Wednesday, June 19, 2013

To Sleep - Perchance to .... Nightmares

Sleep - we were strangers for about eighteen months.  The girls were adopted at 28 months and they came to us with sleep issues.  Both girls fought sleep with every fiber of their being while in China.  They were going through a lot of changes so it is hardly surprising that they didn't want to sleep.  Naps didn't happen and going to bed was a two to three hour ordeal.  Roni had a self comforting routine that broke my heart - she would hold one arm stiff out above her head and rock back and forth violently.  While she was rocking Rose was crying as if her heart would break.  During the day our traveling group families saw two cute little girls, they didn't see at night when the fear and anger came out.

We got home and transitioned the time change pretty easily, but sleep did not improve.  We had elected to use toddler beds so both girls would simply get up and walk away from their beds.  Nap time was a battle - the only way they would sleep was to be rocked, but if I tried to move them to the bed they would wake.  Getting them to sleep still took up to three hours and neither child slept through the night.  Rose had night terrors.  I slept on a futon outside their bedroom and a night didn't go by that one or the other or both wound up sleeping with me.  

After six months the visits to the futon were less often and I moved back to my bed and they started coming into our room at night to sleep.  Our bedtime routine was still awful and putting them to bed still took forever.  It got to where Roni was staying in her bed most nights, but Rose was still showing up almost every night.  I was wearing down - for eighteen months I had not had a full nights sleep.  Then one day I mentioned to our pediatrician the sleep issue and she talked to them - that very night they slept in their own rooms.  Since that time they have been sleeping in their bed (they now share a queen size bed) and with a strict bedtime routine, teeth, potty, books and sleep our bedtime routine is now around 1/2 hour.  

But every once in a while Rose still has nightmares.  We have started to be more vigilant in the movies she watches, but there doesn't seem to be a common theme to what scares her.  Last night was one of those nights and it appears that Monsters Inc. is what scared her, but she has seen it before - so I am not sure.  When she has her nightmares she cannot go back to sleep in her bed - she is just too scared so she gets to come to the big bed with mommy and daddy.  


  1. Wishing you all good sleep! I know how hard it can be on everyone.

    One of our girls has nightmares off and on. We went through a period (almost a year) where they were gone but suddenly they're back (our fault, movies that were too frightening I think). We have "scary spray" by her bed (I made it -- shhhh - and she sprays it all around her bed every night) and we do a little bedtime chant "Bad dreams bad dreams go away, good dreams good dreams here to stay." I tap her forehead each time I say "dreams" and make a motion to throw the bad ones out the door on "go away," and draw a smile on her face for "here to stay" and seal it with a kiss.

    Silly stuff, I know, but she loves it, it works for her and she's not scared to go to sleep.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. Rose is sleeping better - we've been keeping her real active and it seems to help.

      I like the idea of the spray and the routine. We are pretty sure the types of movies we've been letting her see are causing the problem as well. It's funny how the same film doesn't seem to phase Roni.