Thursday, March 20, 2014
Last Wednesday, writing about difficulties with my toddler daughter's
remaining asleep at night, I speculated/hoped, "that the problems are due to
her missing Momma and some circadian-rhythm-disrupting combination of me
getting her to sleep earlier and daylight savings time". Too bad for us: the
problems have persisted ever since, including for the two nights since Momma
Van Horn returned. We still entertain some faint hope that the night wakings
will cease after about a week, but they may not, given the nature of the
problem: Our daughter has started having nightmares. We have known for only a
couple of days because it took us that long to ask the question in a way she
could understand/at a good time. (At least she has some idea of what a dream
is!) The hope is that these are triggered by the recent upheaval in her
routine, but that isn't necessarily the case. So we're getting by -- and doing
something like the right thing as far as I can tell at my current level of understanding -- and reading up on
the subject as the opportunity arises.
In the meantime, her monitor, which I take at night, has effectively become the Alarm Clock from Hell. It can go off any time from 1:00 to 6:00 a.m., based on my experience so far. (I typically rise at 3:00 a.m., so anything before this is lost sleep and anything after is lost work.) Luckily, nightmares are most common in the second half of the night, at which point I am usually awake anyway. (This morning was only the second time I have had to wake up early. Most troublesome was another morning, when she woke while I was in the middle of my shower.) The upshot of all of this is that, until this stops (or at least becomes infrequent), she wakes at some random time in the morning, and I have consoling/checking in on her to do for some unpredictable duration, anywhere between ten minutes and two hours. (Or more! As I write this, she is working on breaking the record for not going back to sleep. At least she is not distraught... And, yes, I think there is more than one problem going on, but that may be a post for another day.)
Normally, before the nightmares started, I'd wake, shower, dress, and set up supplies for the upcoming day, and then also monitor the baby boy or bring him downstairs if he was having a bad night. Once that was done, I could blog and do other mental work that would be difficult or impossible to do while watching active children. Now, I have Pumpkin from when she wakes and Mrs. Van Horn keeps the baby. (If he has a really bad night, we might have to swap duties or do shifts.) Although this was not optimal for creative work, it was at least becoming somewhat predictable as Little Man matured and his sleeping and feeding patterns became more regular. Now, it's back to Square One.
Forget about a "maker's schedule": I don't have that luxury. I'd long ago realized that I have to work with what fragments of writing time I can get. That said, I'd far prefer a single, solid hour that I could depend on than what I've had to deal with every day for over a week now: thirty minutes to four hours, starting at random and ending at random (but never past a certain point), and with interruptions and the prospect of more hanging over my head the entire time. I can do different tasks with different amounts (and quality) of time, but optimizing my productivity depends on some element of predictability. I now realize that "predictability" includes having a decent chance that, if today's time is short or broken up, tomorrow's might be longer or in fewer pieces. There are only so many short, relatively mindless tasks one can do. Here's hoping for more predictability soon -- as I get ready to read more about nightmares in toddlers.