Thursday, March 31, 2011

Coping with the Monsters Under the Bed

At our 15 month well-visit, our pediatrician told me that we would probably start to see some fears developing in our daughter over the next few months, and that this is normal for the course of development. It seemed like with just those few words of advice AJ immediately started becoming afraid of the dark.

Of course, it took me nearly a month to figure this out. Mother of the year award, right here. ;)

AJ has always been especially clingy right after we come home from a trip. This is normal. After being with mom and dad 24/7, sharing a bedroom and getting loads of attention from other family members, it's hard for a toddler to adjust back to "real life." Well, a few days after we got back from our Disney trip, AJ started waking up in the night nearly every hour. Cry cry cry, fuss fuss fuss. She was never one to be held and rocked to sleep, and had always soothed herself really. (Literally from two days old, she wouldn't allow me to swaddle her. My slings immediately became useless.) All of a sudden she was demanding we rock her and of course, the minute we lay her back down in her crib fast asleep, she would jolt awake and the process would start all over again.

I didn't think that the darkness could be an issue. I mean, she did have a nightlight in her room. I was pretty convinced that it was teething. We'd been through it plenty of times before... this round just seemed a little more persistant. So I'd give her baby Orajel (which always satisfies her for a minute) and put her back to bed.

Well what really tipped me off was the monster under her bed the other night. I put Mia to bed as usual, and since the days are getting longer there was still a bit of daylight streaking in her window. She settled in, snuggling with her animals, and within two minutes I heard a scream.

"Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!"

I rushed in her room to find our cat, Genevieve, in her crib with her. Great, thanks for scaring the crap out of my kid, Genevieve. Now she'll never go back to sleep. I check under AJ's crib literally every night to make sure that the cat isn't lurking around under there, and for some reason on this night I just assumed she wasn't. As soon as the initial fright wore off, AJ was mad that I took the cat away from her and that they couldn't share the crib. Sorry kiddo.

After that she wouldn't go back to sleep. Could I blame her? A monster had literally jumped out from under the bed and tried to snuggle her in her crib. I resorted to find another, brighter night light and that seemed to do the trick. Thank you, Lord for using my cat as a device to teach me a lesson.

To make matters worse though, last night I forgot to plug in any night light at all, so after the 5 minutes of light that her musical  seahorse gives off, she was alone in the pitch black. Scream! She's only 16 months old, but I'm surprised she hasn't yelled out, "Mommy what is wrong with you!"

To make a long story short, the brighter light was plugged in and the rest of the night went well. Our little girl is afraid of the dark. But now I will always check for monsters under the bed before shutting the door.

3 comments:

  1. the dark fear is a big one. so happy I have moved into a place where it is always slightly lite up, as if by moonlight. Really it is just a light on a pathway; but it helps the kiddos.

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  2. Oh no, poor thing! That would freak me out too! glad you figured it out though and were able to come up with a solution to help her. Bet you are glad those sleepless nights are over!

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  3. Oh, no! That must be hard too, because she's too little to communicate what she wants to make it better. We have to have the night light on and leave the bedroom door open with the kitchen light on--the boys' room is right next to the kitchen.

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