Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Four eyes

Bedtime antics in...our bed.

So. But an hour after I felt all triumphant with our sleep transfer, I shifted in my chaise lounge monster chair a little bit funky...and it bumped the radiator and made a huge hollow BOOM and...

Chenny McCowan was up and at 'em.

Basically re-traumatized her even deeper because wait what? Even with the special set-up, after you promise the noise went away, it finds me?! Not good.

Of course, she now happily sleeps in bed with us -- nothing she ever wanted before, not even for a quick nap. We say it's bedtime and she cheers, snuggles in between us, and is out like a nightlight for 11 hours. And while it's not a living hell or anything (for little moments, when I have more than a square inch to myself, it's even a little cozy)... we've gotta move on from here. Not just because I'm a little uncomfortable while we snooze, but because she's clearly very anxious still. Talking about it (sometimes nonstop, sometimes so we can't even think thoughts) and worrying about it even during the day. Makes cc and me real sad.

My mom and I talked a lot yesterday about how a fear of loud, booming noises (especially in the night) is a primal fear, part of our animal brain going hey! Protect me, yo! Same thing with a fear of dogs or snakes or spiders or heights. You can't really label them irrational because they're just not! We've got it ingrained in us on a cellular level that they might take us down to Chinatown and so...wham bam Harper horror!

So. I'm pulling out all those sleep books and kid books and stuff I haven't looked at in almost a year. And happily accepting any tales from you all on toddler/preschooler fears and how you hopefully conquered them in time for her first night at college.

As Murray says... Peace!


  1. Anonymous7:20 AM

    I am super excited to read peoples comments and to learn more about how you handle this - I am dealing with the same thing. My little guy has never been a good sleeper, but recently we got to a fairly good place (after 2 1/2 years we were only having one-two night wake-ups) and then suddenly new neighbors moved into the apartment next door who stomp like elephants up and down the stairs at all hours. He is terrified someone is coming to "get him". I am stubborn on one hand because I cannot I feel like I can't let down my guard or he will be up a 150 times a night again....but on the other hand I feel terrible about the idea of him in bed scared that someone is coming. HELP!

  2. Oh, poor Harper! But it's so good that she can talk about it with you during the daytime. She's still working through it and knowing that she can communicate with you is probably really reassuring. Especially since the fear is real!

    Have you tried showing her what fireworks look like on the computer? If she can see all those pretty colors too, the noise might be less scary?

    We live in the 'burbs, surounded by retirees and families with HS-aged kids. We soon discovered they LOVE to shoot off fireworks for every holiday and ALL summer long...this has terrified our children! Even to the point where they would explode into tears when an airplane goes overhead.

    Recently, Charlotte's been in our bed every night since NYE. She WAS the easiest child to get to bed and slept through the night...we've entered a phase of being afraid to be alone in her room. Even if she begins there, she's crawling into our bed by 1,2,4AM.

    I gently pick her up, carry her back to her room and snugle her back into her covers with her fav blanket. She almost always resists, so I lay with her for a bit until she's settled and slip out of her room. Usually this works for us...we got a nightlight for Sonja (who has been boycotting sleep since birth). And our sleep issues continue...good luck, mama! You're doing great!

  3. No helpful comments to leave but just wanted to say that I hope Harper is no longer scared very soon. How traumatic :( And exhausting for all.

  4. I'm not sure, but you might want to talk to a child therapist. I had a fright when I was much older (like 5 or 6) and the therapist said to give me what I was asking for in comfort and eventually I would get over it. And I did. Though it required me to be accompanied by someone in EVERY ROOM IN THE HOUSE for a long time. And I was old. Might be worth getting a professional opinion. ugh for you though - so sad :(

  5. Cheri4:32 PM

    Poor Haper! Have you tried a sound machine in her room? Blackout curtains + the wave machine kept our 22 month old out like a light while the entire neighborhood went mad with fireworks displays on New Years. We have one of those adaptive ones that cancel out noise increases.

    I also have this whole routine thing we do EVERY night, beyond the whole bed/bath/books thing. We start with a homeopathic remedy to help with night restlessness (they have them for night terrors, too). Then we sing a song saying night night ("Night night daddy, sleep tight daddy, night night daddy, I'm going off to bed") as we give kisses and leave for his room, Sound of Music style. Draw the black out curtains, spritz lavender water on the pillows to keep the monsters at bay, then we snuggle in together on his bed in the pitch dark, sound machine going, as I recite the "Time for Bed" book. After that it's another night night song and snuggle while he falls blissfully into sleep. I hang out & catch up on my iPhone, then sneak out when he's totally out.

    Sounds like a lot, I know, but it takes all of 10 minutes and has completely eliminated night time problems. He has a routine that he can rely on, and we got our bed back. We went from co-sleeping and nursing down to sleeping through the night instantly with this combo.

    Not sure how you feel about homeopathic sugar pills (I was pretty skeptical myself until it worked on my little guy), but maybe together with a routine it could do the trick. Good luck!

  6. Christie5:57 PM

    Oh Harps! Poor girl! I can't blame her one bit. I do not tolerate loud noises well. I am terrified of balloons. Those suckers can pop at any moment. Gah!!!!

    I wish I had some words of wisdom for you. As you well know, we've dealt with childhood anxiety and fear for years. There is no magic cure (believe me, I've looked!!) Fortunately for H, she's got loving and responsive parents who will help her through. You will find what works best for you and her...(I am trying so hard not to be snarky here and write, "..after years and years of therapy and after spending thousands of dollars on bribes, rewards, special equipment/gear, drugs, and after nearly going insane yourself.") Oops. See what I did there? Seriously, tho, if she needs to snuggle with you for a bit, I say go for it. Maybe a sleepover with her cuzzes will cure her?


  7. One of the first things I remember as a child is my mother telling me to be brave.

  8. One of the first things I remember as a child is my mother telling me to be a doctor.

  9. I am so sorry Harper is going through this. (and the parents, too) I like the idea of showing her some mild fireworks. Maybe those little chickens that move on wheels. Or do they still make those? Or the little parachutes.

  10. I haven't experienced anything like this yet with my little one, but one of the other bloggers I read recently worked through a similar fear/sleep issue with her daughter. I thought the way she approached it was really inventive and nurturing...


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