Iain and I are increasingly irritated and incensed by the tortuous nights that have followed the New Year's Eve ExtravaBANGza of fireworks in our area. That particular night was horrible because our child was up til almost 3:00am. I can tolerate fireworks, but I think it's ridiculously insensitive and rude to use 'commercial grade' cannons shooting off for over seven hours straight....in a populated suburban neighborhood.
Oh, I'm not stewing because of that one ludicrous night. It's been the ten nights following that has me beside myself. Every subsequent night has been horrible because we have have dealt with a screaming toddler who is completely panicked to go to sleep (naps included.) My well-trained, sleep-loving daughter has been traumatized by the events of that one night. I know I'm dramatic in my descriptions sometimes, but I can honestly say that every night we listen to hours of pitiful screaming, crying, pleading and summoning. We are at our wit's end.
It's almost like she's experiencing a minor case of post traumatic stress syndrome. It's excruciatingly sad and we are trying to be sensitive and supportive without giving in to spending our nights giving in to her demands that we rock her all night or sleep with her all night.
The first couple of nights, I did whatever she needed/wanted. I rocked her endlessly, held her little hand, slept nose to nose with her in her toddler bed (which is no easy feat for my not-so-petite-self), and finally ended up on the floor next to her bed for hours until she was in a deep enough sleep.
When I realized that this was bigger than a little reaction to loud fireworks, my game plan had to change. As soon as we opened her door, she'd fly through the dark - grabbing onto us pleading, "Mommy/Daddy ROCK ME!" Many times there were no tears on her pudgy little face - which had us completely befuddled, because it really sounded as if we would find her soaking in tears. We realized that there was manipulation going on, but it was all tangled up in this complex web of emotions. On the third night (we could hardly move at this point) we were exasperated and thought we'd let her cry it out. Ahhh.....how we forget what a tenacious child we have! Ninety minutes of listening to her screaming, "MOMMY!" in her most pathetic voice - I could no longer handle it. Now I'M suffering for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome! She fell asleep immediately after Iain rocked her. Poor baby was exhausted.
It's taken me two and half years to finally absorb the fact that whatever challenging stage children experience go through (like when Gianna was a baby and grunted for sport twelve hours a day) , it usually works itself out (sometimes in spite of us) within a few weeks. I really believed that until last night when she got out of bed, laid on the floor in front of the door and started crying and calling for me through the crack under the door. HOLY CANNOLI. Brutal.
A few nights ago, I realized that she'd only cry for 'mommy' even though she was totally okay if Daddy showed up to rescue her. So over the weekend I thought it might help if Iain was the only one who went in. Frankly, I don't think that did didly.
Oh, and then there was the stage, where I promised her a prize if she when through the night without crying. It worked one night - probably because she was exhausted. But then it was back to business as usual.
Last night we started a new game plan. I went back to the good ol' sleep training method where after five minutes, we go in - comfort and leave. Next time we go in after 10 minutes, 15 minutes, etc. with the hope that she'll 1) feel like we're responding to her needs, and 2) fall asleep at some point during one of the stretches.
When we got to the twenty minute stretch, I told Iain I would go in next. I did. Even though we had already prayed at the beginning of the bedtime ritual, I started again. LOTS of praying. Praying decades of the rosary, praying prayers of protection, comfort and peace over her. The whole while, her little hand just patted my shoulder. Every now and then when I'd take a breath, she'd say, "More prayers?" As I concluded the litany of prayers, she lifted her head from my shoulder and said, "I bless you, Mommy." *melt* I put her down and without a peep, she rolled over and fell asleep. It's 5:45 am - and she's actually slept through the night. (I haven't, obviously, but I'll take that trade-off any day!)
So, thank you, God, for helping our little one rest. Thank you, God, that this silly little hiccup in our parenting effort is the worst thing we're dealing with. Please be with those parents and children whose nights are plagued with inconsolable crying due to truly horrible and unfortunate circumstances. And please, Lord, help me to remember to always call on you FIRST and unceasingly whenever I deal with my child, my marriage, my family and my daily struggles.
(Oh, and please help me forgive those
imbociles, thoughtless people, friendly neighbors who started this whole shebang with their one night of fireworks.)