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Wit's End

We have a major problem with Eden. She has been fighting naptime with increasingly horrific results. This is not a new problem. This week has been especially difficult. Try as we might, we simply have not succeeded in making her sleep. Sometimes she'll skip nap and then fall asleep at a decent hour of 7:30 or 8:00 pm. Other days (and getting more frequent), she'll fight through naptime and then throw hideous, outrageous, all-encompassing tantrums at bedtime, keeping her up until 12:00 or 12:30 in the morning. No amount of punishing awful behavior or rewarding/praising good behavior has made any difference. We have tried practically everything.

Also increasingly, she's disrupting Ivy's sleep. Ivy has now been off 'schedule' (I use it loosely) all week, and for the past two days has been fighting nap AND bedtime herself. I'm seriously at my wit's end.

Now, I'd especially like anyone to weigh in with wisdom if you yourself have dealt with three year olds, or even if you just have an idea.

We have our basic routine. Unfortunately, this sometimes varies from day-to-day depending on Josh's work. A couple weeks ago he was laid off from his day job landscaping for this couple, again - despite reassurances of work through the summer. So we're working on getting his car fixed, and in the meantime we've been spending more time at home. Josh is still working at the church, the hours of which depend on what activities are going on at the church that week.

Josh and I have Discussed this, and I really feel that since the basic routines are no longer effective, what Eden probably really needs is a Schedule. And I mean a strict schedule, where she has video time (they like to wake up and eat breakfast to The Bear in the Big Blue House), learning time, playtime, lunchtime, snacktime, etc. I think we need to work on making something that can stay relatively constant from day-to-day. Ultimately, this would probably help with Josh's job hunt and my Flying.

Speaking of which...my Flying is going well, although I am STILL not prepared to move on past Chapter One yet. While my sink has stayed shiny (and I think this is the longest it's ever stayed consistently shiny), which is usually my biggest difficulty, I've found that my daily routines are giving me the worst time lately. Part of this is the change in routine from Josh no longer working, and also the increasingly long amount of time it's taking to clean up puppy narsty first thing in the morning and at night when we get home. So it seems to me like a Set Schedule might be the thing to try for a while.

I'm also hoping - especially if Josh and I start getting up about an hour before the kids do to get ready and get the floors mopped up - that this will give us more time to do fun things in the future. I'd like to see them play on the playset every day that it's not raining, and having indoor exercise time when it is. We'd all like to start a Family Activity time, and I want to work more often with my bellydancing video.

If I am scheduling everything, I plan to make a priority to have scheduled Reiki and writing times. These are things that are extremely important to me, but get pushed to the wayside all too often due to 'necessity'. I don't want this happening any longer. I'd also like to work in some time to work on learning and practicing a Secret Dream I have harbored for about three or four years now. It will never be accomplished until I take that first babystep.

So that's what I think this family needs. I'd love input and support on this. Thanks to all my friends who lend their wisdom and energies!

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( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
ahavah
May. 16th, 2006 01:22 am (UTC)
That's what I feel she probably needs. And, GOD, the hippie chick in me really struggles with that. I'm such a 'go with the flow' type of person, and I like being able to pick up and take off as fancy strikes me. I also like sleeping in. But, I figured the routines worked well when the first started, but she probably needs *more* structure. So maybe we'll give it a trial run, and I was thinking strict, too, like "Wake up 7:30, breakfast 8:00, color time 9:00..." Ick.

But we were thinking of working more mindfully with homeschooling now that she's three, so that would help. We're also looking at local classes, maybe gymnastics with kids her age - together, following directions, and see if that also helps.
(Deleted comment)
ahavah
May. 16th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC)
Right. That's what I'm coming to realize.

And it doesn't HAVE to be "Wake up 7:30, breakfast 8:00, color time 9:00...". Set mealtimes, naptimes and bedtime and STICK to them.

That's what we've been trying. It worked at first, but no longer, which is why I'm thinking maybe she'd benefit from an hour-by-hour consistent schedule that varies extremely little from day to day.
fierceawakening
May. 16th, 2006 01:21 am (UTC)
Wow. I don't know what to suggest. I do know that when I was a child I simply couldn't do naps -- at the preschool I went to that meant beign disciplined and punished, ridiculed by other children, put in the hall, told I was bad, etc. Despite the fact that I wanted more than anything to sleep to spare myself the humiliation but simply couldn't will myself to go to sleep during daylight. (It's STILL extremely difficult for me to go to sleep at any given time... I stay up until I know my body is tired, and that's all that's ever worked for me.) So my gut reaction is to holler "OMG DON'T MAKE HER" and shudder. But I also know that the nastiness isn't at work here.

