The Opposite of Sleeping

The Opposite of Sleeping

Molly has been doing pretty well sleeping in the same room as Claire. ¬†Molly is letting Claire get to sleep, and after quietly “reading” leftover magazines (Austin Family, Parent & Child) and catalogs (Oriental Trading Company, Pottery Barn Kids) for a while, Molly gets to sleep eventually too.

But a new round of bedtime madness has come up recently. ¬†This round involves not just being loud and keeping Claire awake, but some rather rude behavior too. ¬†While Claire is trying to get to sleep, Molly has tried everything to keep her awake, including hitting Claire with a magic wand, hitting her with her lovie, stealing Claire’s blankets and stuffed animals, and finally last night, spitting on her. ¬†Yes, spitting. ¬†Sometimes Claire partakes in some silly talk and giggling, but this aggressive stuff pushes her over, and she comes to get us for help. ¬†We think maybe Molly did not initially realize that spitting is not okay, but now she does.

Molly playing at the park.
Molly would rather be doing this.

When things get bad, it’s “guest room city” for Molly. ¬†That phrase usually makes the girls giggle. ¬†So Molly has been moved into the guest room a lot lately to sleep. ¬†Molly takes “all 72 of her magazines”, as I call her stack, and settles down pretty quickly when in there alone. ¬†And Claire falls asleep within a few minutes.

With Kit on vacation, Molly has been able to sleep in late (7:00 or so)¬†for the last couple mornings. ¬†We think this is making her less tired and more aggressive at night. ¬†Molly got up early with Claire like usual today, even a little early at 6:05 for Claire’s before-school handwriting club, and hopefully it’s not guest room city tonight.

Tuesday Night Book Club

Tuesday Night Book Club

Although Claire enjoys snuggling together for a bedtime story, she also likes to mix it up sometimes.  She likes to add an element of pretend drama to story time.

Her latest idea along these lines is Tuesday Night Book Club. ¬†Instead of reading a book in bed together, we pretend it is story time at Austin Public Library. ¬†I sit in a chair and read a story (currently¬†Henry and Beezus¬†by Beverly Cleary) while Claire sits on the floor and listens. ¬†She becomes a girl named Sally who was dropped off at the library for story time. ¬†Actually, Claire calls it “book club” since that sounds more grown up. ¬†I act the part of the story reader and say stuff like, “Thanks for coming out to the book club tonight, kids,” at the beginning and “Looks like your parents are here to pick you up” at the end. ¬†Claire encourages me to ask questions about the book. ¬†For example, “Why does Henry not want Scooter to know that Ribsy picked up all the newspapers on Klickitat Street?” ¬†Then¬†Sally (Claire) raises her hand to answer the question. ¬†Claire uses her official public / school voice while answering the question. “Um, he doesn’t want to lose the paper route while Scooter is on summer vacation. ¬†He want to earn a dollar for his bike fund.” ¬†Claire asks that I put a blanket over my lap to make it more sleepy. ¬†Then the “parents” come for pickup, and it’s off to bed. ¬†It really does put a fresh new twist on bedtime stories.

Bedtime Madness #2

Bedtime Madness #2

Molly's camp site, down the hall in the guest room.
Molly’s camp site, down the hall in the guest room.

The latest tide of bedtime madness had ebbed some in recent weeks. ¬†Molly basically moved, voluntarily, into the guest room, where she set up camp on the floor. ¬†She has blankets and pillows surrounded by books, magazines, and a little sketch pad. ¬†She quietly puts these to use while staying up until about 10:00 or 10:30 every night. ¬†At least Kit and I can get something done around here after 8:30 now. ¬†And Molly may realize she just can’t handle being in the room with Claire at bedtime without causing trouble. ¬†She is just not tired enough to go to sleep at 8:30 or 9:00, even though she gets up at 6:30 every morning. ¬†The two-hour nap at school doesn’t help matters.

Claire missed having Molly in the room the last few weeks and would try to convince her to come back for another try, but Molly has decided she belongs in the guest room for now.  Claire has gotten over being scared and gets to sleep quickly by 8:30 or 9:00.  So basically, Molly is awake up to two hours past her older sister.  There is just no good way to deal with that.

