As I may have mentioned already, my toddler G has a lot of energy. Bags of it. She is like a tornado, gathering speed as she whips about. She runs everywhere, and is always in a hurry. Busy. That’s the word I’m looking for. She is very busy.
The big advantage of having such a very energetic little girl is that she is a “good sleeper”. Or at least she was.
Last weekend we were at a friend’s house celebrating the 2nd birthday of one of G’s very best chums, L. She got straight in to L’s toys in a frenzy of excitement, she wanted to sample every single one; “There’s no time to lose! Must. Play. With. EVERYTHING!!” she said. Or at least she would have said that if she were capable of constructing sentences with more than three words in them.
The other little girls looked angelic in party dresses and, whilst G was also in a dress, she was about as far from angelic as it is possible to get; sweating profusely, hair plastered to her face, red icing round her mouth and a fistful of cookie (and let's face it, the sugar doesn’t exactly slow her down!).
“She must sleep well?” enquired L’s auntie, pregnant with her first child and looking slightly alarmed by the toddler chaos.
“Oh yes!” I say, “She sleeps very well! 3 hours in the day and 12 hours overnight!”
Ooops. I should have known better! You should never say it! You shouldn’t even think it!
That night G climbed out of her cot. Thud. She landed on the floor. Thump, thump, thump. Her little feet thunder down the corridor. I’m wide awake by the time she reaches our room; “Mummy?!” she calls out.
My husband takes her back to her room and puts her back to bed. Ten minutes later she re-appears. It quickly becomes a game. The moment her Daddy is out the room she clambers out again. She laughs. The game goes on for some time and in the end, my husband opts to sleep the night in G’s room.
The next day we took the side off of her cot. There wasn’t much point keeping it on any longer and we didn’t want to run the risk of her falling as she jumped down.
The trouble is she doesn’t seem to like the new set up. Maybe she is scared, maybe she has reached a development milestone or it’s another round of separation anxiety. Who knows? The result? She doesn’t want to fall asleep alone and when she wakes in the night she needs the reassurance of one of her parents to help her back to sleep. I have to admit that my poor husband is baring the brunt of it. Since I have to get up to feed baby C, he takes responsibility for G. It’s an arrangement that has been working well for him up until now.
Putting G to bed used to be; bath, story, kiss goodnight. This evening it went it something like this:
Bath, story, kiss goodnight. Another story. Another story. A cuddle. A song. Another song. Another song. She pretends to sleep "Tired! Shshshh" she says and closes her eyes. After a moment I actually think she’s asleep, she looks so serene. Then she starts making fake snoring sounds and a cheeky smile spreads across her face. I can’t help but laugh. Then another song. She sleeps. “Plane! Whoooo” as an aeroplane flies overhead. She sleeps. “Doggy! Hello doggy! Woof woof!” as a dog barks in the distance. She sleeps. She wakes. She sleeps. She wakes.
I try to be patient and enjoy this quiet time with my daughter, but it's hard when my tummy is rumbling and I can smell the curry simmering on the stove. I try to escape… she grabs my arm. I wait. I try again and she wraps her arm round my neck. Its more of a head-lock than a cuddle, she has Teddy under the other arm “Welcome to my world” he says.
Oh well. At least baby C is still a “good sleeper”… Bugger.