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Friday, July 27, 2012

A fine line between responsiveness and manipulation

So here I sit on the living room chair at 3:30 in the morning writing a post on my phone.....UGH! So please forgive any typing errors.

I swear, an evil spirit has taken over my kids! Any semblance of control over bed time has absolutely vanished in this house! J and A used to go to bed (or at last play quietly in their room) from about 8:30 or 8:45 until they fell asleep, which could be around 9:30. Now, granted, we have a lot of "get back to bed" conversations during this process (they were allowed 3 each before punishment ensued).

BUT NOW, all holy heck has broken loose! J won't go to sleep unless he can sleep in our bed (he has come in the middle of the night to sleep with us for some time now). Getting up in the middle of the night and requesting milk and to snuggle with us in bed is one thing.  Requiring Mom (and ONLY Mom) to lay next to him in bed to FALL asleep is another.

His brother, upon seeing J get to leave the bedroom, has decided that this is extremely unfair (I can't really blame him) and insists on either joining us, or sleeping next to Dad while Dad watches TV or plays a video game.  I can't have A join J and me in the bed, as putting those two together when they are tired and grumpy either leads to lots of giggling and wrestling or to crying and kicking.  That means that I lay next to J on our bed until he falls asleep (which means I do as well). DH watches TV on the couch with A until he falls asleep. So, DH and I never get to really say more than a few words to each other. I end up going to bed in my jeans and t-shirt without brushing my teeth.  And thus, I end up waking up at 3 in the morning to brush teeth, take a shower and get into my pjs.

Ugh, where did my good sleeping boys go? Heck, where did my MODESTLY well sleeping boys go? Poor sleeping around here leads to grumpy kids and grumpy parents. We've tried letting them cry it out, and we have been successful with this method when they were younger. Now, J gets so hysterical if he can't sleep in our bed, that he starts sobbing uncontrollably until he starts hyperventilating and shaking. A will just scream at the top of his lungs for over an hour. That means we can't leave them on the same room right now to fall asleep, because they just whip each other up into such a frenzy. And, because my mother-in-law lives on the bottom floor of our house, we only have two bedrooms upstairs: theirs and ours. We have tried to take the boys downstairs (Grandma graciously offered to try to get one to fall asleep downstairs), but the kid gets so excited about being out of his routine, that he is bouncing off the walls. Last time my mother-in-law had to return her charge at 11:30 because SHE wanted to go to bed, and all J wanted to do was jump up and down on her bed. I think some of this chaos is a result of them trying to transition out of their nap.

 But heaven help me, this is just a phase, right? Right?!? I don't think I ever appreciated the fine line parents sometimes have to straddle between helping their kids get through a rough time and being manipulated by them to their own detriment (and ours). Please, oh please, let this be a phase. And let it end soon!! Zzzzzzzz


Sprogblogger said...

Ugh. I feel your pain as we're quickly heading in that direction over here. Hoping you find a solution or that it's just a short-lived phase (and that you share your secret with us when you find it!) Good luck.


Augusta said...

that situation sounds incredibly challenging, Brenda. You must be so tired!
I hope you find something that works soon, so mom, dad, and tbe boys can cactch some zzzzzzz

Eb said...

Ugh, that sounds really stressful for you. I read somewhere talking about the sleep rules for toddlers, think it was the happiest baby/block series. Might help?

If all else fails make them run, swim, bike, hike and give them roast turkey before bed!

Good luck and I hope this all settles down soon.


Michelle D said...

I don't even have any suggestions but I feel for you and haven't even reached that stage. I hope it is a quick passing phase and that you will be sleeping soundly again soon.

St Elsewhere said...

I so feel your pain on this, Brenda.

I am struggling with sleep issues myself.

How about sending A to sleep with grandma and letting J be there with is not a final solution though. Maybe J is under some sort of separation anxiety?

Ugh...hope you guys catch some zzzzz soon.


Suzanne said...

Ugh, sleeping issues are the worst. We've had our share as well.
I know advice is easy to give but I really think you need to do whatever you can to get them to sleep in their own beds. The longer you let them sleep with you (or you with them), the harder it will be to break the habit. The next thing you know, they'll be 10 years old and crawling into bed with you (unless you're OK with that?). They may be having some separation anxiety issues right now but they both need to learn how to soothe themselves to sleep without help. I know it's incredibly hard when they are crying to the point of making themselves sick and it literally hurts your heart to hear it. We had to do some sleep training and re-training and both times, the crying only lasted 2 nights. Once you get through it, it's easier.
My son also started with the stalling games of asking for water or milk during bedtime. Just remember that it's exactly that - a stall tactic so you don't leave. I just explain that he had a drink during bedtime books and he doesn't need any more. He whines but he now knows that it won't work any more.
My twins also share a room and there are definitely nights when they play and get each other all riled up. I still have to sit in their room some nights to referee until they calm down. Other nights, I just let them play and figure they will lay down when they get tired. If it goes on for more than an hour, I definitely go up and settle them back down.
How is the activity level for your boys during the day? Has anything changed? Are they inside more because it's so hot outside? Maybe look to get them enrolled in some sort of indoor sport or play program?
I'm definitely not an expert here and I've had my share of issues too. Looking forward to hearing your progress!