Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sleeping....isn't so easy with kids.

One of the hardest parts of having a gifted child, is their inability to sleep.  It was so super surprising to both Flavio and me when Lia turned about 20 months and started NOT sleeping.  As a baby, she sleep a ton!  She would go to sleep around 8:00pm, wake up around 9:00am (unless she was teething or sick) and then take two naps during the day.  She was our sleeper.  And it was great!

Then one night, she wasn't able to go to sleep, needless to say, neither did we.  I was just pregnant with our second IVF baby and I was tired, sick and moody.  This was the last thing I expected.  From then on, Lia woke us up almost every night around 2 or 3 am screaming.  We would go in and she would be fine, but as soon as we would leave, it would happen again and again.  So we tried to ignore her.  She would scream and scream.  We would give in and she would stop.  We knew that she wasn't having night terrors, because she was awake.  She had a nightlight, she was fed, she had her nighttime music.  We were out of ideas.  

Both Flavio and I were exhausted.

The lack of sleep was getting to Lia as well.  She became super ornery   Throwing epic tantrums, kicking, biting, screaming, throwing herself down on the floor and against the wall.  The simplest things, set her off.  Every morning we would wait and see who we were getting, was it sweet, kind, Lia today?  Or was is going to be the mean, tantrum throwing little monster, Lia?  Everyday was anyone's guess.

So many things went through my head...was she bi-polar, did her birth-mother really do drugs or drink?  Was I not giving her the attention she needed?  Was I treating her different because she was adopted?  I became depressed and weighed down.  I questioned everything, including my ability to be her mom.  I hit a low point.  Eva was born and the stress of a new baby didn't help.  We were now dealing with two little non-sleepers.  And it was getting to us.  Between the sweet little cries of our newborn and the blood curdling screams of our two year old...I was at my wit's end.  I could not do this anymore.  I was done.  Flavio was now totally in charge of Lia when she woke up....

This pattern lasted until we met with our play-therapist a year and a half later.  Things have quieted down, we are able to sleep through most nights now with a rare upset from Lia or Eva.  But Lia still struggles the most with sleep.  We now know that part of being gifted includes, not being able to sleep well.  Her little brain just has a hard time turning off and she will do everything she can to stay up...getting away is very hard as most people can't deal with her at night.  Luckily for us, we have an angel of a friend, who says she LOVES to watch all of our kids overnight...and so we let her.  We are truly blessed to have her in our lives as getting away would literally be impossible.  Thank you, Emily.

In the end, we now know why she doesn't sleep well.  So when I have nights, like last night, I can be a little more patient with her when she literally talks to herself, gets in and out of bed, tries to wake up her sister and kicks her wall for 3 or 4 hours before going to bed.  I will just have to get used to her sleeping habits and pray that one day she will be able to handle it all on her own.

What are some ways you have dealt with your non-sleepers?


  1. My boy isn't as extreme, but it is easier now that he is older and can take care of himself without waking the rest of us. I'm torn between letting him play his Nintendo or not-- does he wake up because he is excited to play, or does he wake up and it's nice for him to have something to pass the hours? I go between both opinions.

    1. It is good to know that getting older might help :) I understand not knowing what to do...I hate the fights and grief it causes, so sometimes it is just easier to let her be. Thanks for sharing! Congrats on your new sweet baby girl!

  2. Oh my, how frustrating! Glad things have calmed down a bit!