After three years of Claire and Molly sleeping peacefully in the same room together, things have finally broken down.
Until about three weeks ago, Molly would sometimes get a little crazy while getting ready for bed, but once she was in bed she would sit and look at books until she fell asleep. It might take an hour or more of reading books, but she would completely leave Claire alone and get herself to sleep eventually.
Now Molly is a complete maniac once it is time to go to sleep. She finds anything possible to mess with. She peels the paper off of all the crayons she can find. Once she drew on the bed sheets with crayons. She has bitten the erasers off of all the pencils. No more writing implements in the room anymore! Molly wanders the room. She chews on stuffed animals. She walked over to our room tonight with a framed picture from her room completely dismantled. When we were on vacation in Anacortes, Washington last week (todo: link once blogged), Molly had the empty back hotel bedroom to herself while we hung out in the living room. We could hear Molly flipping through the hotel Bible for 45 minutes before she went to sleep. (We ought to try that at home, I guess.)
But Molly’s very favorite thing in the world to mess with is her big sister Claire. She tries to make Claire giggle. She tries to make Claire mad. Anything to get a reaction out of Claire. Claire usually ignores Molly at first, but Molly wears her down and pulls her in. Before long, Molly (and maybe Claire) is giggling loudly, yelling, stomping around. You can hear it downstairs and on the other end of the house. It does not stop until you move Molly out of the room and into the guest room. Just going in and telling them to it out has no effect; Molly’s primitive thrill-seeking “rat brain” has completely taken over. She says, I think accurately, that she just can’t stop doing messing around.
Is something bothering Molly? We just don’t know. Molly says she just doesn’t want to sleep, and bedtime is for playing. She says she doesn’t want to leave Claire alone; she wants to keep her awake. Sometimes when we finally move Molly to the guest room, Molly says she wanted to move in there anyways. You just can’t tell what is going on in that three-year-old head.
This goes on from about 8:00 pm to 9:30 or 10:30. We wanted to give the girls time to work it out and get to sleep together, but after weeks of this, they have not worked it out. You would think they would just get so tired they would fall right asleep, but they do not. Molly makes up for lost sleep with a nice hard two-hour nap each afternoon at school. Claire is tired but can’t get to sleep because she is all wired up by Molly. Now we are moving Molly immediately to the guest room for a few days, and it may turn into a few months (we’ll see). Not sure what we’ll do with the guests. :-O
Once we move Molly over, Claire falls back to her old issue of getting scared while being alone in the dark and still can’t get to sleep. Fortunately, Claire is seven years old and actually wants to work with us. She is slowly working on falling to sleep alone. Claire gets to sleep after an hour of two of being terrified, with occasional checks by us, but she sure toughs it out, the good ol’ sport. Claire says she knows everything is okay, and she should not be scared, but she just feels scared. She is just stuck there in bed scared but not wanting to bother us, because we have told her we are getting strung out, the poor thing.
Yes, Kit and I are going crazy. We have effectively lost our crucial 8:30 to 10:30 pm window of time for work, exercise, mail, etc. If you’r dealing with a kid down the hall yelling or crying or scared every few minutes, you are not really getting anything else done. Now days, everything has to be done before bedtime at 7:30 or so or else it just might not get done at all. By 10:30, we’re so strung out from all the commotion or just too sleepy to be effective. This schedule in particular does not work well with leaving work at 4:30 on the summer camp schedule, such as this week, and not getting back to it until late at night.
Okay, enough ranting. I just hope that soon we have (1) enough sleep for Claire once second grade starts in a couple weeks, and (2) a functioning guest room available to guests. Well, at least I knocked out this blog while the girls were going to sleep tonight!