I’m sure anyone with a baby has a tale to tell about sleep issues. Ours, so far, has been quite interesting. While were in Nanchang, Stanzi slept pretty well. She woke once in the night for a bottle and tended to be an early riser, but basically her sleep pattern was consistent. The trouble first started after we arrived in Guangzhou. Different crib, different hotel, different climate all added up to a rough first night. In fact, most families in our group had difficulty that first night in Guangzhou. Stanzi, however, developed a habit on that first night that she hasn’t yet kicked – fighting sleep. She’s become an expert at it, too, by the way. I, on the other hand, have become an expert at fighting Stanzi fighting sleep. Naptime is never an issue but nighttime is a total drama. There are countless theories as to why our adopted children have trouble sleeping: fear of the dark, fear of silence, fear of waking up alone as they have on so many mornings. Frequently, as she’s trying not to fall asleep, Stanzi will gaze into my face; sometimes she’ll reach out and gently touch my cheek or lips. There’s such depth in the dark pools of her eyes. It’s as if she’s afraid it may be the last time she ever sees me.
Stress and exhaustion make you do crazy things and the craziest thing I’ve done in quite some time is to go to battle with my one-year-old daughter over bedtime. Do I want my kid to sleep from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. and nap everyday? Hell, yes! Who wouldn’t? Do I have that kid? I don’t think so. Does that child even exist? I wonder.
Yesterday I discussed the situation with our pediatrician, Dr. Kempf. Essentially she said there are no “right” ways to get your child to sleep. In the interest of both Stanzi and me getting enough rest “do what works” she said. So last night I called a bedtime truce. Eight o’clock rolled around and Stanzi showed no indication she was ready to sleep. By 8:45, however, all the signs were there. We went upstairs and snuggled in bed and she was asleep in my arms by 9:30. She was awake for two hours in the middle of the night which was kind of annoying, but we’ll work on that. All in all I figure I got about 7 ½ hours of sleep and six of them were consecutive. Not bad, and a lot better than the three to four I was getting during the “Great Bedtime War”.
So for the first time in a long time I had the energy to eat breakfast, shower, put on “real” clothes, apply a small amount of make-up and do a couple of loads of laundry. I even shaved my legs. Life is good.