Friday, March 26, 2010

To sleep...or not.

I can't believe that after 2 years of Ayla practically putting herself to sleep each night, a trip to Grandma's could undo it all. We have had a really good time here at my Mum and Dad's house but 7:00pm each night is not necessarily one of them.

For the first 2 years of Ayla's little life, she woke every 45 minutes ALL night. Getting her to sleep each night required a marathon of breastfeeding and leaning over the cot and patting her for at least 45 minutes to an hour, she would sleep for 45 minutes, and then wake to do it all over again. There were even nights where it was so bad and my breasts were so shrivelled and empty that I would quite literally get Ayla up in the middle of the night and put her in the bath to start her bedtime rhythm all over again. Book reading and all.

Ayla started at a Steiner playgroup from 8 weeks of age and it was there that Mummy received a good education! RHYTHM was EVERYTHING! A daily rhythm, a weekly rhythm...rhythm, rhythm, rhythm. Thanks Jen! So Ayla's 'Bedtime Rhythm' went something like this. Dinner at 5.15pm, in the bath at 6 (along with a few drops of Lavender oil), playing in the bath until Ayla was signalling that she had had enough. We would then hop out of the bath, dry off, get dressed and read a book together (Yes, even at 8 weeks of age), feed and then into bed with some very soft Lullabies by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. It didn't work straight away but Ayla gradually got the hang of it.

At around 2 years old Ayla was sleeping through the night and waking only once or twice for a drink of water and we were able to put her into her cot after boobie and books and walk out the door. She would play for a while, sometimes grizzle but would eventually put herself to sleep.

These days, Ayla has almost exactly the same 'Bedtime Rhythm' and she even starts telling me when it is 6:00 and time for her bath. After reading a book or two, Ayla happily gets under the covers and is asleep within minutes.....except on nights that she has clearly scheduled for the Bedroom Olympics at which time there is squealing and giggling until 10.30!

So, here at Grandma's Ayla has decided to regress despite having maintained her 'Bedtime Rhythm' and having put herself to sleep many times before at Grandma's. I wonder what has changed??

Possibly, her level of awareness of her surroundings and her interaction with everything in her environment. This time around she seems to be infinitely aware that this is a strange room, it's dark and she needs to go to sleep in Mummy's bed, with Mummy beside her. Going to sleep here involves a good 45 minutes of wedging her little feet in between my legs, sitting up and casually draping herself across my prone body and pretending to sleep, sighing, pulling my hair, sticking her fingers up my nose etc etc, all in the name of being in contact with me so that I can't leave the room. If I do leave the room before Ayla is 'ready'....hysterical crying. All of this is made MUCH worse if Grandma accidentally gives Ayla the Nut Cookies with Cocoa instead of the ones with Carob powder :).

Anyway, once asleep, Ayla remains that way until morning, even after I move her into her own bed. So, now that I have just written an entire post on Ayla's poor sleeping since being away, I have just realised that it's really not that bad. Going to sleep is presenting challenges, and challenges that I sometimes don't feel equipped for at that time of the afternoon/night but she is still sleeping through the night.

We have been doing some fun things with Grandma and Grandpa like feeding the ducks at the Botannical Gardens, swimming in Grandpa's pool, going for ice-cream, visiting the pitiful zoo but having a great time on the swings. And worth the photo Ayla is swinging on that swing all by herself with no support! It was really exciting to see her sit so comfortably on the swing, no fear or feeling of being unstable, and just enjoy swinging. Ayla thought it was hilarious when I hopped on the swing beside her and we swung along together.

Off home again on Tuesday for a few days and then back on the plane to Sydney for Ayla's ABR workshop. I can't wait til mid April when things slow down a little....until May anyway.


Lavendilly House said...

Holidays always throw things out - I partly dread them for that reason! It used to be a nightmare taking toddler kaelan on holidays - he would be fine for the holidays but it would take month of adjustment in behaviour and rhythm to find a place of tantrum-free peace again! *sigh* sensitive little things children are!

S said...

I feel like crying with exasperation for us both and then i think i should laugh at myself for complaining about waking 8-10 times a night for the past 8 did it for 2 years! what do 'they' say "this too shall pass"? loving the rhythms.

Rachel said...

I hope Ayla will begin to enjoy sleep as much as I'm sure you do! I pray that every night both of you will sleep like a baby :) Metaphorically.

Kelly Lenehan said...

This post just soooo familiar!! Reefy is almost 5yrs old and still it takes me anywhere from 20mins to an hour to put him to sleep.... lying with him..... him throwing himself all over me.... yes fingers up my nose too... and sitting up to ask me a question every 2 minutes. And the occassional screaming himself to sleep. Fun times!!! I must say though that rythum sure does help out. Our Rythum goes like this... Dinner, books, bath, teeth, toilet, bedtime story telling, bedtime sing song then NO MORE TALKING (Sleep!!!). From the time of "NO MORE TALKING" is when the counting starts for me to see how long it takes.