This morning was the first time I've cried because of a parenting frustration. (Okay, fatigue and baby hormones may have also played into that equation too.) I've cried with joy or with fear, but these were my first tears of overwhelming frustration.
Staley's transition to her big girl bed was fabulous...initially. Then she decided that staying in bed for nap time was not something she wanted to do. After that, she realized that she could actually get out of her bed AND get out of her room during naps. Then, this week, she discovered that getting out of her bed and her room could also occur when she woke up in the morning...and she began getting up earlier in the morning. (One 5:30 morning and several 6:15-6:30 mornings were not exactly on MY agenda.) And last night, Staley got up in the middle of the night...multiple times. She came to our room and said she was scared. She couldn't tell us what she was scared of, but sitting with her, talking to her, singing to her, and praying with her only helped as long as we were there. We'd kiss her, leave, and 5 minutes later she'd be at our bedside again. When we were out of ideas, Zach just laid down with her for an hour until he could FINALLY sneak out. Not the precedent we want to set, but we ALL needed to get some sleep.
This morning, after missing a few hours of sleep at night and having restless dreams about Staley's sleep-time issues, I felt exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed. So I cried.
Staley has always been easy. So easy. And the thought that something as important as sleep is becoming a challenge just 2 short weeks before someone else will be demanding more of my sleep-time just became a little too much. Tears aren't going to make it better or solve the dilemma, but they were necessary. And after the tears, Zach and I tried to figure out what to do. Did we transition too early? Do we bring back the crib? How do we determine if our daughter is truly scared at night...and of what...and how do we make it better? Can we be there for Staley so she knows that she's safe and not alone while at the same time teach her that she needs to sooth herself back to sleep without our constant presence? How do we balance teaching her self-sufficience while making sure she knows that she can always count on us? And how do we keep Staley in her bed so that she has the opportunity to nap and to return to sleep at night?
We didn't come to any brilliant conclusions. We know that sleep issues are common. We have heard stories from our parents about hours spent sitting at Zach's bedside or in the hall outside Erik's room until they fell asleep. We know many of our friends and family deal with kids who won't stay in bed or get up really early or still wake up in the night. And just knowing that we are not alone, that other people have survived much worse, does help. Then, after we put Staley down for her nap today and we heard her immediately get out of bed to wander around her room, we came to another decision. Staley needs to nap. No nap yesterday + being awake in the middle of the night + early rising all week = a girl who needs a nap. She naps consistently for her baby-sitter and for grandparents and aunts. Just not for us. So if she won't stay in her bed to even attempt naps at home, then we need to do something differently. As unhappy as it made Staley, the pack and play went up in her room and after 20 minutes of crying about it, she is now napping peacefully in her pack and play.
I know our problems aren't solved. We still have more naps and night-time sleep and possible fears and early rising to conquer. I know that once this issue is resolved, there will probably be another. I know that my tears of frustration this morning will not be my last. But just having a napping child upstairs gives me pause to smile. And seeing Staley's smiling face at my bedside in the morning, even early in the morning, makes me happy to have another day to spend with her. I love being a mom. More precisely, I love being Staley's mom...sleep issues and all.