Could it just be that she's actually, like I was, not tired, or not able to control her own sleeping patterns?
fierceawakening
May. 16th, 2006 01:23 am (UTC)
Could it also be possible to make it "rest time" and not "naptime?" The way I got through the naptimes at preschool, eventually, was to fake being asleep so the teachers wouldn't know I wasn't. I'm sure it wasn't as refreshing as real napping, but I'm also sure it gave me a chance to rest some.
ahavah
May. 16th, 2006 01:26 am (UTC)
We've tried that one, already. With a nod to their morning favorite, the Bear in the Big Blue House, we tried an hour or two of 'quiet time' and let her do whatever (like we could stop her anyway) in bed as long as she stayed quiet and in the bedroom. It didn't help. She'd just start getting out of hand again as soon as she got up, having not gotten the sleep.

:(

But thanks for trying! I thought it would help, too, but nope.
fierceawakening
May. 16th, 2006 01:27 am (UTC)
Ee! Poor kidlet! I hope things get better soon.
ahavah
May. 16th, 2006 01:32 am (UTC)
Thanks!
Thanks, me too. Deep down, I think we all do.
ahavah
May. 16th, 2006 01:24 am (UTC)
Not at all. :( I wish.

She starts getting sleepy around 1:30 or 2 pm for a nap. You can tell. She gets loud, stompy, and she's so fair that she all of the sudden gets these red circles under her eyes. Her tantrums and craziness are just a testament to how much she needs sleep. Really. You can trust me on that one. When she does get her naps and bedtime properly, she's such a DOLL. So much better. Soooo much.
fierceawakening
May. 16th, 2006 01:25 am (UTC)
Okay. Yeah, I figured not. Wow. In that case I've really no idea!
mrdixon
May. 16th, 2006 02:24 am (UTC)
Ok, lets look at her point of view. Mommy doesn't take a nap and she's sure she's missing something during naptime. As far as I could fiqure, a kid thinks of naptime as lost time. We worked very hard to keep them napping, and unfortunetly, they still do at the ages of 22, 21, 19 and 15...Its a family of nappers.

My suggestion, walk her little butt off before nap time. I have a tendency to be a bit "driven" in the morning. And after the 6 stops, working in the garden, running around playing and having her help in the kitchen, the princess was ready for a nap about the time mom came home from work..(unfortunetly, that is when I went to work) but things worked out great.

If she doesn't need a nap, don't give her one. just give her time to chill in the pm and listen to something soothing. Classical, Sesame street's sleepy tape, soft.

Blessings,

Dix
ahavah
May. 16th, 2006 02:33 am (UTC)
Thanks, mrdixon. I try to get good play/exercise time before nap time. At my mom's, where there's cable, she has dinner and then watches & exercises along with Lazytown, which she enjoys. Here at the house where we don't, I've tried having playtime outside instead. We're still working out a balance, but I'll take your advice and try to have most the physical activity in the morning. :)
(Deleted comment)
ahavah
May. 16th, 2006 04:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks, aquathegoddess. We've tried some of that. We did have "Quiet Time" instead of naptime, but it doesn't help. The problem with Eden is that she really does need a nap. She starts getting sleepy at the same time everyday - and I mean noticeably sleepy. When she does take her nap, she's a doll! She's so sweet and loving, and she listens - she even picked up saying "Yes, mother" from one of her shows. LOL But when she skips naps....oy. Now she's picked up this "Shush!" thing she's doing to adults - complete with pointing, shaking finger. She's started getting extremely violent with people - she kicked me yesterday, AND she's begun to get violent with the baby.

We have tried a 'treat box'. I don't like bribing her with food, but I do let her have a snack sometimes. She really likes these little things, they start out as gel pills and you throw them in hot water, the pill melts away, and a little sponge animal is left. She's also started to enjoy putting on make-up like mommy. I've tried using these types of things as rewards for good behavior, although mostly it has been with the potty. I will see about maybe picking from the treat box after naptime. I had been telling her we'd go shopping after her nap if she's sleep well, but that hasn't been effective. :(

You and mrdixon both made good points about having most of the activity in the day. We usually do, although she sometimes has trampoline or dancing time when we go to my mom's at night. Maybe I should have a 6:30 cut-off for 'exercise' or something, so she has plenty of wind-down time. Thanks for all your suggestions!
(Deleted comment)
ahavah
May. 16th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks, that's something to try! I remember the Berenstein Bears. Good stuff. I'll remember what you said about a therapist, but hopefully we can nip this in the bud with love and good parenting. I hope.
charv
May. 16th, 2006 11:27 am (UTC)
I wish I had some better advice for you then I do. All I can say is if you can at least get her on a sleep schedule, you'll find it easier to get himt o sleep. As in the more they get the easier it is to convince them to go to sleep. I've got no idea how to get her to start sleeping more, though. Sorry. *hugs*
ahavah
May. 16th, 2006 04:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks, charv. Sometimes it's nice just to have hugs from other moms. :) Maybe I need to find some locally. I'm definitely going to sit down and make a schedule and see how it works. Both mine are girls, too. It might be easier if they got sleepy at the same time, but Ivy usually wants to go down about an hour before Eden does. I'm wondering if this would change if we woke them both up earlier.
lanternlady
May. 16th, 2006 12:25 pm (UTC)
As with all the others, I wish I had some sage advice but I think MrDixon hits it closest! I used to run a home daycare and I had at one time 5 children + 2 that came before and after school. EVERYONE knew our routine... in the am we were outside walking, playing at the park, in winter that was craft time or some other "active" time. 11:30 - 12:15 was lunch and 12:30 - 2:00 was quiet time... they all knew it and they all abided to that (yes, I was lucky). When people asked me how I managed it, I simply stated that that was what I expected. All this to say, even the older kids had some form of nap time. I would suggest that Eden is entering that time between needing and starting to forgo naps and although she doesn't want to, she needs to. It's a trying time for a parent. Patience will get you though... and yes.. structure is a good thing.

