Sleep Study

Ever since the tornadoes that ripped through the Southeast last week, we've been experiencing our own little whirlwind. It generally hits around two a.m. and sounds not like a freight train but a wail nonetheless. Violet is having a bit of sleep regression. And as any parent can tell you, once your child starts sleeping through the night, it is not cool when they stop.

Ah, sweet sleep...

The night of the tornado, we put Violet to sleep upstairs like normal and turned on the tv. The weathermen were in full swing (hey, this is their superbowl) and I was starting to get nervous. Finally, as it looked like things were getting close, I cleaned our our little under-the-stairs closet and retrieved the baby, ready to spring into our shelter at moment's notice.

But the moment never came. So we tried putting Violet to bed in her pack-n-play downstairs in our room. She just stood up and yelled. I laid down with her in our bed. She just rolled around and thought it was time to play. Matt tried holding her in the living room, but she refused to sleep. Finally, a good three hours past her bedtime, I gave up and toted her back upstairs, where she immediately fell asleep in her crib while I lay restless in my bed downstairs with the news on, hoping that if the tornado did barrel through, I'd hear it in time to rush upstairs. (Don't even get me started on the nightmare scenarios I played in my head of what might happen. But the girl just refused to sleep anywhere but upstairs! And our upstairs guest room doesn't have a tv for me to monitor!)

Anyway, the tornado never came our way and all's well that ends well. Except that ever since that night, Violet has been waking up at one a.m., four a.m., other ungodly hours, hollering and carrying on. The first night, she woke up screaming such a blood-curdling cry I sprinted upstairs, convinced I would see a wild animal gnawing on her arm. As soon as I swooped her up, her cries disappeared and she laid her head on my shoulder like all she had been looking for was some company. The next night, with the same screams, I jogged upstairs. The third night, I trudged. I wasn't sure what was going on, but she didn't seem in pain. She just seemed... lonely? Scared? But with each episode lasting anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours, I was at my wit's end.

I consulted everyone. Her daycare teachers. My colleagues. Mothers everywhere. One person laid bets on teething and suggested a dose of pain medicine before bed. Another suggested that Violet was waking up scared of the dark and told us to get a nightlight. A third warned that the little girl was on the verge of developing a habit and hoped we could resist the temptation to rush in a pick her up. This, too, was my biggest fear. But when it's four in the morning and I've been upstairs twice already and I just want to go to sleep, I'll do anything, include indulge my baby in some cuddles.

Sunday night was the worst. From one to three, we were awake, all three of us. In someone's arms, you wouldn't know there was a problem. But the minute Violet felt herself being lowered into her bed, all hell would break loose again. At one point Matt decided that if Violet wanted to be awake, so be it, let's have playtime. That didn't work. At another time, I refused to pick her up and instead wedged my arms through the slats of her bed to try and coax her to lay down. A less than perfect method. It was, in short, a nightmare, and a terrible start to the work week.

So on Monday, we made an evening run to Target for a nightlight. We gave Violet a dose of tylenol, just in case she was having some teething pain. I spent a long time cuddling with her before putting her in bed, using one of her stuffed animals to model getting night-night hugs and kisses, pretending it was getting sleepy, asking Violet to put it in the bed. I sang "Jesus loves me" and prayed for a good night's rest for all of us. She drifted peacefully to sleep...

And woke up at four. Although instead of the violet screaming, she merely stood up and yelled "ah ah ah" over and over until one of us showed up. So maybe the nightlight helped in that regard? But my sleep quota was rapidly diminishing. My colleagues (by the way, hi Katie!) were getting bored with hearing my daily saga recounted in the break room. Things were looking grim.

But last night... last night, my friends, Violet slept the entire night through! I feel as proud as a brand-new mama whose newborn just made it through the night for the first time! Of course, today I was more exhausted than ever (oh irony, thy name is evil) but I hope, hope, this is the nightlight at the end of this tunnel. I promise not to keep you posted, as you're probably as bored as the other first grade teachers by now, but I just had to share.

Brighter days (and nights) ahead? (And completely aside, please note how well Violet's shoes match her outfit.)

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