When She’s Asleep

We party!  No, really!!!  When she’s asleep, her Papa and I pull out all the stops and celebrate!  It usually looks a little like this,

Seriously fun!

There are many, many pictures circulating around the internet advertising, nay, taunting those of us who have not and will not likely ever capture one of these precious moments, until our kids are nearer 16.

 

Yeah right.  Not my kid.  Nope.

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So, I find it funny when people tell me they are going to miss nap number 3, then eventually nap #2 goes by the wayside… ah.

Nap #1 was a thing of beauty and wonder in our house, and it lasted a mere 3 years.

Thing is, she’s never missed a moment, and when you talk to her, you know it.  And while I think her father and I would love a few more moments to share together with just the two of us, we know that this is temporary, that she is growing exponentially, that she will sleep when she’s a teenager, and that it’s worth every moment of sharing with her, even if it means the only time it’s quiet around here is when we’re all asleep.

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I was reading some comments on a site tonight about parents and their sleep dilemmas with their children.  It was the usual.. my kid either won’t nap anymore or some other ‘not as the parent expects/wants’ scenario.

I get it.  I tried for a couple weeks to hold on to my daughter’s afternoon nap when she had everything else to do but sleep on schedule.  I’ve been there.  I battled.  I begged.  I even went so far as to be told where I could put my idea of HER being asleep while I wasn’t.  Imagine all she would miss!  Yeah.. imagine.  Nothing like watching mom plop down on a couch and stare off into space for an hour, or do the laundry and dishes.  I know, crazy exciting stuff!

Anyway, point is, I realized too late in my case, as it took my daughter asserting herself in a way that made it very clear that I was being a jerk and selfish, to get me to open my eyes and stop trying to tell her when she was to sleep, instead of granting her the same consideration I grant myself and my partner regarding our sleep needs and preferences.

I learned the value of allowing someone space to manage their own body and mind very early with my daughter.  It’s a lesson I will carry with me for the remainder of my life – it’s given me the gift of acceptance and respect on a level for others I didn’t have previously.

And here are a few little things I also learned along the way –

Some children do not want to sleep, in spite of you thinking they need to. This might seem odd, but what if you had another person telling you when to sleep? 

Coming from a mama with a little that has been more alert, aware, and absorbing from the moment of birth than any of us could imagine… Instead of “putting her down for a nap”, what about trying something a little different? Why not try watching her signals and instead of telling her what to do with them, give her credit and allow her to follow her natural rhythm

When you see her start to wear out, slow down yourself. 

When you see her becoming overwhelmed with stimulation, calm your environment and quiet your mind. Provide a conducive atmosphere for rest, and allow you and she to define what is restful to each of you, independently.

Our society has this idea that children can’t figure out how to sleep on their own… Our society would serve itself well to stop trying to force children and their patterns into those that fit an adult’s world and adult’s expectations and patterns.

She will sleep when her body tells her to, if you don’t try to manage and modify her natural patterns. And you will find that if you don’t interfere, but instead follow her lead, you also will have much more opportunity to rest and restore while she rests, instead of the battle that you will both remember.

If you are interested in the studies and thoughts related to the damage caused by those who insist their children sleep when they (the adults) deem appropriate, you can check out the following links:

Becoming as Wise as Your Baby
The Dangers of CIO
Anti CIO Community
Becoming Babywise
The Natural Child Project: Sleep
Neglect & Sleep Training, Ignoring
Refusing to Diminish, Choosing to Respond

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