Good luck and bright blessings.
ahavah
May. 16th, 2006 04:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, witchwillow! It's nice to have you validating what I hoped was a good plan. I think it's a big part of testing boundaries, and maybe some of it has to do with the fact that her Daddy is home during the day a lot now. So yes, we will get structure together as a family. I can see that being a good thing. :)
lanternlady
May. 16th, 2006 05:37 pm (UTC)
Well she's also reaching an age where she is developing her "intellect", for lack of a better term. She's starting to think for herself and form independant thought patterns and this is when they start "testing" the waters.. hehehe... And yes, the change in Daddy's routine is most likely part and parcel.

You'll get through it my dear. Make SURE you take time to rest when they are both resting and take some "mommy" time. That's what will keep you sane!
ahavah
May. 16th, 2006 05:41 pm (UTC)
As always, I bow to your wisdom! Yes, we have had too little mommy time...
lanternlady
May. 16th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
*giggles* wisdom nothing.. tis the school of hard knocks! Rest up well, cus after THIS stage they start to learn how to reason. It REALLY sucks when you get into a battle of wits with one of the little people and you find yourself unarmed! LOL My son, who is currently in the military and hoping to start taking Political Science (courtesy of her Magesty the Queen) wants to be a politician. He started his career at about age 4! That kid could sell snow cones in Alaska. I think he started learning negotiation strategies while still in diapers! :o)

Humour and rest; key elements required!
nedia782
May. 16th, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)
I didnt read the other comments first, so Im sorry if I repeat anything!! :) My oldest is almost 3, and I have had this same thing happned mny times. I have found that keepingm y house picked up really helps with his mood. Im not saying that I clean the crap out of it everyday, but I do see that when my house is kind of crazy, so are my children. He also doesnt take naps anymore, but needs them most days. We have "rest" time. I will put in a movie or turn on a cartoon and I willlay down with them. Even if oldest doesnt fall asleep atleast he had some time not running around and being crazy man, plus mommy get some MUCh needed rest time :)
Aiden (3) has aslo really gotten in to the shitty habbit of waking up Logan (20 mths) when he is napping. He does it because he wants toplay with him, but man oh man its hard to not want to beat him when that happens!!! I know Im probably re-writting things that have already been writtne....lemme see... We also have 4 different Yoga videos that he can choose from. That way he is getting some "him" time and its semi structered. The weather has been crap for 5 days now, so we area all starting to go stir crazy :( Hope something I said can be of some use.... :) !
ahavah
May. 16th, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks, nedia, I was hoping to hear from you. Was it you who had a book you're always recommending? I'd written it down, but now I can't find it. I want to add it on to my Amazon wishlist.

I think you're right about the house. That's why I'm working to get everything de-cluttered and also have the kids be part of picking it up. It's very nice, because their current morning video, The Bear in the Big Blue House has this "Clean up the House" song and dance they do. This morning, Eden sang it for me while I vacuumed. :) I'm trying to get her to listen when I ask her to pick up the toys, and I'm letting her make her bed in the morning (even if it doesn't look made - lol).

We also have some Yoga videos; well, Josh does. She's been dancing and moving along to stuff like LazyTown or my bellydancing video when I do it. That's one of the reasons we're looking at gymnastics classes - which she did for a little while when I was pregnant. I think she'd do better listening now (which is kind of why we stopped).
nedia782
May. 16th, 2006 06:04 pm (UTC)
Unconditional Parenting, Alfie Kohn. Thats my book lol :) Aiden was noti nto following anything on his videos, but after I put them on a couple of times he started to do the poses he liked :) Good luck, I know how frustrating this kind of stuff can be. I was ready to jump off a bridge yesterday due to lack of naps :)
ahavah
May. 16th, 2006 07:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm adding it! Yeah, nothing is worse that napless days. I'll keep everyone posted, and hopefully more structure will help. I can't wait to look at that book either.
nedia782
May. 16th, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
Enjoy :)
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )

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