The Blue Crib or the White Crib?
Maddy wakes up several times per night. This is nothing new - she's done it since the first day we came to be her family (Aug 2006). She doesn't cry - she mostly just whimpers and whines for a minute or two and then goes back to sleep. It's as if she's grumpy about being awake and has to voice her disapproval before falling back to sleep. Gwen is a really sound sleeper (thankfully!) and manages to sleep right through this.
But, lately, Maddy's grumpy little whines and whimpers have morphed into something much harder to ignore and I often have to go into the nursery and talk to her to quiet her down. Anyone who knows me or follows this blog closely knows how I feel about going back into the nursery after lights-out! For those who don't, let me explain: The problem with doing this is that it feeds on itself and, pretty soon, you're expected to come running for everything or the screams and cries get more and more desperate until you can't tell what's a trivial situation and what's life-or-death.
For example, a few nights ago, Maddy screamed and screamed and screamed because the snap on her PJ's came unsnapped. Before that, she was screaming hysterical bloody murder because her blanket came untucked at the bottom of her crib. Several times, she screamed because she wanted a toy that she angrily evicted from the crib earlier. Or, worst of all, she just screams and screams for no reason at all (so you can't "fix" the problem).
What's Gwen doing while this is going on? She's laying quietly in her crib with her big brown, wide awake, eyes staring up at the ceiling. She never complains. She doesn't say anything until you leave the nursery then her sweet little voice calls out "Nite nite, Mama". This makes me feel sad because that little baby girl likes to sleep.
Out of fairness to Gwen, I've started responding to Maddy's nocturnal scream sessions by removing her from the nursery to spend the remainder of the night in the spare room in the Port-a-Crib (aka "the blue crib") she uses for naps. I feel bad about this because it's a little crib and her full sized crib is beautiful and big and comfy. And, best of all, it's in the pretty nursery that she and Gwen share and I like to think that they enjoy having the company of their sister at night. But Maddy hasn't seemed to mind being exiled and spending the night alone in that tiny crib. And Gwen doesn't seem to mind that Maddy is being exiled!
Last night, after bedtime stories, I asked Maddy if she wanted to sleep in her white crib or her blue crib and, to my amazement, she picked the blue crib! I thought she might have not totally understood the question so I wasn't going to force her to accept her choice but we put her in and she got kisses and was tucked in and zipped in and she went right to sleep. She slept the whole night without so much as a peep and I kept checking the monitor to make sure it was working. She's normally awake by 6:30 AM but, this morning, I actually had to wake her up at 8:00 AM!
At 12:30 PM, she went back into her blue crib and slept for a record-breaking 3 hours! Then, she woke up more cheerful than I've ever seen her! It's 5:30 now and she's still all smiles and is actually letting me sit here at the computer and type this!
I'm happy to let her sleep in her blue crib forever but there's one little problem: She's almost longer than the mattress!
Thanks for all of the comments and suggestions about Maddy's newest sleep preference. I thought I'd post a little update.
Last night, Maddy asked to sleep in the blue crib in the spare room (again). She slept all through the night and woke up cheerful and happy 11 hours later.
Since it's working so well, I'm happy to let her do this for as long as she likes it. There's a twin bed in the spare room (right next to the pack-n-play) but I'm not going to make it an option for her to sleep there because it would introduce a bunch of complications (the room isn't baby-proofed, she can get out of bed, etc). Once I let her sleep there once, she'll insist on doing it all the time. That's my Maddy!
I thought about moving her full sized crib into the spare room but I'd have to disassemble it to move it. Then I'd have to put it back together. I'm hesitant to do this because I don't think it'll be successful and I'll just have to move it back to the nursery. I think she just prefers the pack-n-play. In her mind, she's spent more time there than the white crib since she naps in it every day. It's comfortable and familiar even if it appears to be a tad too cozy and tight!
If she lays diagonally, she can probably stretch out in it for the remainder of this year. That gives me 6 more months to figure out what to do next. Six months of good sleep, I hope!
One more update (June 15th)
Maddy is still doing great in her blue crib! She sleeps right through the night and would probably sleep in if we didn't wake her up at 7:30. I think we have success!