one of my many mistakes

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My daughter has a very hard time calming down and going to sleep.  She tries.  She closes her eyes and gets this look of total concentration on her face as she tries to create her perfect sleep environment.  She’s been doing it since she was an infant.

It started with the pacifier.  As much as she wanted it in her mouth, she was never able to keep it in there.  I’d put the paci in, she’d close her eyes and suck, the thing would pop right out, she’d scream, I’d replace it.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat…

Eventually, I’d just sort of rest the rubber side against her lips and she’d make kind of a kissy face and suck that way until she fell asleep.  The paci would eventually fall away, but she was already asleep and didn’t notice.  She just kept sucking at the air.  Suck, suck, suck, just like a little fish.

Now, seven months later, she is able to keep the pacifier in, but she never really became all that reliant on it the way her brother did.  He’ll sleep with it in his mouth but she scooches up to whatever is closest to her – usually the crib rails or bumper screen – and suck.  If all else fails, she just puts her palm in front of her mouth and fishy kisses that until she falls asleep.

Lately, she’s had an awful time falling asleep on her own.  She’s been teething and pretty much got teeth 3 through 7 all within the last month.  I’m sure it can’t be pleasant having that many teeth coming in all at once, so I’ve tried to help her out with the sleeping thing as much as I can.  I think I’ve created a monster though…

Because I couldn’t stand her screaming her head off indefinitely, and also because it was starting to wake up her twin brother with whom she shares a room, I started taking her out of her crib when she screams and rocking her until she falls asleep.  She’s been doing her fishy kisses on my chin or neck.  It’s the sweetest little thing, and I admit, it’s been my favorite part of the day.

Unfortunately, since I started doing this, she’s gotten quite used to screaming until I pick her up and getting rocked to sleep.  Now she won’t fall asleep on her own no matter how long I let her cry.  She just gets more upset, screams louder and louder, and really, how long can I leave her screaming in there?  Gahhh!!  Now I have to put an end to the rocking and I have no idea how to do it.  If I let her scream, it will wake up her sleeping twin.  But if I rock her to sleep, who knows when she’ll be able to go to sleep on her own – I may be rocking her to sleep until she leaves for college…

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