I don't think I'll get any ever again. The End.
Ok, I guess I can go into a little more detail...
Things had gotten really crazy by the end of last week, to the point where I would have to take Niall back to his room maybe 30 or 40 times for every nap and then again at bedtime (all while listening to earth shattering screaming). Why not use a gate?, you must be asking yourself. And the answer is that Niall, with all of his fierce determination, will promptly knock it over with the strength of an angry rhinoceros.
Anyway, on Sunday, I spent 2 hours forcing him to stay in his room for nap, and then when nap time was over and I went to let him out, he had just then finally fallen asleep (3:30). So I had to wake him up to prevent another disaster at bedtime.
I decided to take Niall to the doctor on Monday because things have been so out of control. I think it was around the time that I bought myself a pack of cigarettes on Saturday (I don't smoke) that I decided it was time to get some professional help.
Keep in mind, I know the name of every sleep method and every little trick and/or glitch that can contribute to a child's sleep. But surely the doctor might be able to tell me something I don't already know.
And he did. 2 key things.
The first is pretty obvious, looking back. Stop potty training immediately. It's obviously causing some kind of power struggle and anxiety because this all kind of started around the same time, and Niall has been pretty defiant about it lately. When I told him that Niall would be 3 next month, he quickly replied: "So?" And I continued: "So what age should he be potty trained by?" To which he replied "I don't know... 5?" He was joking, but the point was that Niall is not going to go to kindergarten in diapers and he will probably do it on his own if I just back off.
So I was really excited to find out that the last 4 months of work were completely pointless, but hopefully he will pick it back up a lot easier when we start again in a few months.
The second thing was pretty shocking. Guess what time he said I should be putting Niall to bed? Niall, the almost 3 year old, should be going down at....
I couldn't believe it. I had been putting him down around 7:30/7:45 thinking that was pretty early, but I didn't realize that he needed to be asleep by then. The ideal window is really for them to fall asleep between 7-8 in order to go into the deepest sleep and not wake up in the middle of the night.
Supposedly everyone has 3-5 wakeful periods during their sleep each night; brief unconscious check-ins of one's surroundings-- adults are pretty conditioned to just sleep right through them, but babies and small children will come fully out of their sleep if they are already overtired or if something about their surroundings has changed (which is why you should always put a baby to sleep awake).
So this explained why he was waking up so much in the night, even though he was exhausted.
The first night was not so great. Despite going down at 6:45, he didn't stop screaming and coming out of his room until 9, so I think he probably fell asleep around 9:15/9:30. He then woke up at 3:30 and didn't go back to sleep until 5:30.... and then woke up at 7 like it never happened.
BUT.... the second night, he went down at 6:30, fell asleep at 7:15 and slept right on through the night until 6:30am!!!! I couldn't believe it. I wanted to kiss his little feet. It was the best night of my life (in recent history).
So now we're going through another little rough patch because we've decided to get rid of the nap. He has been pretty defiant about it and seems like he can make it through the day up to bed time now that we've pushed it earlier. I know it will probably take a week or so to get adjusted, but I'm really hoping that a week from now things will be normal again. Fingers crossed!