A week or so ago I blogged about a phase Violet was going through that made her super-clingy at bedtime. She would hold me tightly or reach for me crying, "Mommy, I neeeeeeed you!" and would go on and on with that after I left the room. I fluctuated between trying to be firm with her, calm her down, and tell her to stop crying and just go to sleep...to holding her for 45 minutes or more, singing to her, stroking her face, trying to lull her to sleep. Nothing seemed to be successful. She went in and out of this for over a week. Some nights I'd tell her firmly to go to sleep, and she'd just do it, other nights we'd go over and over with the screaming sessions.
Then last night, something clicked.
Once in a while, in the past weeks, I'd hear footsteps upstairs, trekking into her bathroom (she has her own personal bathroom in the house). I assumed she was using the potty, and hopping back into bed, as the footsteps never continued for more than a few seconds. ALSO, once or twice, I'd gone into her room in the morning, and found her in her bathroom. Not something I thought unusual, she was just getting up and going potty first thing! Well, last night, I heard the footsteps again, after a long session with her (crying, "Mommy, Mommy, I neeeeed you!") and I had told her this time not to get out of bed since I'd already taken her potty before I left. I crept upstairs and opened her door. She WAS in the bathroom, but NOT going potty. She had dragged her pillow and blankie into the bathroom, turned on the light, and was setting up camp on the floor in there for the night! It dawned on me, then.....she had been doing this for DAYS now.....and it was probably the only thing that had kept her calm on those non-screaming nights!
I asked her what she was doing, and she confirmed to me she was going to sleep (of course, silly mommy). I told her it didn't look very cozy, and why don't we just try the bed again? She broken-heartedly obeyed, and then (poor thing) choked out, "Mommeeee, Mommeeee.....wujjyou fix my bed? It's broken!" I looked up and saw just the bones of her canopy up there, no fabric yet. We still hadn't gotten a cover for it since the last one had acquired some bugs living in it after being in storage for 5 years. She was truly distraught over the barren look of it, and my heart melted. I found an old quilt and jimmy-rigged it over the "rafters" and she giggled for joy! Then I brought her up a nightlight and put it right beside her bed so she could look at it while she dozed off. This made her even more happy! I also left the bathroom light on, and told her she may get up to use the potty, but she must lie back down in her bed when she was finished. She seemed perfectly at ease, though tired, when I finally left at 8:45 pm.
She slept peacefully ALL night long, till 8:30 the next morning! I went to check on her after I got up....still sound asleep in the bed!
I won't even begin to describe how guilty I felt over this .....I've tried to tell myself I'm still just learning, to be a mother. It's just that---she's such a fearless creature in every other respect that it never dawned on me she could be scared of her room, or her bed, or just the darkness. Silly me!
Anyhow. We went out to buy canopy fabric today. :D I'll be posting pictures of it AND the rest of the house pretty soon. Keep watching!