Around our house, when a baby goes through a mental growth spurt, it is nearly always accompanied by a sleep disturbance. This was most true with Beth and Jack- Luke has always been a stellar sleeper once he decided to actually sleep at around 11-12 months old.
Right now Jack is having a major mental growth spurt! He's been a little late of a talker in terms of not meeting the typical speech milestones for his age, though he's kept up with all other developmental milestones. He just didn't form words very well and had a hard time coming up with the right words to say, and has very rarely said two-word combinations. (Who can blame him, he has two very talkative older siblings who have happily talked on his behalf!) He completely understands everything we say to him but just didn't say real words back at us. Until the past two weeks.
Jack started talking in two or three word combinations, saying things incredibly clearly, things I'd never heard him say before! Just yesterday he put his Nuk in his mouth (he sleeps with his pacifier) and popped it out, handed it to me and said, "Yucky. Wash it!" I cracked up laughing because it was so clear and completely new! He heard me talking to someone on the phone the other day, and pulled me down and looked seriously at me and said, "New house?" Since I understood him and explained to him what I was talking about, he now will just randomly say, "New house?" to me. I think he appreciates being able to communicate to me with words and being able to sort of hold a basic conversation.
But wouldn't you know just about as soon as he started talking, he stopped sleeping. He's been waking up between 4:30-5:30 am, climbing out of his crib, and resisting/skipping naps. It hasn't been fun because as my long-time blog readers know, sleep is the hardest part of parenting for me. I am clinging to the fact that these sleep disturbances are part of his growth, and praying that it's just temporary!
We considered putting him into a toddler bed since he was crawling out of his crib and refusing to sleep. We are in the camp of parents that says, "Let him sleep in his crib as long as possible, there is no rush to move a child from a crib to a toddler bed," but now that he's crawling out we are at a loss. He won't stay in a toddler bed either. We moved Luke into a regular-sized twin bed and moved the toddler bed into Jack's room, so now he has a crib and a toddler bed in there. He slept in the toddler bed for two nights while it was exciting, then he told Daddy he wanted back into the crib, so that's where he sleeps now. When he sleeps. Heh.
Just in the past month, Luke has stopped "formally" napping during his rest times, though quite frequently I'll check on him during rest time and he'll be asleep in his bed. He and Beth still have rest time in their bedrooms for about an hour and a half every day, ideally when Jack naps. They have to stay in their bedrooms and play quietly- Beth loves to draw, play with her dolls, rearrange her bedroom (no joke), make silly faces in her mirror, look at books, or play with the cat. Luke will look at books, play with his trains (he's finally getting to the age where he can actually build the tracks), play with his tool bench, or have a nap. They both have radios in their rooms with a small assortment of CDs, and they're allowed to listen to the local Christian radio station too.
This is the secret to my sanity. That hour and a half, right after lunch, is my time. Generally I don't do any chores because it's my rest time too! I work online, read, or take a nap if I'm on call for a client. Occasionally Beth and I will school during rest time if we had a busy morning or didn't get to certain subjects, and I realize that as she gets older and we have more work to do, that we'll probably have to do more during this time. But for now, I love it!
But the past few weeks have been challenging, since Jack has been fighting his naps, crawling out of his crib, and banging on the door. The gentle techniques of teaching him to stay in his bed that worked with Beth are not working with Jack, so we're just at a loss, in a state of limbo, waiting to see what the next week or two brings!
I'll be sure to post the other silly things that Jack says. It's funny to me how I don't have to teach him any of this. He's just been chilling for these past couple of years, taking it all in, listening and learning... And now I think he's just going to open up and let loose on us!