We have sleep issues. I have spent countless hours waiting for Alex to sleep and trying to figure out just where things went wrong, but I really can't blame all of our nightmares on one particular reason. In the orphanage Alex shared a bed with two other babies, so I was afraid he would be lonely and scared when we got home. In our defense, we were warned about this in our pre-adoption training. In fact, our trainers recommended we share a bed until we were all used to the new family dynamic. We got home in November, and by December, we were all sleeping in one room with a lamp on and the TV turned on a music channel with the volume turned all the way down. Although it was quite a hassle, I loved having him in our room. The first few nights we were home, I would just lay there and listen to him breathe. Finally by the start of the New Year, he was in his own room all by himself.
One afternoon a few weeks after we came home, Alex would not take his nap. I sat right beside his crib with my back to him, just like I saw on the Super Nanny and waited quietly for him to fall asleep. He walked from side to side in his crib just playing and laughing. Then he tripped and fell into his aquatic mobile/noise maker. It was his first ever bloody nose, and I felt awful.
Over the years, we have tried numerous different tricks to make bedtime and nap time easier and longer. For a while, I had a small mattress beside his bed. Then, we tried a CD that played a comforting lullaby over and over. We have read stories, established a "routine", soaked in a relaxing bath, nibbled on a small snack, called our doctor so many times that I'm sure our file was color-coded, and faithfully said our prayers. Short of hiring a witch doctor, I have tried it all - all with very slow, snail-like progress.
Transitioning to a toddler bed was a gigantic nightmare. My good friend Stephanie said to put a baby gate by his door to keep him in his room, but how to keep him in his bed? When I called the doctor for advice, they said to just ignore him, so I did. This is how that theory worked for us. For the record, ignoring him on any occasion has never resulted in the desired behavior.
In Alex's defense, he did have to adjust to a nine-hour time change and a whole new life, but that would account for only some of the problems. He has always fought sleep, especially while riding in the car. He just keeps himself awake fidgeting or humming. He will do anything to stay awake longer. We have just gotten to the place where we can usually put him in bed and stay with him for a few minutes until he is settled down. When he is very calm and quiet, we will stay with him longer. I love those days when I can spend quiet time with him. Even now, when he starts to drift asleep, I am afraid to look at him or move a muscle. I am so curious to see what it looks like when he falls asleep, but I just can't risk looking. There I lay next to him, holding my breath and praying to God for relief. He is silent for several minutes, but I am still afraid to look. Finally, I slowly move a bit, just to test him. If he isn't asleep, we start all over again, but if he is I have once again been blessed with a miracle.