I cannot believe that an entire month has gone by without a blog post. I spent a little bit of time tonight looking through some old posts. Pictures of Bradley with the sweetest little boy face and it made me so unbelievably happy that I have spent so much time posting pictures and writing on this little blog. Someday I will look back and just laugh, read, and cry about how quickly things have gone by. I don’t want that to change because I am now working part time. I really want to make an effort to blog about our little family happenings, and capture their little childhood moments.
What have I been so busy doing? Well running this sweet little preschool that you can read all about here…
crozetplayschool.com Just click on the link to see what we have been up to! You may not know all of the children, but you will surly recognize a spunky little three year old that is transitioning to her Mommy being her “teacher” a thousand times better than I ever would have imagined!
Or you can see play by play happenings at school on my new Instagram account, search “crozetplayschool” or click on the link…
To say that the weeks are busy is an understatement. Taking care of three little kids. Getting one up and on the bus. Prepping for school, cleaning after school, planning activities, washing paint brushes, cooking dinner, you get it. The week is packed to the brim. And just because I am obsessed I like to get up and run one or two mornings a week at 5:30 or truck the kids to the gym two afternoons a week to make it to my favorite classes. By Friday night I am totally wiped out. Last weekend I went to bed on Saturday night at 8, and slept for 12 hours straight. Wow, life is full, but also fulfilling in a new and wonderful way that I have never imagined.
I am loving my role as teacher and of course as a parent too. I am feeding a passion that had put to the side for so many years. I am re-reading and ordering new books on Child Development, Reggio Emilia, and feeding my brain with the knowledge that slipped away from my years in the public schools. The kids are so great, and enthusiastic about all of the play activities in the classroom. They are bringing new ideas to me weekly, “Mrs. Clare, will you draw me a map on the chalkboard?” “Mrs. Clare, I really like cars and trucks, but I brought a toy cow today, can we play farms?” They get me thinking each and every day how I can make the room more appealing, provide more opportunities for learning through play, and that they are just in preschool, play matters.
Just to make things really exciting, you throw this little lady’s drama and there are days when I feel 100% overwhelmed. The last I posted we had just visited a pediatric sleep specialist through the hospital. We got right to work implementing her sleep plan which included a super late bedtime, waking her in the morning, and shorting her nap duration. The goal was the decrease her time in the crib so that when she did go to bed she was really tired, wouldn’t want to rock and slowly the rocking would decrease and her sleep quality would increase. It has been a month and a lot, LOT has changed for the better. Immediately Grace responded to the new sleep schedule. For the first two weeks she didn’t rock one time. She went right to sleep and I woke her at 7 am with her little blanket perfectly covering her. Immediately we removed the weighted blanket and stopped giving her Melatonin!!!!!!! She didn’t need those things to aid her sleep any longer. The progress was so fast and so quick, Chris and I were astounded. Granted she was tired during the day because her bedtime was so late those first two weeks, but her overall behavior improved greatly. She was calmer, happier, and just a completely different child.
We have hit two hurdles in the road though, and this whole sleep disorder is a learning process for Chris and I too. The first hurdle was she got really sick with a stomach bug. This required Chris and I to go in the middle of the night and change her because her tummy was just a mess. It was so hard to take some backward steps, she was rocking again when her diaper would wake her and sickness just always messes with little ones. We felt like we got back on track once she got well from the illness.
THEN we had a babysitter put her to bed last Friday night when we went to a Halloween party. For any other child, this wouldn’t be such a big deal. Grace is different. She is sensitive to changes, and all of these new sleeping patterns are not fully established. When the sitter put her to bed with her bottle on accident it sent her into a tailspin. She woke us at 4:30 am trying to drink from the bottle, screaming, rocking, and it was so out of control we had to go into the room to calm her. We have learned out lesson. She cannot and will not have any changes in her sleeping environment and routine for a long, long, long time. I don’t want to put a time limit on it, but it may take six months to a year for us to fully resolve these issues and get her new patterns to become her lifelong habits. Friday nights little “episode” lead to three whole nights of a huge rocking fit, crying, and exhaustion. Her behavior on Saturday – Tuesday brought me to my knees. I didn’t have school because of teacher workdays, and Grace was horrible. The screaming, the crying, the rocking, the screaming at night, it was relentless. She is not an easy going child, and this proves that point to a tee. From now on we will be at home. If we do get a sitter for dinner, we will be home in time to put her to bed. If we want to get out of the house only one of us will go, or we will leave after bedtime. It is a small price to pay for her health and happiness. Making this one small sacrifice now will make the the world of difference, and allows us to actually leave the house as a family during the day because she is well rested.
I did learn a lesson through all of this though. It confirmed for me that her crazy “sensory seeking” behavior is completely a sleep related issue and not a whole child issue. If Grace is getting good, solid, restful sleep she is a happy and calm child. She is still two, she is still more sensitive than most, but she is a different child when she isn’t rocking all night. The Occupational Therapist was so pleased with her progress in the past month that Grace has finished with Occupational Therapy through Early Intervention. I really can’t believe it!
Having a just turned two year old with a 9 pm or later bedtime isn’t my ideal schedule. But, in just a short month Chris and I have almost adjusted to this new normal. We give everyone a bath, read books to the big kids with Grace and tuck them in. Then Grace heads downstairs with us for a small snack and some play time or a chance to visit the “preschool” from 8 – 9 pm. It is a Looooong day for her and us, but it is what she needs and what we have to do to keep her rocking under control. I have learned a whole new level of patience and strength through this experience.
Not only have Chris and I noticed such a change in her but family and friends have all commented on her changing personality. She was giggling outside one afternoon and my girlfriend said, “I don’t think I have ever seen her happy.” How many times have we played together? Grace was always fussy, demanding, or crying over something. That afternoon she was playing on the swing set, climbing after ellie, giggling about her “ya-ya.” That is her name for Ellie. My parents have both commented on her differences, and of course the OT and speech therapist think she is completely improving in all areas. Music to my ears!
We haven’t completely made it through the other side of this storm cloud, but I am beginning to see the rainbow. There are clear parameters that need to be followed for this little lady to have success with her new schedule. I know things won’t always be this rigid, but for now we are following her lead until the storm has completely cleared.