Posted by: webbhouston | October 14, 2009

Sleep regressions, milestones, and growth spurts.. oh my!! – Part two… the reckoning

If you missed the last post here, I discussed what happens during the first year of life as an infant… and why they dont sleep well… making us as parents not sleep well either.

Of course it would be nice that after the 12th month of life someone pushed a button hidden in their spleen and all of a sudden they were sleeping 8 – 10 hours a night. It would also be nice if I could finish perfecting my teleportation device but alas… neither of those seems to be likely.

Actually some would argue that after the first year, it only gets worse for a while.

Some would argue that at this age a child should be fully expected to sleep through the night and that not doing so is a direct result of bad parenting. Obviously something that can be fixed with a few nights of Ferberizing.  Why are we still dealing with this no sleep problem? We must be doing something wrong…

Except no, that is not the case.

During this second year they really start hitting some major milestones. One of them one that will last you for the next year or so even. Which one?

Talking. Yep.. when those first words start flowing their minds start racing. They start making connections between words and people, between words and actions… between words and getting what they want!  They start off with one word or two… then they make short phrases… then we move onto 3-5 word sentences. Before you know it they are articulating why they do not need to go to bed yet and how it is detrimental to their inner child for you to force them to eat spinach.

This one is a biggie because it takes a long time to really get communications skills as a toddler/infant. They do not wake up one morning speaking to you and doing the New York Time crossword puzzle.  This is gradual so of course the sleepless nights that come from it may be many.

You know what other thing really keeps kids awake? Especially if you dont do it right… solids.

For those parents who think that starting a kiddo on solids at 4 months is going to help them sleep through the night. Please think again. When your child is not ready for solids all that solids do is make their tummy act up. Which doesnt let them sleep.   As most kids over a year old will be on some type of solid food, it is important to make sure that you do not overload them with new foods at all once… but instead gradually introduce new foods. Food exploration especially in the beginning is basically about that… exploration. It is about trying out textures and tastes.. not really nourishment per se.  Self feeding is a big milestone for some kids. Since we really had ours start self feeding from the beginning it wasnt a big deal at all.

Really, anything new that they do is a real big deal for their minds/bodies. Going up the steps… big milestone.  Learning to scribble while holding a crayon.. milestone. Peekaboo, pretend, stacking… milestone, milestone… and milestone.

Then of course in this year is when the tantrums start gearing up. Why? Because they cannot communicate what they want and they do not understand quite yet self control.  They are pure id if you want to put it in psychological terms. So while they learn to express themselves and while they learn self control their minds are going full steam ahead into these milestones… and sometimes they simply cannot stop.

My daughter has fitfull sleep for a while when she is working on a new project in her mind. She works it out a great deal in her sleep, she even talks a bit about it.  I can tell when she is trying to piece together pieces of something because she is fixated on it. She does not want to go to bed until it is over and she does not want to let go until it is all done.

Then when they sleep they pass out in weird places like this one above… he is asleep on a beanbag upside down with his legs in the air… oh man if he wasnt so cute all of this would be much harder. 🙂

There is no magic cure for sleeping and there is no magic cure for anything that is child related that would work on all kids… but put yourselves in their shoes. Their little shoes are busy and full of excitement, this is why they need you the most.


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