So last night Molly sheepishly said she wanted to try sleeping in the room with Claire again. ¬†We all said “great!” and moved Molly’s stuff back into her bedroom with Claire. ¬†All was quiet for the fist 30 minutes. ¬†Then Molly was in Claire’s bed talking quietly with her. ¬†I was afraid Molly would keep Claire up (as she is like to do), but Claire said she would tell Molly when she wanted to go to sleep. ¬†Seriously, Claire needs her sleep. ¬†I talked to Kit, and we¬†decided to relax and let them be and maybe it would be fine. ¬†I went for a run.

When I got back 30 minutes later, Kit said things had gone badly. ¬†Molly had grabbed all of Claire’s stuffed animals and thrown them across the room. ¬†She had taken Claire’s iPod Shuffle and wouldn’t give it back. ¬†There was crying and screaming. ¬†Molly was back in the guest room with all her stuff. ¬†Claire was deep asleep by herself in her room.

Claire just wants someone to sleep in the room with her, maybe a little chit chat before bed. ¬†Molly just wants to not sleep and, further, to keep Claire awake. ¬†She has actually told us that is her intention. ¬†It’s back to the guest room for Molly tonight, like it or not.

Bedtime Madness

Bedtime Madness

20130813I am going to rant a little bit on this one.  Please bare with me.  This might be interesting to read later.

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!

Aside

Bedtime Delivery

There is a period of about 10 minutes between tucking Molly into bed and then finishing up Claire’s bedtime story and tucking her in too. ¬†During those 10 minutes, Molly almost always does her daily poop. ¬†It’s to the point where I literally now just expect to change Molly’s diaper when dropping Claire off to bed. ¬†Molly has a poop something like 85% of the time. ¬†You can tell for sure as you walk down the hall towards the girls’ room. ¬†The odor is unmistakable. ¬†I wonder how this will play out if/when Molly finally gets out of diapers.

Claire the babysitter

Claire the babysitter

Claire reading to Molly
Claire reading to Molly, in a shot posed by Claire ūüôā

Tonight, Claire volunteered to put Molly to sleep.  Claire was not just talking about reading a book to Molly and tucking her in.  Claire insisted that she would help get Molly completely ready for bed: get her dressed in her night gown, help her brush her teeth, read her a story, etc.  Claire said that way I could go work while she took care of Molly.  (I am always trying to find time to get things done around here, and Claire has picked up on this.)

Molly loved the idea.  Claire and Molly were a good team.  Bedtime went surprisingly well.  It only took a little bit of prodding to keep them on track.  And I actually did get some work done while Claire took care of Molly, which meant I was not up quite as late working.  Thank you, Claire!

The next night, Claire volunteered to put Molly down again. ¬†It was a bath night, which is much trickier. ¬†But Claire insisted. ¬†That night did not go quite as well as the previous night. ¬†After 45 minutes, they were both still in the bath, and Molly was really worked up, jumping, giggling, laughing, etc. ¬†This is pretty normal for bedtime, but it was one notch even more than usual. ¬†Eventually the screams of joy from down the hall got to be too much to take; I was not getting any work done that night. ¬†I¬†had to go in and break it up. ¬†Kit and I split up the kids and got things nearly back on track. ¬†The girls were nearly in a frenzy. ¬†How many times have I said it… bath nights are tricky!

Claire did not volunteer to put Molly to bed the next night.

Video

Bedtime Helper

Last night at bedtime, Molly asked if Claire could give Molly her bath and get her ready for bed. ¬†So we went downstairs and asked Claire, who immediately said yes. ¬†Claire took care of Molly’s entire bedtime routine, including bath, getting dressed in pajamas, brushing teeth, reading a story, and getting tucked into bed. ¬†The only help she needed was a little bit of guidance on shampooing Molly’s hair, which does tend to be dicey at time.

Here is a video of story time. ¬†(It’s chopped in the middle to keep it shorter.)