Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Needs Sleep

Paula who is my oldest, age 7.5, does not want to sleep in her room. She hasn't for many months. She'll start out in there, most times, then end up on our floor in a sleeping bag. It's gotten to the point where we're irritated and want her to sleep in her own room the entire night. She hasn't done that in months.

Her reasons:
1. She sees shadows - Well of course you do! You have enough night lights to compete with the Vegas strip! No Mommy, not those shadows, other shadows. Paula, if you close your eyes you won't see anything. I know but I'm scared.
2. She hears noises - Honey, the world makes noise. But they scare me. What if a burglar is trying to come in. We live in a safe neighborhood. You're fine. But I'm scared.
3. She's afraid of burglars - Runs down stairs because the dog is barking - Why is Rosie barking? Because she heard a noise (probably the raccoon trying to get into my house). It's fine, go back to sleep. I can't. I'm scared.
4. Worried about the burglar again - Mommy, did you lock ALL the doors? Are you sure? Yes, I'm sure. But I'm still scared.

Really it's never ending. We'll toss her back in her room after explaining all the reasons why she should feel safe but in the end she'll literally start crying A LOT, not just a little. It will be past 10pm by the time we finally decide we too need to go to bed. Her lights are out by 8:30pm if that gives you any idea of how long this goes on. On rare occasions she'll fall asleep, then wake up in the middle of the night and need to come in our room. Sending her back does not work. She cries and is adamant that she can't be in her room.

When she was 3 years old she had a fear of Tigers. Yep, tigers. IN.Her.Room. Todd came up with a brilliant idea (someone maybe helped us on this...I'm not sure). He took a plain spray bottle, printed and taped a friendly cartoon tiger on it and it became the Tiger Spray. Paula could spray her room before bed to prevent tigers from entering. Sometimes the floor and bed got pretty wet. There is no tiger spray that is going to help us out now.

She's a worrier. If someone told to describe Paula in 5 words or less I'd say worrier as one of those top 5. She worries about so much for a child her age. Will it hurt? What will it feel like? What will happen?

She was a complete wreck on her first plane ride to Disneyland at age 5 to the point she was actually throwing up. We were walking through first class and I'm saying "it's not the flu, she's just scared". Yeah, like they believed me. She was almost just as scared as we waited to go on the monorail. Now of course both riding in planes and the monorail are her 2 FAVORITE THINGS EVER. It took her 2 years to agree to go on the Matterhorn because she was scared of what it would feel like. Now it's her FAVORITE THING EVER.

She threw up on a dentist from crying so hard just because he wanted to look in her mouth. Just look. Nothing else. I changed dentists. She goes to mine now who I must say is much better for Paula. Now she likes getting her teeth scraped but for a long time that metal tool was her total enemy because it might hurt. When she sees a little blood on the pad as they're scraping her teeth near her gums we have to lie and say it's not blood because she starts to panic.

Even if she's in our room she doesn't always sleep well. There are some nights she lays awake a long time. Getting her up in the morning is rough on those days.

She'll be the first one to tell you she wants to be able to sleep in her room, she just can't. She doesn't like being different. She recognizes she doesn't like many foods, can't sleep in her room, is afraid of many things. She knows she's different from her sister and other kids at school. We try to boost her ego up and brag on all the things she's great at which sometimes works but not always.

We're at loss. I am going to send a letter to her counselor at school so that they can discuss this topic. Maybe someone else can reach her.

If anyone has any ideas or has experienced this I'd love to hear from you.

1 comment:

Kelli said...

Sandra, I am so sorry to hear about this. I too slept with a nightlite... until I was married! I, too, am a worrier. I do not have children yet so I can't offer advice from that front but I will be thinking and if anything comes to mind I will let you know. Maybe some soothing music playing to ward off the shadows and mask other noises? Maybe a bath laced with lavender and chamomile essential oil? Maybe saying prayers? I hope you get some rest this weekend and please keep us posted on her progress.