I haven’t actually read the Go the Fuck to Sleep book everyone keeps linking to, just the parts people quote, but it’s sort of on my mind.
Also on my mind is that we close on the refinance of our current house (“the little house,” in terms we use with Mara) Tuesday and then at least three days after that but I hope not much more will be able to close on the Piano House and I’ll stop being so nervous all the time. I don’t quite trust that everything will work, but the hardest parts are behind us and I’m so excited about the opportunities ahead of us.
So sometime next month, Mara will start sleeping in her new room in the new house. We’ve worked on getting her comfortable so that she knows her way around and can even give tours to people explaining what each room will be used for, but she’ll be a little farther from our bedroom than she is right now. Since she’s gotten through the whole week dry at night, I think we’re on the right path there, but she still wakes in the night and either calls for me or comes to get comfort on a fairly regular basis.
We’re a little uncertain about how we’ll make all that work when there’s a longer hallway between the two rooms. It’ll be our room, playroom/guest bedroom, small bathroom, then Mara’s bedroom at the back of the house. Lee started worrying yesterday that maybe we should bring Mara’s bed into the playroom, which would defeat the purpose of a having a playroom and also of creating a buffer of sorts between adult sleep space and kiddo sleep space. I think we’ve come to the agreement that we’ll keep a light with a timer on the landing on the stairs, about halfway down the hallway, to make sure that visibility is okay if Mara does end up getting up in the night. And of course we’ll expect plenty of regression in general but specifically in the sleep arena as we go through the move.
The bigger sleep issue has to do with timing, though. I’ve been getting Mara up at 6:30 every morning and getting her washed, dressed, fed, and ready to go. I then zip off to work whenever I need to while Lee, who’s sluggish in the mornings, works through her own morning routine and then takes Mara with her to school. Now Lee is off for the summer and Mara’s school time won’t start until 9:00 in the morning. Lee would prefer to let Mara sleep until 7:30 or 8:00, meaning I’ll already be gone and unable to help out with anything, which puts extra burden on Lee. (On the other hand, she then gets to stay home all day, which offsets some of that burden! I’ll be working.)
The problem with a later start time is that Mara’s not going to want to go to bed at 8:30 if she’s going to be sleeping until 8:00 am and then having something like a two-hour nap at school. She’s much prefer to stay up until about 10:30, though 8:30 wasn’t generally her preference even when she was getting up earlier and involved a certain amount of pushing for us.
As an aside, we’re still leaving bedtime more Mara-driven than most parents of three-year-olds probably would. Sleep clearly brings up a lot of stress from her past and it seems clear she was getting bad sleep while with her prior foster family, so we wanted to make sure we focused on making sure she felt safe enough to sleep well rather than pushing her to sleep in a way that would be more convenient for us but would leave her nervous and pulling her hair and having nightmares and whatnot. So she falls asleep in our arms, which isn’t something you can push quite as much as a child falling asleep in bed alone at a given time. I felt reassured that taking sleep stuff slowly was on Deborah Gray’s list of attachment tips for the first year of placement and do think we’re mostly on the right track.
That said, bedtime is a fair amount of work for us moms, especially if we insist she start at a semi-regular time that’s earlier than she’d prefer. If Mara’s going to be going to bed later and getting up later, she starts to crowd the time that I want to be able to go to bed myself so I’m ready to wake up at 6:00 or so and get myself to work. This means that either I’m staying up late and being grumpy and impatient as a result or Lee gets stuck with both night and morning duty, which doesn’t exactly seem fair. I can sweeten that deal by taking weekends and letting her go out, since she has more social needs than I do, but I’m not sure what that will do to her summer.
Things will change when we move, I’m sure, and we’ll adapt to work with that, but I’m thinking a lot about sleep and how to make sure we can all get plenty of it. I know I’m going to need it, and that much as she may fight it sometimes, Mara needs it too. Suggestions, friends who’ve managed all of this before?