The Sleep

We had it made for a while.  Although the boy didn't sleep through the night until he was about eight months old, the girl surprised us by starting after only three months.  So outside of the occasional illness or random awakening, most nights in our household have been fairly restful for the last couple of years.  Unfortunately as of late, the girl has been acting like a newborn, fussing at bedtime and often waking up a couple of times in the middle of the night.  And I'm pretty sure I have only myself to blame.

It started with an innocent trip to Target.  While walking past the DVD aisle, one happened to catch my eye - Ultraman: Series 1, Volume 1!!  For those of you not familiar with the show, it was produced in Japan in the 60's and featured the superhero Ultraman, who on a weekly basis battled monsters (such as Ragon and Gabora) terrorizing the citizens of Japan.  The show was made a whole decade after the original Godzilla (1954), but the special effects were still just as bad.  Regardless, I watched reruns as a kid and LOVED it.  So upon seeing the $5 DVD thirty-something years later, I had to buy it for the boy.  Although I wasn't sure if he too would love it or alternatively think it was terribly boring and outdated.  It turns out he loves it, as does the girl (ergo the problem).

Since making the video purchase, there has been pretty much non-stop discussion of Ultraman and monsters by both the boy and the girl.  The girl can even sing part of the theme song (as a matter of fact, she heard me testing the link just now and immediately ran over and asked "Is that Ultraman?!").  However, as much fun as the kids have during the day watching the show and pretending to chase and be chased around the house by monsters, at night it's a different story.  At first the girl started whining when being put to bed.  I say "Goodnight, Girl." and she happily responds "Goodnight, Dad. See you in the morning."  And after taking not three steps outside of her room, she begins whimpering.  So after heading back into the room, she says any of the following:
  • "I need a tissue."
  • "I need Bunny." (her favorite doll/blanket thing)
  • "Cover me please." (after kicking off the covers)
  • "Please sit in the chair and sing a song."
  • "Were soy bean futures down today?"
Unfortunately there isn't much I can do against the stall tactics, since I don't want the boy's sleep to be affected if I just let her cry.  So after much negotiating, I usually end up getting a tissue, singing a couple more songs in the chair, placing her back in the crib, covering her up all cozy-like, and checking the commodities exchange on the internet.  Then I try to leave, but after taking not three steps outside of her room, she begins whimpering again.  Sometimes I make it downstairs and then hear her on the monitor.  This goes on for up to an hour before she finally falls asleep (only to wake up at 2:00 a.m. and need to be kept company for 20 minutes before going back to sleep).

I'm certain this is all because of the monsters on the Ultraman show.  The girl is scared.  She points out shadows on the wall, asks about the causes of various noises in the house, and recently requested that her door be left open and the hall light left on.  As much as I resisted, I finally gave in and let her sleep with the door open and the light on.  Now she'll only sleep if I leave the door open and light on.  So I typically go into her room at 11:00 or midnight (whenever I happen to go to bed) to turn off the light.  Unfortunately she often wakes up later, sees that the light is off, and as a result, goes nuts and wakes me up.  Sigh...

Update:  I started this post a few weeks ago and am finally taking the time to finish it.  Thankfully, the girl is sleeping MUCH better now.  I did a couple of things to (I think - fingers crossed) resolve the issue.  First and foremost, Ultraman was banned from the house!  This didn't make the boy too happy, and I'm sure we'll let him watch on his own again soon, but it was just too much for the girl to handle.  Second, instead of putting the girl in her crib at bedtime, she goes straight to the double bed in her room (which also currently serves as our guest bedroom when visitors are in town).  Either the wife or I would end up in bed with the girl almost every night anyway, so I figured it would be better to just start her out there in the first place.  Finally, I bought a nightlight (Buzz Lightyear, at her request).  Now instead of 100 Watts of white light blazing all night, a tiny LED bulb provides enough illumination to confirm that no monsters are lurking in the room.

So the dread of ongoing sleepless nights has now mainly passed (don't jinx it - knock on wood).  During the first night in which the girl didn't give us trouble, there was a nice cool breeze outside and we decided to leave the windows open.  Of course I was awakened around 2:30 a.m. when a friggin' flock of Canadian geese flew by honking like crazy on their migration southward.  I was so pissed, but had I to laugh at the same time.

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For my previously blogged-about birthday, my in-laws gave me a large selection of various California micro brews.  So in addition to the (seems like) barrels of wine we consumed last month, we did our best on the suds as well.  Among the beers gifted to me were those produced by The Lagunita Brewing Company, Bear Republic Brewing Company, Moylan's Brewing Company, and Anderson Valley Brewing Company.  I've forgotten which ones we drank while still in CA (along with almost everything else we did out there as well), but the remaining bottles are various styles of ale, all very hoppy and flavorful and nice to drink on autumn Saturday afternoons while watching college football.  My birthday celebration continues as I enjoy the few remaining brewskis.  Thanks BIL and SIL!

Bottoms Up!

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