Recently Rachel's been having a hard time going to bed. There have been lots of tears and lots of screaming for the past few...weeks. It's been pretty much awful but it seems to be getting better.
I don't really have any solutions but I have learned a lot more about Rachel's sleeping habits.
I noticed tonight, while we were rocking and singing songs, that Rachel sucks her index finger. She never used to do that so I think it's probably because I weaned her. Yes, she's fully weaned. Hopefully. The last time I weaned her was in Spain. We went a full week without nursing and then somehow went back to 3 times a day. I'm not sure how that happened. So I had to wean her again. And now she sucks her index finger while she's falling asleep. Who knew?
Rachel takes forever to fall asleep. Sometimes I will peek into her room before going to bed--at midnight--and she'll be sitting up, playing with her dolls. Still. "Hi, mama!" she'll call out to me. She's so crazy. I never knew why she took so long to fall asleep until I was lying down with her one evening. She purposely keeps herself awake by naming body parts on herself and her doll; she watches for cars to drive by and follows the light that pours in through her window ("Oh, dat!" she says); and she listens for and tries to identify every sound she hears ("Dada!" "Pa-pa!" "Door!" "Caa!" "Baby!"). No wonder it takes her so long to fall asleep! If she'd just close her eyes and simmer down for a second she'd be out like a light.
Rachel really likes to sleep on her stomach. With her bum sticking up in the air. I don't sleep on my stomach anymore, but when I was little I always slept on my stomach, with my bum sticking up in the air. For some reason, even though I know Rachel likes to sleep on her stomach, I still put her to sleep on her back. "Back to sleep" is what we're told to do nowadays and I've been putting her on her back to sleep since she came home from the hospital. She always flips over, though. The other night I was lying down with her and she was on her back, trying desperately to fall asleep. She was squirming around trying to get comfortable, rubbing her eyes, and sighing exasperatedly. So I told her she could turn over and fall asleep on her stomach, if she wanted to. She flipped over and fell asleep like 2 minutes later. I thought it was funny that she would even try to get comfortable on her back...why didn't she just turn over right after I put her down? I don't know.
Rachel likes to pull her favorite blanket over her face to sleep sometimes. I don't know if she's just been exchanging notes with her friend Sam or what. I personally can't stand to sleep with covers over my face.
Tonight I put her down and she started to cry and I told her, "You don't have to cry. You can fall asleep without crying. You like sleeping."
Amazingly enough she didn't cry.
I've been using that reasoning with her all day and it's been working. And if it keeps working, I will keep using it.
"You don't have to cry about going potty. Going potty isn't a punishment. You're not in trouble. You just have to go. It's part of being a person."
"Why are you crying, Rachel? Do you need to cry? Are you hurt? Couldn't you just ask me for a snack instead of crying because you're hungry? You know if you ask I can get you the snack sooner than if you're crying and I have to guess what's wrong."
Maybe she just thought that she always has to cry when she goes to bed or goes potty or when she's hungry. I don't know. Maybe one day she'll tell me.