Oh daylight savings! You murderer of sleep schedules and carefully orchestrated sleep routines! I used to love you. I, like many others, rejoiced at the lengthening of the days and the return of the sun. Now, I shake my fist and curse.
Finn's room over time, has evolved to be the perfect sleep environment. It is a hand-crafted cave, complete with blackout shades followed by blackout curtains so that nary a beam of light can been seen. To add to the womb like environment, we have added white noise, and try to keep it at a perfect temperature. We have tried anything and everything to encourage and promote sleep. Our endeavor has been only partially successful.
I was really hoping to avoid such extreme measures with Enna. I dreamed of having one of those kids whose pictures I see peppering the feeds of Facebook--the ones who nod off and face-plant in their dinner. Or perhaps fall asleep trying to take off their shoes. That would be cute. And such a change of pace. Ultimately, I would settle for a child who could fall asleep in a normal, dim, familiar room. That would be cool, too.
I started noticing a troubling tendency with Enna months back, when she was sleeping in our room. She wouldn't fall asleep until the room was sufficiently dark (meaning almost completely black). The shortening of the days in addition to switching rooms and adding some blackout shades made this a moot issue. Now with the extra hour of light that will only increase as the year progresses, this proclivity has again reared its ugly head. It turns out the exhausted, tired Enna won't fall asleep unless her room is crypt-dark. The blackout shades are not 100% effective in banishing all light. Little slivers of sun sneak their way through the crevices. It doesn't help that her room gets all the afternoon and evening light. If the last two nights are any indication, it looks like we will have to double up on the light banishing features in her room as we did in Finn's.
Enna is actually my "good" sleeper. If given a completely black room, she will put herself to sleep, happily cooing to herself as she rolls around in her pack-n-play. This is completely awesome and new territory for me. Like I said however, this only happens if the room is completely black. Otherwise we just want to see mommy and play. She also *only* wakes up 2-3 times to nurse/night. Probably due to some protective defense mechanism or lack of sleep that interfered with memory capture, I have forgotten how often Finn woke up at this age, but it was more.
I feel, as a parent, that I have been very reactive. I proceed in a normal fashion until I recognize a change is necessary. My child obviously is tired but can't fall asleep due to insufficient darkness? I try to accommodate that need. Not because I want to (obviously doing nothing is preferable), but because that is what is necessary for my child's health and my sanity. That is why I get rather incensed when I perceive criticism. For example, I was at church and a woman with a newborn a few months younger than Enna gave me an invitation for an activity, an activity that was held at 6:30 or 7. The time automatically precluded me from attending as it was Enna's bedtime. I mentioned that fact to the woman, apologizing for my decline of the invite. "Can't you just bring her with you?" she asked. I said no, and explained that Enna only fell asleep in her room. She replied, "I know that every child is different, but [why must there always be a but?] we just haul our children around with us, and they learn to fall asleep anywhere." Change the specific details, and I think I have heard this parenting gem hundreds of times. I always want to say to them, "I am really glad that has worked out for you and that your children are so obliging" and perhaps follow that with a punch to the face. Because seriously people, do you think that I want to be so dictated by my children's schedule?
My children. I love them, but they will never be considered low-maintenance. *Off to search for acceptable blackout curtains so that I can have my evenings back.*