Monday, May 5, 2008

Light of my life

Life is toddling along at a normal pace now. School holidays are over, so I now have regular activities to occupy my perpetual-motion toddler. Seriously, how is it that she can literally never stop moving? If I jumped around and ran and skipped and hopped and rolled and danced and wobbled and joggled and wriggled and squirmed half as much as Mapera does, I'd be stick-thin!! Maybe that's the secret to losing the baby weight - losing weight the toddler way...hmmm.

She is definitely improving with her behaviour, and I put it down to better sleep. Up til recently Mapera has been waking every night (without fail) at around 2 or 3 am (just when you're getting your high quality REM sleep) and standing at her door shouting for us to let her out. She has a gate on the door after I nearly suffered a nervous breakdown following a full week of getting up 5 or 6 times a night to put Mapera back in her own bed.

We were racking our brains as to how to break this habit with her, and we found an answer one day when she was playing dens. She sleeps in the bottom of a set of bunks, and Daddy hung a sheet all around the top bunk so her bed was completely enclosed. She wanted the den up when she went to bed, so we happily left it in place. The next morning we were awoken to the usual "Mummy! Please you take my gate off?!" but I didn't feel like it was the middle of the night. When I looked at the clock it was 5am! Although this was still to early for me to even consider getting up, it was a marked improvement on the previous wake up time. Fortunately, Mapera went back to bed without much fuss and woke up again at the normal time of 6.30.

So, we had moved the initial wake up to a slightly more civilised hour, but I really want Mapera to learn to stay in her room until it's time to get up, even if she is awake. She was coming in to our bed for a morning snooze, but recently, she's not been going back to sleep, and it's not easy to relax with a 2 1/2 year old poking their fingers into your ears.
She has all her toys and bears and dollies, so she could theoretically play happily in her bed til it was time to get up for breakfast.

Tareka hit upon a plan to put a light on a timer in her room. We got an old bedside lamp, a plug in timer and rigged it up well out of reach. We sat Mapera down and explained to her that the light would come on when it was time to get up. If she woke up and the light was off, she had to stay in her bed, if it was on she could call out to us that it was time to get up.
She was really keen on the whole plan and happily repeated the instructions back to us (especially the bit about getting up and calling "Mummy, the light is on!"). So we crossed our fingers and went to bed.

At ar0und 3am a little voice called out in the darkness "Mummy, the light is on!"


I got up, checked that it wasn't actually on and pointed this out to Mapera, who agreed that it was off and that she should get back into bed.

Then at 7am, just as the news came on the radio alarm in our room, our little voice piped up again "Mummy, the light is on!". Looks like we may have got it after all.

We've now been using the light trick for about a week, and apart from that first night, Mapera has not called us before 7am ONCE!! I'm going to give her another week with the gate on the door and if she's still waiting til the light comes on, I may be able to take it off at last!


littlehouse said...

too funny, but wow.. what a great trick... we may have to try that one....

Sarah said...

You guys are so clever! But the first 3am calling cracked me up.
Hoorah, Mapera! You make Aunty Sarah smile!!!