After much prayer, conversations with ONE’s pediatrician, her teacher and each other, we have decided that it is time to clean house. ONE is only three afterall, and though she is responsible for some of her actions, we are still responsible for a bulk of them.
First things first, we stripped the house of all Dora’s and Disney’s. I finally put together that the things she’s most scared of, even though she never says anything about it when watching TV, show up in these films. Crocodiles, bears and foxes. We have replaced them with benign Little Einsteins and (the poorly written) Strawberry Shortcakes. So far so good. Then we trimmed down her TV time. We didn’t let her sit in front of the television all day, but she was watching more than she should have. Making sure she has at least one hour between when she turns off the TV and goes to bed. Sadly, this was probably harder on us than her, as we now have to fill that void. Clearly we got a little lazy.
Another big change is how we react to how many times she wakes up at night. We had no idea why this kept happening, but have since realized that she’s having a lot of nightmares. It’s not like she woke up weeping for one of us because something happened in her dreams. Instead she just screamed and demanded that I do things for her. It was like watching one of Cinderella’s stepsisters get trigger happy. The last two nights there were no terrors, but she had 3-5 nightmares each night. It definitely sucks for me, since she freaks out if I’m not the one to come in the room, but it’s easier for me to deal with it, to empathize because I know she’s scared, not just shitty. Hopefully once she’s feeling secure again, this will die down.
I’ve read that night terrors are brought on a lot by stress and are also execerbated by lack of sleep. Check and check. In the span of two weeks she got a little sister, saw her house packed up and got moved to her grandfather’s house. Then she lost a chunk of the attention she was accustomed to and went from 5 days a week at school to 3.
When laid out like this, everything points to the shitty behavior of late. But it’s impossible to connect everything in the middle of the night when woken out of sleep due to a sudden temper tantrum, while at the same time trying to keep her from waking grandpa and uncle,
So, the house is cleaned. Here we go…