Sleepless in Los Angeles

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It has been almost three weeks since Isabella has slept through the night. It is the strangest thing to see your child experience fear for the first time. Now, she gets up 2-3 times during the night. The first 1-2 times she'll go back to her bed. It seems the last time she wakes up she's a little more emotional and it's usually around 4-5am. She will only calm down if I let her sleep in our bed. So, as a working mom who appreciates, no, requires sleep, I let her sleep with us. I've been trying to read about nighttime fears and night terrors. So this is what I learned:

  • Develop a consistent bedtime routine (done)
  • Use a nightlight, but look out for shadows (need to check that one)
  • No TV before bedtime (need to adopt new rule)
  • Use soothing music (done)
  • Watch out for TV/movie content - it seems most animated films have a scary villain (uh...need to adopt new rule)

I have to admit, we've let her watch TV before bedtime. There are three movies she absolutely loves to watch and asks for them all the time: 1) Finding Nemo, 2) Madagascar and 3) Happy Feet. Seemed harmless at first and was fine until my two-year now sees the world through new eyes. Now anything seems to scare her.

One morning, we're laying in bed while Ed's in the shower. And at the foot of the bed is a a small grey cloth to which she was curious about.

Isabella: Mommy what's that?
Me: It's a cloth to clean sunglasses.

Isabella looks puzzled and hesitant

Me: Go get it.
Isabella: No, I scared. Mommy go get it.

The last few nights were especially horrible. After Isabella crawls in bed with us I try to fall asleep. I open my eyes and see her staring at the ceiling. I think her imagination is taking over her mind. Then hours later, Ed and I both are startled awake to her feet kicking us in the head. We look at her and she managed to turn herself completely upside down over the covers. An hour later Ed gets up to feed Ethan and comes back to Isabella turned sideways taking up his side of the bed.

Last night she screamed at 2 in the morning. She had a nightmare in bed with us. She kept screaming and wouldn't let us soothe her. I remembered reading to not wake a child if she's having a night terror, but to put soothing music or her favorite movie on. But since we put a rule of no animated films (for the dark scary parts), I turned on the TV and was happy to see Little Einsteins. She was instantly calm and reverted back to the same sweet child I once new. She watched an entire episode and I turned off the TV and off to sleep to sleep she went.

We are very tired. I hope this is short lived.


Merah said...

That is so sad. Poor Izzie. And mommy and daddy.