Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Ubiquitous Sleep Issue

My brain is fried and blank.

Little Guy has overcome so many transitions since March 2007 and he's done a great job. Have I listed them a thousand times already on here? Oh, well.

1. new baby sister (March 2007)
2. big boy bed (August-turned 3)
3. started nursery school (September)
4. stopped using pacifiers (October)
5. potty training--(started first week of September-finished two weeks ago)

And the final hurdle before we can leave him alone? Falling asleep in bed BY HIMSELF. I know there are a lot of advocates for co-sleeping and for "parenting" kids to sleep by staying with them in their rooms or beds, but that's not for me. And I know that for sure because I've been doing it for a year.

Little Guy has always had a few sleep issues. Starting with his eczema at 3 months due to food allergies, to standing up in his bed at a year old and yelling, to throwing his pillow and "Baby" out of the crib at 18 mo., to begging for endless songs at two. And there have been the amazing, fabulous, wonderful times where, after books and songs, he would lay in his crib, talk and sing to himself and go to sleep.

Alas, when Zen Baby was born and I was still in the hospital, I made the mistake of sending M. home to be with Little Guy. To that now, I say, "Why?" I clearly needed him with me, post C-section; Little Guy was two-and-a-half and staying at our house with grandparents and everything was fine. But I got all hormonal and crazy and missed him incredibly and imagined him wondering where we were, when in reality, he was watching Curious George with Mema and eating potato chips every day. But when M. showed up, it threw a wrench in the works and got Little Guy all clingy and nervous that something was going on and I wasn't there, too. Enter--laying with him to help him go to sleep. It started out with M. doing it all the time but somehow shifted to me and now it HAS to be me. Some nights it's fine if he falls right to sleep after books. Some nights, like tonight, he took two-and-a-half hours to fall asleep. And that's excruciating. And it takes away the only free time I have.

And I know it's not only about me. I think he's to the point now that he wants to try to do it on his own because sometimes he kicks me out of his room but then calls me back in. Also, I hate that he thinks he needs me in there when really he doesn't. So, I would never just make him quit this cold turkey, but eventually he's got to let it go. And then there's the new and great phenomenon in which he kicks me out of his room and then gets out of bed, goes downstairs, or runs out his door and runs around upstairs and then runs back in bed when he sees me. So we started a sticker chart this week. He gets a sticker in the morning if he stayed in bed. It's working well so far. Last night he stayed in bed and went right to sleep. Tonight he took so long to fall asleep probably because he fell asleep on the couch at 2:30 today and I let him sleep for an hour. I knew better but I did it anyway. But the good part is, he stayed in bed all that time because he wanted his sticker. (Stickers never worked for potty training. Hm.)

So for now, I'm happy with overcoming the stay-in-bed obstacle. Once that's sorted out, we'll see what happens with staying with him. (I have graduated to sitting on the floor at the foot of his bed, though, instead of actually lying on the bed with him.)

And that's why my brain is fried and blank.


Blogger Lisa said...

this is not helpful at all, but may give you hope-

My son would not go to sleep in his crib- at all- and would only go to sleep in our bed if one of us was in bed with him. This took hours some times and like you said it really sucked away any free time we had. At daycare he'd sleep in any crib or on a mat without fuss. I complained about this to a relative, who reminded me (again) that I had to keep trying it. So that weekend I decided we'd just DO it and put him in the crib preparing for a fight. And he just laid down and went to sleep and has been (mostly) doing it ever since. I have NO idea what changed. The weekend before that he wouldn't let us get close to the crib. It was literally like a switch was flipped one day without any urging on our part.

Granted, he was in a crib and couldn't chase us out, but the main point is still there. One day he was just READY and we had to just find that day. Your son will be ready one day too.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Camille said...

Lisa-Thank you! I think you're exactly right. That's what happened with potty training. (he just wouldn't poop!) and then one day, I told him we had used the last pull-up and he was like, ok, I'm going to the toilet then. The week before he would have thrown himself down on the floor screaming. That's why I don't want to push the issue with sleeping alone. I know soon evertything will change and he'll be ready all of a sudden.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Liesl said...

I'm with Lisa - his day for staying in bed sound asleep will come. I wish I had something more helpful than that, but I don't, so I'm sending anti-sleep-deprivation vibes your way...Hang in there!

9:19 PM  
Blogger Bookfool said...

Stressed are we? I can tell you it will pass, but everyone else has already done that, so I'll just send (((((hugs)))))

7:12 PM  
Blogger BettyBetty said...

So do not miss that! Now they don't want to go to bed at all. It has become like this most nights- me: just get in bed already! Them: Can you read some more? Please? Just one more chapter! Me: NO, Just get in bed! Get in bed! Get in bed! Get in bed!. THEN in the morning neither one of them will get out of bed.

10:52 PM  

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