanted Kyle to start sleeping through the night it was Eric that went in every time until he was not waking up anymore since Kyle only seemed to want "mommy" and would wake more frequently and it would take longer to put him back to sleep for me than Eric!
A wise person once told me "love and patience" are the only two things you need to know about parenting...one is innate the other needs a bit of work when times are tough!!!
Merry Christmas!!!! xxx