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Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Great Sleep Saga

When we visited family in Oregon this past summer, Sarah decided it was time to learn how to climb out of her Pack 'n Play portable crib one night. That put an end to her falling asleep in a crib unless she nursed to sleep. We returned home three weeks later and tried to put her to sleep in her own crib, and she promptly climbed/fell out of it, left the room, and came out into the hall.

The next day, we transformed the crib into a toddler bed with a partial side rail. She didn't know what to do with that, and she thrashed around in her room for a while until she finally fell asleep. We sat and talked to her through the door while she struggled to go down for almost an hour before falling asleep on the floor inside her bedroom door - for 10-12 hours until morning! That was hard for her parents too.

After a night or two of sleeping on the floor, she finally decided the bed was a fun option after Mom made her a pillow of her very own-a "soft" as she called it. Victory!

That lasted for a week or so, and then she refused to go to sleep in her bed at all for a long time. Months.

 First night in the Winnie the Pooh chair. The first few times, we went in and moved her to her bed after a little while. Soon, she got wise to that and started waking up as soon as we walked in the room, so we just left her there.
 Next many nights involved jumping, cartwheels, and non-sleeping.
She tried the rocking chair for a while.

For some reason, she liked to pile all of the books in the chair, read from some of them, then fall asleep amidst the books. Absorption of knowledge?
 More reconnaissance pictures from the IR camera.
More Pooh chair/floor.
 More not sleeping in her bed.
Pooh chair. For most of a couple of months, the Pooh chair was the preferred docking station.

How can someone sleep for 10-12 hours straight in that position?!

The Pooh chair was occupied, so the floor was apparently still a viable option.
And another try at the rocking chair. Definitely more comfortable than the Pooh chair, but not Sarah's preferred choice most of the time.

Falling asleep in her stroller all bundled up still works most of the time with Sarah. Then we park the stroller in the front entry and let her sleep until whenever.

One night we found her partially in the bed, and we rejoiced. Then she went back to sleeping in her Pooh chair for a week or two. But then she started to gradually accept her bed again.
 For a nap.
 Then for whole nights.

Instead of piling the books into her chairs, she began to pile them into her bed and play/read until her war with sleep overcame her and she fell asleep in her book/blanket nest.

She's somewhere in that nest. We saw it move a couple of times.
Mommy keeps saying it's Daddy's fault, because he has sleep issues. And he can and does fall asleep anywhere, anytime. This is what Emily woke up to one morning recently.

Sarah still has naptime issues, frequently finding everything to do except nap (even though she's exceptionally tired) - cry, jump on the bed, read books, talk non-stop at the video camera, arrange objects in her room on the chairs or bed or floor, explore other bed options that aren't practical.....

The other day, Sarah fell asleep watching a Disney movie. First time falling asleep not nursing, in a carseat, or in hers or Mommy's room. This was a day she had also refused to nap. In the battle between humans and sleep, sleep will inevitably win. Most of us humans choose not to battle sleep, as it's such a crucial ally.


In case you thought the battle was over, it isn't. Sometimes Sarah still decides it's time to be awake for the day - at midnight, at 2 a.m., or 4:30 a.m. We changed her lever door handle out for a round, harder-to-turn knob so she wouldn't escape in the middle of the night and wander around the house or fall down the stairs in the dark.  She has learned to knock.

Sunday two hours prior to sunrise has been her favorite lately. 4:30 happens, Sarah knocks on the door and says, "Mommy's comin'," and out of bed we (usually Mommy) come to try to put her back to sleep. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes she ends up in our bed, and then Mommy doesn't get productive sleep for the next couple of hours while Sarah settles down and finally drifts off.
But she wakes up happy.
And she turns on both bedside lamps to signal that we aren't allowed to sleep anymore. Then she fishes around in the dresser and finds clothes for the parents. Finally, she literally pulls Mommy and Daddy out of bed.

Playing "Nap"

Sarah's favorite game for the last several months has been "nap". No, that does not mean that she loves to go up to her room and take lengthy naps. It involves making one of her parents lay down on the floor and then covering them with every blanket, burp cloth, pillow, stuffed animal, and pretty much anything else she can find. It can be very dangerous to lay down on the floor  around here.
 This incident happened one day when Kelson laid down in front of the fire to take a nap. She was kind enough to cover his head with a chair before tossing on all of the books. She was quite proud of herself.
 Fortunately, she has stopped (for the most part) adding books and random painful toys to her nap piles. Now it is mostly blankets, dolls, and animals.
 If you try to sit up or open your eyes while she is busy tucking you in, she pushes you back down and says "go sleep!"
 Kelson actually went to sleep that way for his Sunday afternoon nap.
 Sometimes Sarah crawls in for a snuggle after she finishes tucking Daddy in. The basic lesson you should learn from this post is that Kelson sleeps in a lot of weird places.
 The pillow pet was a great addition to Sarah's stuffed animal collection. It makes the perfect pillow for the "nap" game. 
 Sometimes Sarah wants to be the one tucked in instead. She insisted on the blanket covering her face. Don't worry, she was supervised. No smothering.
 I think they were actually reading a book in there.
 I usually come in to the playroom to find something like this when Kelson is playing with Sarah while I make dinner. Sarah having stuffed herself into a crate or her doll crib and covered with every blanket.

Sarah Outside Adventures

If Sarah could have things her way, she would stay inside and play with her menagerie of toys 95% of the time. On 5% of occasions, however, she volunteers to go outside for the following three activities: "go park," "go walk," and, less commonly, to "play backyard." Sometimes we just have to force her to spend some time outside and learn to love it.

We spent a lot of time in the backyard during the spring, summer, and fall cultivating our garden. Sarah likes gardens too. And she likes digging dirt, but she doesn't like her hands to be dirty.
Sarah found a shield bug on her hand in the backyard one day, and she didn't know what to do. Then it hopped onto her boot, so she took her boots off and carefully observed its wanderings over the course of 30+ minutes. Truly fascinating.
 She finally settled into her kiddie pool to lay down in the shade and continue observing it.
(Shield bugs are a garden scourge, by the way. This one probably died of "natural causes" out of sight of Sarah when she was done observing it.)

When it was warmer outside, she played in her little plastic fort. She often insisted that the fort have a hat and that Daddy squeeze inside of it.

The park is right across the street from our house. Sarah has learned to look both ways before crossing the street. Then she proclaims, "No cars!"
 In season, the geese inhabit the park. Sarah likes geese. She knows the singular (goose) and the plural now. And she enjoys the elephant jacket that Judy made for her. It's fluffy and warm.
 After the snow this past week, Daddy took Sarah to the pond to walk onto the ice.
Then she took some time to splash around in the muddy, icy water on the path. Her clothes weren't dirty enough, so she sat down in it before she began to cry because her hands got dirty.

Sarah also likes to get the mail. She can't go out in public in just anything, though.


Sarah also comes outside to help when Mommy and Daddy are working on furniture projects.

 She claimed this cabinet as her house and played peek-a-boo in it for a while.
 Then Sarah and Daddy relaxed in the street and looked at clouds while Mommy did all of the work.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Chapel Cleaning with Sarah

Every two or three months, we are assigned to clean the church building with another family.

This time we brought Sarah along to help.

 She helped clean the chapel...

And the halls...

And the stage.

She's a real standard-bearer and dedicated citizen of Virginia.

"Sic semper tyrranis."