10/18/2011

If I Admit to Being Weak, Can I Get Some Sleep?

Here is the myth that everyone seems to perpetuate: once kids reach a certain age/weight/whatever, they will sleep through the night.

I am here to tell you that this is a lie. A mean spirited, evil lie devised for the sole purpose of making you feel better when you're getting up so often in the middle of the night that you're pretty sure you pass yourself in the hallway. For a while, it makes you feel better. Right up until you realize that your child is the exception to the rule.

In our 3.5 years as parents, I think we had one six-month stretch of sleeping through the night. At about age 2.

We've tried the spectrum of ideas ranging from low key bribes to bribes that would make even a corrupt politician begin to question their ethics. We've tried redirection (as in just putting him back to sleep over and over and over and over and over and over.) We've tried low key punishment to punishment that would make a prison warden chuckle with glee (well, ok, maybe not quite that extreme). We've tried night lights, dark rooms, light rooms, noise machines, hall lights, door open, door shut, door cracked. Nothing works. Nothing will get this darling, wonderful, amazing little boy to get into his bed and stay there, asleep, until the morning.

For a while we won the battle of at least keeping him in bed. But then we would hear "Mooooommmmyyyyyy!" shouted at various decibels with various degrees of terror (real or imagined) interspersed three to eleventy one times a night. So we put a bed on the floor in our room and said that if he woke up scared, he could just come sleep in there, just don't wake us up. And that worked for...three days? Then he wanted to just be put to bed in that bed (and frankly, since he was ending up there every night, we figured if we put him to bed in that bed, then maybe he'd at least sleep all night!)

Have read "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?"

Now, we put him to bed in his little bed and by the time we head up to bed, he has moved himself and the approximately 19 billion "friends" he sleeps with into our bed. Sometimes he's asleep. Sometimes he's laying there and you can simply tell that he hasn't been to sleep yet, even though he got put to bed at 8 and it's now 11 or thereabout. So we move him back to his little bed in our room and go to bed. Most nights he stays there, other nights you wake up to find he's wormed his way back into our bed and is now practicing various kickboxing moves on your kidneys while simultaneously experimenting with various choke holds.

We're sleep deprived, here in Wit's End.

So today, I think I am drawing a line in the sand. He is going back to his room. I started this with his nap, which is taking place in his bed (in his room). Even though, yes, I have relocated him five times already in the last hour. He is not happy. That makes two of us.

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