Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Mystery of the Blue Monsters

So, apparently, in utter defiance of our stated goals and actions, Miss Tessmacher and I have managed to fuck things up. Not with each OTHER, of course; no worries there! No, what we seem to be fucking up is parenthood. Here's the deal:

The Rozzle, for nigh 2-1/2 years, has been a fantastic sleeper. Titanic, 3-hour naps. In bed by 7:00(ish), sleep without waking until dawn. Which was only problematic during the high summer when Tess and I wished to sleep beyond, say, 5:30am. Always a little put off by schedule changes, Roz nevertheless rolled effortlessly through 6 weeks this past summer of sleeping alternately at Unnamed Northern Music Camp, Grandma's, G & Papa's, the Island, a tent, and, oh yeah, home. Not. A problem.

This winter break, the schedule went all to shit like it usually does: we're home for 4 solid weeks, school is out for HER for two weeks, there's no dance class, and all this Christmas shit all over the place. Well. Santa decided it was time for a big-girl bed for Roz, and he made a great present of it, replete with flannel Disney sheets and a brand-new quilt from G to top it off. Wonderful!

Or…not so much. I dismantled her toddler bed on the 26th and set up the twin. She napped in it that day & slept in it that night. On the 27th we went to Grandma's, and she napped in the car on the way. As usual. When bedtime came there, she went down, no problem whatsoever. In fact, she slept in SO late the next morning, there was no real reason to put her down for a nap; we'd only finished breakfast by 10:30, so she wasn't gonna want lunch so soon, and to go down for a nap at noon meant she'd only been awake for something like 3 hours! So, skipped nap that day. Unusual, but not unheard of. Next day (the 29th, for those of you who've lost count) was a trip home, and again, as usual, she napped almost the whole way.

And then…it begins. Fighting the nap. "I…don't…wanna…take…a nap!" Fighting bedtime. "Mom, don't leave." Worse and worse, seemingly out of nowhere, until we finally figured out that maybe the big-girl bed was just too much change, Santa had got it wrong, yadda yadda. We asked her if she wanted her old bed back, and she said yes. So, apart comes the twin, back goes the converted crib, and I'm thinking "Okay, glory, no worries now. Everything's back to normal, the Christmas shit is all put away, it's like the last few weeks never happened. WHEW!"

Right? WRONG! Still fighting the nap, wants to sleep in the spare bed or our bed. Won't let us leave at bedtime until she's fully asleep, and then without fail wakes at 2:00am calling "Mom? Mom?" Checking on her reveals that she's scared. "It's scary in here, Dad." I try to suss out why, reminding her that it's her room, where she's always slept, her bed, all her things, the safest place in the house…you get the drill. Nope. "I'm scared that the blue monsters will come and try to eat my blankie." I'd laugh, but that it's now 2:15 and I'm up at 6:00 to go back to work! I try logic: "Honey, there are no monsters." (You there! Bumble! Shut your toothless pie-hole, you ain't helpin'!) I try disarmament: "Sweetie, the only blue monsters you've ever seen are Grover and Cookie, and THEY'RE not scary, are they?" (Hey, Thog, who let you in here?! Get your 10' height right on back out the door. NOT. HELPING.) In order to get any sleep at all, I or Tess give in and bring her into the spare bed to sleep. Just so we can all get SOME sleep!

So…the fuck did the blue monster scare come from??? Is it a phase? Did we screw up her schedule so much that she's reverted and doesn't know how to stay asleep anymore? Please. He'p me.


Blogger Suze said...

She's 3 and 1/2, right? STUFF HAPPENS at 3 and 1/2, stuff that I can't even begin to explain. You're lucky she napped this long (sorry to put it that way, but it's true. My kids both quit napping right around age 2.) Seriously, though, she's transitioning out of naps, and at this age their imaginations get a lot more vivid, hence the fear of blue monsters. Christmas madness doesn't help, either. I don't have advice, I'm afraid, but I can tell you that this is all normal, albeit frustrating, so don't worry that you've messed up parenthood.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

It's normal, it's a phase and she'll grow out of it. At this age not only does the imagination kick into high gear, but there's another phase of separation anxiety that centers on night time. But don't let her get used to sleeping with the 'rents, 'cause that takes a crapload of time to grow out of (I speak from experience). One thing that helped my boy at around this age (when the imagination kicks into high gear and nightmares happen just about every night - at least they did for Jamie) was a dreamcatcher and a "magic" pillow. See, hang the dreamcatcher over the bed and explain the folklore that some people believe it catches bad dreams. Then, present her with a new animal-shaped, brightly colored pillow. In Jamie's case it was a flannel turtle with a multi-colored shell. This is a "magic" turtle that will help keep the bad dreams away from his head at night. It worked for him (and let me get more sleep). It may work for you.

And, FYI, you didn't screw up parenting. It's normal.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Tess said...

I've tried a "sleeping potion" that is supposed to keep her safe. While she was totally into it for a couple of nights, it didn't really do anything to calm her fear at 3 a.m. It's the waking up in the middle of the night that is totally throwing us for a loop right now!

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Strangeite said...

If you figure this one out, let me know.

I don't think there is any rhyme or reason to the waking up in the middle of the night.

Sophie is now 4 and will go months sleeping through the night with no problem. Then all of a sudden for a couple of weeks, she will wake up at 3 in the morning scared to death.

My personal theory is that there really are monsters that inhabit kids rooms, but they aren't there to scare the kids, they are there to make sure that parents don't get too much sleep. Kind of like the corporation in Monsters, Inc., but instead of screams or laughter, they profit from exhaustion.

p.s. I guess I do have one suggestion. Sophie does seem to sleep better when we set her little pop-up camping tent on her bed. Plus seeing her sleeping in a tent, on the bed, with her little feet sticking out the door is adorable.

Just don't leave it up too long, otherwise the power seems to fade.

9:32 AM  

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