More on sleep

Yes, that is my theme-song these days.  :)

You see, I have the sweetest, funniest, most loving, mischievious three year old on the planet.  But as I’ve mentioned before, he spends his days so intent on charming each and every person he encounters (even people in passing cars as we drive along!) that when he finally lays down, his sweet, sensitive, deep, old-soul self comes all but crashing down upon him and I think it is more than he can bear on his own.  My job, then, is to find ways to help him take those times in the midst of his awake time to pause and snuggle and calm and be still.  Brief times throughout his day just to be still.  Then at nap and night time, I have to find ways for him to feel connected to me and yet maintain physical safety.

As life would have it, he dearly wants to be with his big brothers in the “boy’s room”.  But he also wants his Mama.  Stephen needs to travel regularly and so co-sleeping in our bed is out of the question.  It’s just not safe for him to be there with me without another adult to make sure he doesn’t vault himself off of our bed in his sleep (as I mentioned, he moves all.the.time. in his sleep).  And sleeping in a toddler sized car bed with a child who (by anatomy or desire, I haven’t totally figured out yet) sleeps with his legs bent at a 90 degree angle from the hip makes for a rather unpleasant sleeping experience for his bed mate.  Especially when said child could easily outperform most gymnasts.  ha

So, off we went and bought a crib to put in our room.  I was thinking that if I had it smooshed up against the side of our bed he could be very close to Mama and yet be secure.  Steve and James went upstairs and built it (Our friends call assembling a crib a “marriage tester” – Can I get a witness?).  I bathed Samuel.  Then I brought him into our room to show him and see if he’d be interested.

Ummm, yeah.  Of course not.  {slap forehead.  again.}

He took one look at that thing and pointed.  “‘Nigh, ‘nigh bei bei!”  (He calls all baby beds / doll beds this.)

“Yes!  Samuel’s chuang!” (bed)

“NO!  Wo yao chee che chuang!” (I want car bed!)

And off he went around the corner into his room, muttering to himself, “Wo de chee che.  Wo de chee che.” (My car.)

And he allowed himself to be tucked in, read to, sang to, snuggled (“Twinkle, Twinkle”), nose and tummy rubbed, prayed with (“Ready!” – more on that for another post) and off to sleep. 

Yeah.  We just spent $XXX on a crib as a sleep aid.  And it was worth EVERY PENNY! 

Tonight we had a repeat, with the exception of a few tears (three or four seconds after closing the door with he and Garnet in the room) and then I popped back in to reassure him after 3 or 4 minutes of quiet.   After doing this 3 times, the fourth time he was no longer drowsy, but fast asleep. 

Let’s recap (for my memory in later years) my children’s sleep histories.

James: Hardly slept through the night until age 14 months.  We had routines and patterns we would follow – tunred ourselves in knots to help him and he would wake every hour to two hours. 

Faith: slept wonderful.  Almost went to be with Jesus at age 2 months from Whooping Cough.  Then had to sleep upright for 2 months in recovery.  Then was unable to sleep through the night until around 18 months.  Sleeping is still a challenge for her at times.  For her too, i think night time is when she does her best (or worst) thinking.  We do our best to pray with her and work out her stress before bed, but sometimes it is what it is and she has ways to help herself rest (music, special things).

Garnet: He is our dream sleeper.  The first evening we came home, put on his jammies, read a story, snuggled, sang, rocked and prayed and tucked him into his crib.  He rocked himself (his head) to sleep and woke up 9 hours later cheerful and lively as usual.  He had night terrors at a few momentous times in his first months (after EMDR therapy or after his English had improved enough to tell a bit about his time in China). 

Grace: Struggled with her memories and fears at nighttime.  It was heart wrenching.  The plus side, her loved ones in China were up at that time of day and so we had late night phone calls suring those early months home.  After six months home she was able to get to sleep around midnight and then sleep through until morning.  Since our trip to China, she settles in quickly and easily and sleeps through.  When morning comes she is generally cheery and ready to enjoy her day. 

Samuel, well Samuel’s story is still being written. 

I suppose the reason sleep has been such a focus for me this time is the fact that we are still so new to having four other children who sleep well.  It was a long year for Grace and for me.  I have consistanly been the one the kids want at night and so I guess I have been the most nervous about this area of adjustment. 

All in all, we will weather this new phase.  It all goes back to what we do in the day time to help the kids feel better at night.  And when I hold to that truth, things always seem to go better.


  1. Thanks for the post! It’s wonderful to hear how he is doing, and I’m so glad that you are finding, though slowly, the routines that will help the transition. It sounds like Samuel is doing SO well. His sweet voice and cuddles… and the way that he loves his mama! Blessings to your whole family!


  2. I love the post, hearing how Samuel is doing. I’m finally at a point in our lives that I can sleep all night, usually no interruptions. Yeah, I hear the girls’ door open an close at night for a trip to the potty, but they seem to take care of themselves, sometimes not so quietly at 3:00 a.m.

  3. Sleep is such an important part of the story…
    Praying that peaceful sleep has come to stay!

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