Thursday, July 30, 2009


Ever since the girls came home, they have been sleeping without nightlights. This was mainly because we only had one nightlight and its residence was our bathroom. In our little house, the layout was such that with the nightlight in the bathroom we could open the boys' bedroom door and have enough light in there to see (well enough) at night if necessary. But in the new house it's completely different. The boys have a couple of windows that still show a good amount of light at night, but the girls' room is pitch black at night. It's been a problem when Emily has woken up in the middle of the night, as it's hard to see her to comfort her.

This past week, Mark bought two nightlights--one for the boys' room and one for the girls' room. I put them in the rooms the other night and it was blinding--like daylight! So I moved the boys' nightlight into the closet connecting the two rooms but left the girls' closet door closed and left their nightlight in their room. Last night was the first night they slept with nightlights. As I was falling asleep last night, I thought I heard Emily wake up a little, but then I didn't hear anything else so I started to fall asleep again. I then thought I heard a few sobs (which I actually thought was Danielle) but again they stopped immediately. When Emily wakes up crying she goes into all-out crying, so I figured both girls were just dreaming.

Tonight when we put the girls to bed I kissed them both and then turned their nightlight on. I walked 2 steps out of the room and Emily immediately began crying. I walked back in and asked her what was wrong. Through sobs, she said "...light." I asked again and got the same response. So I turned the nightlight off and she settled down. I caught Mark in the hallway and told him what had happened. He thought it was as odd as I did so as soon as he went into their room he turned their nightlight back on, and once again immediately Emily started crying. As soon as he turned it off we were able to settle her back down and she fell asleep.

After she was asleep I went in and put another (dimmer) nightlight in. We'll see if she wakes up. If she does, I think we'll just leave the nightlight in the closet between the rooms and leave the door open a bit.


BT said...

This is very interesting. We adopted our sons from Ukraine in 2005 at ages 3.5 and 5.25. They prefer to fall asleep in as much darkness as possible. They have complained when we've been places that we can't get as dark as we can get their room at home. I had always thought this was just fine. I have read that it's healthy to have as much absence of light as possible for sleeping -- helps the sleeping hormones regulate naturally. But now I am reading a fantastic book called Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child: From teh First Hours through the Teen Years (2008, by Cogen). It is fantastic in a bunch of ways. One of its chapters is about sleep and the stages that naturally developing children should pass through in their willingness and ability to fall asleep. They go from being dependent on the parent for calming and soothing through stages to a point where they are self-soothing. Some of the discussion in this chapter has made me question the wisdom in our having kept our sons in total darkness all this time. I am planning to experiment with putting as mild a nightlight as I can find in their room and see how we do. I would greatly appreciate if you do a follow-up on this topic as your girls give you feedback on this.

Shelley said...

My boys have to have the room pitch black in order to sleep and stay asleep. Even the windows in their room are blacked out. Otherwise, as soon as the sun starts to rise, they are awake and can't go back to sleep. They rest much better in total darkness. I have no idea why....but as long as they rest, then that's fine with me!

The Flying Eagle said...

hey girl! sorry for such late notice but it has been a crazy week! Sunday Garrett and "Winnie gets her litter" 2 little boys are going to hang out at Forest park - the zoo, picnic, play... Winnie & Hubby are moving into a rental house in IL so David is hauling furniture and I am watching the 3 munckins. If you dont have plans, I'd love to meet you in the park (either is cool) and let the kids play a bit. Let me know if you are free!!!! c ya :-) I love that you have internet in again :-)