Last night was a really hard one. Overall we had a really good day. We had lots of fun preparing for Baba’s birthday, as DoubleShot and I are making him something. DoubleShot and Baba were able to connect while playing DoubleShot’s current favorite video game – Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. But when it was time for bed, DoubleShot started telling me that she’s not tired and that she’s bored. I know both are untrue, but she believes it’s the truth.
DoubleShot has recently started telling me (in Chinese), “I am bored. What can I do?” To try to head off the complaints of boredom, I took her into her room and started offering her suggestions. “You can lie down with us. You can stay in your room. Here is a brand new drawing pad and some charcoal pencils. Here is a dress up doll. Here is a sticker book. Here are some library books to read. It is your choice what you do.”
She stayed in her room playing quietly for about an hour. I was so happy and so tired. Just when I was about to fall into a really deep sleep, DoubleShot came into the room and shook me awake. She was ready to crawl into bed with me but had brought her nightlight and the sketch pad with her. I told her that she couldn’t bring the nightlight. She asked why and I explained it was too bright. I have sensitive eyes and if there is light in our room at night, I will wake up in the morning with swollen and extremely light sensitive eyes. She took the nightlight back to her room and tucked the sketch pad under my pillow.
Several minutes later, she was poking me and asking me if I am hungry. This is her code for “I am hungry but not able to tell you!” We rolled out of bed and gave her an apple. This satisfied her so we went back to bed.
While we were upstairs, we had an interesting conversation that may have shed a little light on our nighttime issues. DoubleShot informed us that it is 1AM and thus time to get up. We told her that no, it’s 1AM and thus time to be asleep. She insisted that at 5AM in Taiwan, it was time to get up. Yes, but dear, you sleep until 10AM most days here. She didn’t believe me!! I have a feeling my darling daughter has no sense of time on a clock or time of day. It doesn’t seem to mean anything to her.
Once we went back downstairs, she laid in bed but was so anxious. There was nothing I could do to calm her. I rubbed her back, held her, and whispered back when she was asking me questions. Once she finally decided that it was time to allow herself to sleep, she passed out in only seconds. Now it’s almost 9AM and she’s sleeping deeply.
There are so many minor issues during our day that we could address – her eating habits, lack of schedule, sleeping (or lack thereof!), and a host of other small things that I can’t think of at the moment. I’m exhausted! I don’t want to change her personality or character. I just know that there are things that we could do that would make her life and ours easier and more pleasant. There are just so many things to choose from that it’s hard to decide where to start.
The sleeping issue is definitely one of the most important things that we want to address. She needs more sleep and we need more sleep. She can sleep in but I have a hard time sleeping past eight and Baba works at eight. So she’s sleeping and we’re dragging ourselves through the morning. Some nights she goes to bed just fine and other nights she is so wound up that we are up for hours trying to comfort her.
What caused yesterday’s lack of sleep? It could have been the small amount of caffeine she drunk shortly before bed (we didn’t realize she was trying to finish off her boba tea from earlier). It could have been that we were working on preparations for Baba’s birthday (a very emotional thing for her, I’m sure). It could be that she’s having nightmares at night. It could be that something happened to her at night in Taiwan that’s scarred her and made nighttime terrifying. It could be that she just does not understand when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be awake.
This is something Jeff and I will have to keep discussing and keep searching for a solution. I don’t want nighttime to be terrifying for DoubleShot. I want her to sleep deeply and awake the next morning feeling refreshed. I’m just not sure how to help her feel safe every night. As I said above, there are nights where she crawls into bed with me, curls up holding my hand, and passes out. And then there are nights where no one sleeps.
Would it be possible for you and your husband to switch off on nights or at least weekends? That way at least one of you will be able to sleep. Otherwise, there is no shame in napping. If I don’t get enough sleep, my mental health suffers (and everything else too …)
Good luck. You guys are doing great.
I tried to take a nap on Sabbath and she freaked out! I’m still not sure why, as I reassured her that she didn’t not have to take a nap. But she was slamming doors, huffing and puffing all over, and then would come in my room and get real close and start talking to me. “Wakey, wakey! Good afternoon! No sleeping!” 🙂 Yes, I have the same issue with lack of sleep and my mental health deteriorates. I hope you get great sleep this week!!
I’m catching up on my reader, which is why I’m reading and commenting so late – but I am praying for peaceful sleep. My situation (with an 11 month old who wakes me up multiple times a night) is quite different, but I know how very difficult it can be to function and parent when you’re not getting good sleep.
The bit about DoubleShot having a hard time comprehending time of day and time on the clock made me wonder if a “classroom clock” concept might be helpful for her. I read about it somewhere and am having a hard time finding it – but you basically take an analog clock and remove the minute hand. Then you color the clock with the different regular activities you do at those hours. Of course, since you’re dealing with 24 hours instead of twelve like a classroom would, you would maybe have to do an inner and an outer ring for “AM” and “PM”. Or maybe it wouldn’t be helpful at all – but it was an idea that popped into my head as I read. (Okay, I found the link.)
Again, I’m praying for grace (and sleep) for you.