We’ve had our ups and downs with kid’s bedtime over the past two years.
Before we had kid, husband and I decided that co-sleeping and room sharing was not really for us. We had worked out our boundaries, so that he would be well adjusted with his own room.
Of course, when he was born, he had quite a few health issues, from colic and reflux to chronic ear infections. We found creative ways to help him sleep, whether it was sleeping upright on us in a rocking chair, or in his baby swing or bouncer. Each of these situations always took place in his room, and before we knew it—thanks in part to ear tubes—he was able to transition into his crib full-time and sleep peacefully.
When he was five months old, we moved in with my parents-in-law. It could be a struggle some days to get him to soothe himself to sleep, but with a little persistence, and support from mom and dad, we made it through. Sure, I spent a few evenings, crying at the top of the stairs, listening to him scream and cry until he fell asleep. This phase didn’t last very long, and he became a champ of self-soothing.
When we moved into our new house last year, we were surprised at how well he took to sleeping in this “new” place.
“Ready for bed, kid?” we’d ask. And as long as we had his milk and a story waiting on stand-by, he’d happily prance up the stairs and into his room. He’d bound over to his bed, and be out within moments. It was bliss.
When he turned two, we decided to move him to his big boy bed. We knew he was ready, but feared he may regress. He didn’t.
But for the past week, we’ve been met with new challenges with bedtime. I can’t attribute it to just one thing, but here is what I’m thinking:
1. we had some crazy storms earlier in the week. He had never even noticed lighting while in bed, but this time was different. He’s more aware, and he wasn’t going to take it. Into our room he’d trek at 2 and 3 in the morning. He wants to sleep with us, and while it is easy to let him in for a few hours in the middle of the night, we nipped that in the bud a few days in.
2. I asked him if his room was nice (no), or scary (yes). We’re still trying to figure out what it is that makes him back into corners instead of crawling into bed.
3. It didn’t help that I was working late every night this week. That in itself threw off his routine. I would be the one that’s normally with him in the evenings, taking care of dinner, bath and bedtime. But no, I was strolling in after 8 and 9pm, and he made it very known he was unhappy with me.
4. Of course, I don’t know what he ate for dinner those nights, and when. Part of me believes that he is refusing to go to bed on an almost-empty tummy… it took three hours of consoling him last night before we got a bit more food in him. But then, he was out for the next 7 hours.
5. He’s a toddler, living in the midst of those damn terrible twos. We say no, he says yes. He pushes our buttons just to see how much he can get away with.
I want my easy-going sleeper back. We can totally see a difference in him when he doesn’t sleep well; it carries into the next day, making it even more difficult on all of us. The tantrums are even more present, and he actually has an ATTITUDE about things.
We are almost to the point where rationalizing works with him. Tonight, we explained all the fun things that would be happening tomorrow, but that we’d need to get a good night’s sleep to get there. He calmed down and decided that bed was his best option.
He just gets so worked up. I’m sure he thinks husband and I are doing all kinds of fun things once he goes to bed, and I’m sure he doesn’t want to miss out. In reality, I’ve got dishes, laundry and other stupid chores to catch up on, since I have made my entire day’s focus be about him.
I just want him to be a good sleeper again. And I’m sure the past few days have been a fluke, or at least a phase. Come on kid, it’s time to grow out of this one.
What sleeping issues do you have with your child? How do you deal with them?