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What A Difference A Nap Makes

I think I’ve mentioned once or
twice, ahem, that Cora is not the best sleeper in the world. For
the past several months I’ve been cautiously optimistic at
night; she’ll sleep straight through the night five or six
nights out of the week, which is a distinct improvement over what
it used to be, and I was beginning to feel a tiny bit human with
seven uninterrupted hours at a stretch.

Then we hit Christmas vacation, and for whatever reason
Cora’s been getting up EVERY NIGHT. She wakes at least once a
night, crying and screaming, and it will escalate steadily until I
run in there. I’m thinking it’s nightmares so I grit my
teeth, but I gotta tell ya, it’s rough. A couple nights she
was awake a solid two hours at a time, and the only thing saving my
sanity was a husband who was also on vacation and could thus give
me some relief.

Add to that the fact that Cora napped once
out of the past, oh, twenty or so days, and sleep is a touchy
subject around here. Cora does take a quiet time if she
doesn’t nap, but she’ll stay on her bed and play with
her toys, singing songs – loudly – the entire time
until her quiet time is over, so by the end of the day she’s
exhausted and crabby and so am I. I didn’t feel it too much
while on vacation because I was napping during her “quiet
time” and Brian would share the nighttime load, but now that
we’re back into our regular schedule it’s pretty rough.

Monday night was particularly bad – Cora started waking
crying around 11 p.m. and didn’t really go to sleep until 3
or 3:30. Then they both got up at 7 a.m. and were crabby and peeved
the entire morning.

And then naptime rolled around. And they slept.

Yes, for the first time in TOO LONG, Cora conked out and slept
until Brian woke her up at 6 p.m. I did not get to witness this
miracle firsthand because I ran off to teach as soon as they were
down, but I hear both girls slept well and long, and on a
completely unrelated topic both girls had a fabulous evening with
little to no disobedience. When I came home and ran up the stairs
just in time for bedtime, Cora didn’t throw herself at me,
sobbing, but simply smiled happily and sang out,

I spent twenty minutes getting Cora ready for bed, and she sang and
smiled and laughed the whole time. I simply forgot how
fundamentally joyous she is, because she’s been so tired the
past few weeks, and as I watched her last night I thought, geez, I
miss my girl. And boy, I hope she sleeps well tonight. Seeing her
so happy and feeling good just made my day.

How can I help her sleep better again? I have no idea. She’s
too old to Ferberize – leaving her alone at night to cry it
out will simply make her wonder why Mommy doesn’t come in
when she’s clearly asking for me. And if she’s crying
because of a nightmare I can’t leave her to deal with that by
herself. And it’s not as if she’s not given the
opportunity to nap – she spends over an hour every afternoon
in her room, quiet and dark, so at least she’s getting
“down” time. We’re not a family that eats a lot
of sugar, so I’m stumped. But I gotta figure out something.

I’ll do anything to get that smiling girl back on a daily


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