Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Power of Sleep

It is 7:58 p.m., and Grace has been asleep for about thirty minutes. I can't believe it. This is the same girl that fights tooth and nail to stay up until 8:30 every night.

Tonight started out the same as the past few nights have. I picked Gracie up from day care, and on the way home she was already displaying signs of being overtired and super, super crabby. As soon as we got home, she plopped on the couch and all she wanted to do was sit on my lap and drink some juice. Aaron and I then took Grace to Target (where else?) to buy some new shoes for her and some time during the ten minute drive to Target, Grace fell SOUND asleep. When we got to Target and woke her up, it was clear that Aaron and I had our work cut out for us. Gracie did NOT want to wake up, and she let us know by yelling at us when we tried to help her fasten the safety belt in the shopping cart and sticking her tongue out at us when we told her that she wouldn't get to pick out a treat if she was sassy. Three temper tantrums (and two new pairs of shoes) later, we were heading to grab some subs for supper and eventually we headed home for the night.

I got Gracie ready for bed and she and I settled together on the couch for some snuggle time before bed. I told Gracie that I needed to get her washed up and that I needed to trim her fingernails before bed, and she flipped out, flailing around on the couch and begging me to leave her alone. At this point, I had had enough drama for the evening, and I said, more as a threat than anything, "Do you want to go to bed?" Much to my surprise, she stopped crying and said, "Yes." In total disbelief, I gathered Grace up in my arms, along with her blankie and her sock monkey, and carried her up to bed. Less than ten minutes later, she was fast asleep, and I was left wondering what the hell I was going to do with an extra HOUR of free time tonight.

So, I think that Gracie is just really and truly exhausted. Eliminating her daily nap has taken more of a toll on her than I ever thought it would. Who knew an hour and a half of nap time could do so much? The only time in Grace's life when she has ever gone to bed at 7:30 at night is when she is extremely ill, and since she's not sick at all, I am taking this as a strong signal from my daughter that she needs a schedule adjustment and that her bedtime needs to be moved up. Got it, kiddo, loud and clear.

We'll see how she does tomorrow, but the relief that she displayed tonight when I asked her if she wanted to go to bed was enough for me to be sure that this is what she needs to feel like herself again. Now, what to do with that extra hour at night? "Lost" reruns anyone??


Bert said...

Hooray for Gracie sleeping more and you getting some free time. I hope this fixes it! :)

Carrie said...

Nutmeg has been going to bed at 7:30 since she dropped the nap and I read "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." What difference did it make? We went from having the preschool teachers pull me aside to comment on her behavior, to getting a note from one of the teachers, which still graces our fridge, reading, "You are doing great!"