My daughter left the womb sleep trained. She never pushed her limits. She dozed off whenever the need struck. She napped twice a day and fell asleep at night with little soothing. Even while she was nursing and woke frequently during the night, she was up quickly, did her business, and was back in the crib asleep before my body had a chance to really wake up. Through 23 months of change, growth, and development I have rarely uttered a sleep-deprived word when it came to my daughter. Until now.
That sound sleeper has done a complete 180 degree about-face. When it’s time for her nap, she runs away from me like I’m threatening to make her eat brussel sprouts. When I put her in her crib she screams and cries like her arm is caught in the slats. For a girl who loves her sleep and never gave so much a whimper of protest, this is all so confusing for me.
Not that I am a stranger to terrible sleepers. I myself am no fan of rest and that started when I was a baby. Karma dictated that my son also share my struggles with insomnia. From infancy, he woke up just after five a.m. every morning ready to start his day. And he never wanted that day to end. Getting him to nap was an art. Read a book, sing a song, bounce left and right, turn around three times and do a jig. It was a daily struggle. For the first two years of his life I spent his nap time walking around the city, through the cold winds of winter and the humidity of summer. As long as I kept walking, he kept sleeping. He dropped his nap completely just after his baby sister came along, probably because I could no longer accommodate his extensive napping rituals.
My daughter isn’t wired that way. She’s far more reasonable — just like her father. She played at playtime, ate at mealtime, and rested at nap time Every single day. Until one day she went in the other direction.