And since yesterday I spent an entire post praising my child for being the world's awesomest toddler eater, let's move onto something she ain't so great at - SLEEPING.
This is not something she inherited from me.
I'm going to blame it on her father who definitely struggles to fall (and stay) asleep.
Natalie has never in her life slept beyond 8:00 in the morning. Not once. Not even if we keep her up until 10:00 the night before, she will be hollering from her crib at 6:30....or earlier.
Here is our bedtime routine:
- Momma puts on Natalie's pajamas, gives medicine if necessary and helps brush hair and teeth.
- Daddy is seated in the cozy brown glider in Natalie's bedroom.
- Natalie picks out one or two books to read and then climbs into Daddy's lap.
- Good night kisses and hugs for Momma.
- Lamp is turned on and overhead light is switched off.
- Momma leaves the room.
- Daddy reads the books and cuddles Natalie.
- At some point in time when Natalie is close to sleep, the lamp is turned off and she is just rocked until fully or almost asleep.
- Daddy places Natalie into her crib and heads out of the room.
- Most of the time Natalie wakes up and spends the next five minutes crying on the side of her crib before throwing herself into a little ball in the center of her mattress and passes out.
It's all sweet and fun until that last part.
For the longest time Craig refused to put her into the crib without Natalie being completely asleep nor would he let her cry on her own for any amount of time.
At the beginning of the school year Craig and I had a little powwow about our nighttime routine and I convinced him to try letting her cry on her own in bed for 10 minutes just one night. It absolutely killed him but of course within five minutes she was asleep.
As her parents, we know all the different "cries" that Natalie has - from the whimper of "that hurt just a little but I think I'm okay if you give me a hug" to the "I'm so tired but I don't want to go to bed because you guys are probably doing super fun stuff right now" and even the "oh my goodness I am in so much pain and anguish and you better come get me right now because I might explode."
Most of the time we get some version of the second type of cry and within that five minute window of us leaving the room, she is passed out in her bed and sleeps through the night........but here is the kicker - she is and EARLY morning riser. As in 5:30 AM.
This is the part where I do not know what to do. We can get her to bed and have her stay there throughout the night (for the most part) but this 5:00 in the morning crap has got to end. I'll admit it, when other people write about their children sleeping in past 8:00, I get a little jealous. A whole lot jealous in fact. Even if I can't sleep in that late do you know how glorious it sounds to have some time in the morning to myself to take a shower, put on make-up or even just drink a cup of coffee in pure solitude? Sigh.
And now that she has started up this 5:00 stuff and Craig and I both work long hours, we've taken up the bad habit of just bringing her to bed with us in the mornings so that we can at least sleep until 6:30. But this is not a habit I want to get into because although it can be sweet to wake up to her little face in the morning, I sleep TERRIBLY with her in the bed and a well-rested Momma is better for every member of my household.
One of my thoughts is to take the front of her crib off and convert it to a toddler bed so that in the morning she could play with the toys in her room without waking up me or Craig. BUT....that would completely upset our bedtime routine because during that five minutes of frustration before passing out, she would be out of bed and banging on the door.
My other thought is just to wait it out because she did this awhile back for a few weeks before going back to her better wake-up time of 6:30. She's also been battling a not-really-an-ear-infection-but-kind-of-an-ear-infection this past week. We have her on some antibiotics combined with a nasal spray to knock all the junk loose in her head and so far, so good....no fever which is hopefully a sign that the ear infections is staying at bay for the time being. We will head back to the pediatrician's office in a few weeks to have another look into her ears to see if the fluid has cleared up. If not, we're off to the ENT doctor.
Or perhaps she's just an early riser which could benefit us when she is in school?!