Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Goodbye, Sleep

I'm no sucker when it comes to toddler manipulation about sleep. I need that sweet shut-eye just as bad as you do, kid, so don't mess with me.

I kept Niall in the room with us until he was 4 months old- just until he outgrew the bassinet and then it was into the crib in the nursery. Time for mommy to sleep again.

He's always been an early riser; that's just part of his genes, I think. So I've adapted to that. I actually do better when I get up early, too-- it's just a matter of that initial dragging myself out of bed.

Things were working for us for a while there...

Then came the doozie that I never could have prepared myself for... a YEAR AND A HALF of all kinds of crazy sleep issues.

He would suddenly wake up 2 and 3 times a night at 9 months old. Then, he would scream his head off for an hour at bed time shortly after his first birthday. Then, he would wake up for the day at 4am. Then, he learned to climb out of his crib. Then, he decided he would stop climbing out of his crib when we got him a toddler bed. It went on and on.

It was beyond frustrating, and we tried all kinds of sleep training methods. Things eventually got better-- as in, he would sleep well maybe 4 out of 7 days of the week.

Finally, shortly after his second birthday, things went back to normal.  The ol' 7:30-7.  The gift that keeps on giving.  I have to give some credit to the hours of "My sleep book"-making, white noise machine researching, consistent routine creating, and tot clock color changing... but mostly, it was my incessant pounding into Niall's head that he would not be coming out of his room until the sun came up.

Somehow, some way, somewhere out there in the universe, God had mercy on my soul and allowed this boy to get some sleep (and me, as well).

Now that Niall is in a toddler bed, I park that safety gate at his door every night, ensuring that I will not be disturbed from my precious 6 hours of sleep (now I am losing that other 2 hours because of Brendan; ah, the circle of life).

But what do you do when your kid can finally speak and tells you that he's been having horrible dreams about this?...

I'm not kidding you-- it was 2am the first night, Brendan had already woken up once and I was just about to lose my mind when I heard Niall crying at the gate.  After letting him cry there for a half hour, I went to tuck him back in when he told me that he had a bad dream about a big, blue man who was in his room.  "He was MEAN!"

Ok, that's pretty scary.  I would want someone to hold me and cuddle me back to sleep if I saw that.  Into bed with us...

The next night, 1am, it was this:

Earthworms.  "OLD Earthworms... MEAN earthworms!!"  Hmmm, something along the lines of this guy?

Ok, fine.  Into bed with us.

Now I see an ugly future ahead... this little smart guy could come up with something every night of the week if he wanted to.  But how can I turn him away if he's really having nightmares?  I thought that I had come up with every scenario, always resulting in me walking him back to his bed.  Now I feel like a monster telling him to suck it up after having some pretty horrifying visions. 

My new plan is to catch up on sleep when my kids are in high school.  Coffee time.

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  1. Such a delicate balance, between comforting them and telling them to suck it up so you don't get conned on a regular basis :). My oldest used to do this too, but it was more along the lines of waking up with excuses why he needed to be up. A drink of water. A potty break. Etcetera.

  2. Sleep is a nightmare for us too! My son who is Niall's age has been performing sleep torture experiments on me since 4 months of age... and just when they start to sleep "well"... something changes and everything is upset again! I would be a sucker for nightmares too. Sometimes John dreams about the not nice alligator and it gets me too! Hoping Niall has a peaceful night for you :)


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