USAmma, of all the suggestions so far, with the personality of my child, yours would probably work the best... she seems to need a lot of space to play and explore before sleeping.
However we live in such a tiny apartment that it probably won't be practical, plus, my dh really hates sleeping on the floor and so do I (I always have a weird
phobia that mice will crawl over me!)... plus there is just no way to totally childproof the room so that I could relax while she crawled around. If we had a bigger house (our apt is exactly 2 not-very-large rooms), we could designate one room as a totally child-safe zone. I would love that (actually I think it's very important for kids to have a place like that in their home).
mackinsiesmom... YES that is my problem... she associates my very presence with play, a lot of the time.
Yesterday I was SO TIRED. I had not slept more than 5 hrs/night for over a week, and I was just exhausted. She has been, I think, teething again (a molar
) and yesterday, could not manage (despite only getting 8 hrs of sleep the nite before) to take a nap until 3:30 pm!!! I was at the point where I was so fried and desperate for my own rest, that I was really concerned for my sanity. I rarely feel that off balanced as a parent, but the combination of fatigue and frustration was making me say and do things that are not really the way I would like to parent. She was so overtired that she was lying down on the kitchen rug and making grimacey faces to stay awake, but then she would see something interesting, start hooting and babbling wildly, and run to chase it... it was like this horrible manic depressive tired baby thing going on!
I even tried going into the living room and letting her just cry in the bedroom, which I don't like to do, but as long as I was in the room, she would not sleep. At least that way, I could collect my wits and not yell at a little baby. I usually am so patient with her and I usually really don't mind if she takes a long time to fall asleep... we just hang out and "talk", listen to music, nurse, read stories, and do all that stuff everyone is describing here. But sometimes I just reach a breaking point, and I need relief. I told dh to let me sleep in this AM so I could catch up on sleep, and he did (am I the only mom here who hasn't been able to sleep past 7 am for an entire year???), but I couldn't stay asleep... I kept hearing her getting into things, hearing paper crinkling or a suspicious silence (that usually means she's stuck some stray questionable object into her mouth!), wondering what she was doing, and also was conscious that dh had not changed her dipe yet as I always do FIRST THING before anything else when she wakes (after sitting in pee for 12 hrs wouldn't you want a change?!)... so I was sort of like, all right... go back to bed, dh... this isn't working out. I go into the room where she is supposed to be "taken care of" and he is too tired to even get up and play with her; he's sort of lying on the floor half asleep and not watching what she is doing or changing, bathing her, etc. I mean the house is childproofed, but... grrrr!!!
: I get less sleep than he does, but I always wake up, no matter how tired I am, to take care of her at 6 or 7, when she gets up. I wouldn't mind if I was a SAHM... but I work outside FT, too!!
all right, now that I got that out of my system.
re: the bouncy suggestion. I have tried (and it sometimes works)... spinning her around and dancing before bedtime. Not right before, but like an hour or two before. I find that that is really a very key suggestion. She is a VERY energetic child and one of the things I don't want her to learn in life, is to repress and be ashamed of that. I am afraid that having her CIO or even reacting angrily to that energy when it becomes too much for me to handle, is going to have that effect. I want to find good outlets for her energy so she will learn naturally to get tired.
Part of the problem is that I work so *()#$)(#& hard all the time, with a ft job and taking care of my dh and her and almost all of the housework (dh helps, but I don't like the way he does it and end up just being critical... prefer doing it myself, esp as I am always super concerned about the cleanliness of things now that we have a baby) that I don't always have the strength to be "fun" on my days off with her. I want to take naps, catch up on the mountains of housework, etc. I do try to take her out every day, but I think she needs a LOT more than what I give her. When she is with her dad all day, she seems much more stimulated and ready to sleep at the end of the day... she goes around to visit his friends, strolls around in her stroller all over town, enjoys much rougher play and more relaxed rules about what she can touch and play with. With me, she gets more of other valuable things, but with dad she gets lots of stimulation and excitement in her day. Of course, that means I don't always come home to a spotlessly clean house
... but at least he enjoys and has fun with her. Mommy is kind of a POOP on her days off!
I have also thought about trying homeopathy. The other day when she fell asleep at 3:30 pm, it was actually after a dose of Camomilla complex. I am thinking of trying some coffea cruda on her... it's indicated when there is restless, manic wakefulness similar to what you get drinking coffee. That's her! Heck, I am ready to try homeopathy on myself... just now I am really starting to see how completely exhausted I am. I have been sort of on this Mommy Ascetic Trip for the past year... enjoying absolutely no personal comforts or days/nites off and just throwing everything I have into dd and dh and my work and my house and... phew. WHAT ABOUT ME??? I am ready to just do the Marge Simpson thing where she stopped her car in the middle of a bridge and wouldn't drive anymore until Homer told her she was appreciated!
Well, dh does tell me that quite often...
... but at this moment, words don't cut it... I want a few hours to spend alone, or with a friend... or even on a date with dh without the baby... I just want to replenish my juices a little bit. I feel like everything I have is just being sucked out of me (quite literally... !)
I'm not ready to stop pumping yet. I still think my dd is justified by all means at her age to a full supply of milk and I don't mind providing it for her, I just am getting to a point where I want a break. It is possible also that dd is feeling my energy and responding to it... when I am calm and less tired/frustrated she is absolutely the easiest child for me, because our temperaments are more equal.