Yesterday started out with a horrible headache another hour of lost sleep. Ella woke up at 1 am whimpering and again it evolved into a tumultuous earth shattering cry. I nearly damned my life until I heard about the 20th Anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison on NPR. It was time for a reality check. “I cannot deal with my 13 month old and my role as nurturer and mom. Do I really need to be this miserable?” Granted, my feelings are justified, but I needed to revaluate my feelings and find a solution. So, I turned to Tracy Hogg's,Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers. She was just sitting on my shelf. While I did not have serious sleep issues with my first daughter the chapter on Time Busters/ Chronic Sleep Problems went unscathed. I sat in the rocker and opened it up.
While Ella is not exactly Leanne: A Chronic Sleep Problem (nursing toddler in need of weening) or Cody: “Mommy... Don’t Leave Me!” Ella’s sleep issue was seriously a time buster, aka problems that steal hours from your day. What I took away from this chapter was I needed to use a little more TLC ( Talk, Listen, Clarify):
Ella was trying to tell me something. Still, I am not exactly sure what. I needed to take a step back and really look at my time with her and how I was dealing with her communication with me. More importantly I had to take a long hard look at myself. Ella’s ability to communicate has been growing exponentially, I have been really preoccupied. I have not been communicating with her as much. I have also started teaching on the weekends. For 3 weeks now I go off for 2- 3 hours and have not really explained or prepared her for my departure. That is about how long this whole disaster has been going on. Maybe just a coincidence? hmmmm... I think not.
After spending some quality time with her yesterday and responding to her needs as best as I could, she slept through the night. Today, I started to reassure her that I would be right back using a gentle voice and facial expressions to communicate with her if she even made a whimper sitting in her stroller while I got Marley ready to go outside, she immediately stopped.
When she has been cranky or on the verge of mini tantrum I took a moment to evaluate the situation to see what could have been done differently or could have made for a better outcome. Today it seems so obvious that she needed me to communicate with her more, she needed more attention. I set these expectations by teaching her to sign and talking to her about everything that happens through out the day.
Tomorrow, I am off to teach and I will try talking to her about it and using my body language to reassure her. My diagnosis for the sleepless nights, anxiety or as Papa says “Ella has a serious case of the MOMITIS!” (mom- mi -ties)