Monday, January 7, 2008

You'll know me by the gigantic bald spots

No matter how much I'm normally able to serenely endure the vicissitudes of my toddler's mercurial behavior, patiently chanting the mantra "Like a kidney stone, this too shall pass," every once in a while a phase comes along that totally kicks my ass.

We're in another bad sleep pattern. K will periodically go through phases where she wakes up in the middle of the night and is awake for two hours. I've more or less gotten used to it, and at least this time she usually just hangs out in her room and plays, which much better than crying for two hours or keeping me jumping in and out of bed for two hours starting at 3am. The insomnia isn't really the problem. It's the trauma at bedtime that seems to have come with it. She doesn't want us to leave the room after we're done with the bedtime routine, or I should say she doesn't want me to leave the room since she's also in a "all Mama, all the time" phase. If I stay to cuddle her, she wiggles and flops and doesn't fall asleep, but if I harden my heart and leave her, she cries pathetically and I can't stand to listen to it. When she was a baby, she needed to cry to release enough tension to fall asleep, so I didn't have a problem leaving her to cry. It was a very distinctive, pathetic tired wail that meant "I want to be asleep! Why aren't I asleep? I need sleep!" But this isn't that cry now, and it's more complicated now that she's older. I'm less willing to let her cry now that she's older, when it's more likely there are emotional issues behind it, not just being overstimulated. All I have are questions:

Is she experiencing separation anxiety from the move? Maybe, although she was fine the first two weeks after moved.
Is she afraid of the dark? We've tried leaving a lamp on and it occasionally helps, but not always and after a couple nights when she turned the lamp off, it really makes me doubt that theory.
Is she just manipulating me? Possibly, but I have no idea how to tell.
Is she trying to drive me crazy? Almost certainly.
Is she ramping up for another developmental leap which is completely screwing up her sleep and making her emotionally discombobulated? It seems likely, and there's nothing much I can do about that except hunker down and wait it out. And maybe take up recreational drugs.

That last one is the key, of course (the waiting, not the drugs). She was fine being left to fall asleep on her own two weeks ago, so I'm sure if I wait another week or so, she'll be going to bed just fine and finding some other way to drive me crazy. She's two, after all. It's her job to keep me from getting complacent. I just hate going through the emotional wringer every night when I'm just about to finally get some free time. My patience is very thin by 8pm.

We'll get through this. I'm just not sure how much hair I'll have left by the time it happens.

Om...This too shall pass...Om...This too shall pass...

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