We started moving when our sweet girl was only 3 month old. Although we lived in the same house for 15 months, the reality is she has not known great stability ever in her life. As all children do, Juliana found a way to cope--by waking up screaming in the middle of the night and needing to be cuddled.
Her late night neediness had subsided, but returned in full force when she, at her tender and impressionable age, became aware that things were forever changed in our lives late last September. For the next few months we awoke, every single night, to screams that had us bolting from our bed and expecting to find blood or broken bones.
Instead what we found every night was a sad and confused little girl. In our own depth of pain, we sometimes capitulated earlier, and allowed her to sleep with us from the beginning of the night. You would think we would get more sleep that way, not waking with a start each night, but she is a touchy kind of kid and kicked and tossed all night. Our sleep deprivation, added to the stress of re-figuring out life, made for some cranky, exhausted parents.
Our most recent move created a situation where early morning screaming would cause even more problems. We sat our little one down, explained that she could not scream anymore, and put her to bed with a firm warning, but also permission to come to us. While the opening, closing, opening and closing of bedroom doors was an improvement from the screaming, we were still feeling tired and cranky each morning.
So, we did what all good parents do.
We bribed her.
You can call it making a deal, using a reward system, or doing what it takes, but in reality, it's bribery.
And we are okay with that.
Every night she sleeps in her own bed all night, she gets a treat in the morning. After five consecutive nights she gets a bigger treat.
We went 11 nights in a row, right away.
I have no doubt she had insecurities from all the instability. I have no doubt she formed a habit, and it was hard to break. I have no doubt we needed to provide some extra reassurance by snuggling extra.
I also have no doubt that she is cunning, charming, and a little bit mischievous.
But I learned a lesson. The problem is not the angelic in appearance creature herself.
The problem is the lowly humans who fall for her tricks.
All Photos courtesy of MarkLopezPhotography.com