Posted by: angelnorman | January 10, 2008

Peace starts at home, right?

I’m a firm believer that you can’t expect things from the world if you’re not giving what you expect first. Like you can’t expect love from others until you love yourself and those around you. And you can’t expect happiness unless you’re putting the happiness vibe out there. So it has to be the same for peace right? I mean, politically speaking I think that the US shouldn’t fight so hard for peace elsewhere when things are so tumultuous here. But this isn’t a political argument….

This is about sleep. The sleeping habits (or lack thereof as it were) of a three-year old. Namely my three year old. A few months ago I felt like he needed to be moved to a toddler bed. He was sleeping just fine in his crib, not even one single attempt on his part at climbing out in the 2.5 years that he slept in that bed. He would go down at night peacefully and wake in the morning just fine. Occasionally he’d need something in the middle of the night, but it was very rare.

Then we made the big switch to the toddler bed. For about a month, things were fine. Then out of nowhere, Nick learned he could get up and walk around. Find toys in his toybox and load his bed up with many items. Ask for milk multiple times and get it. That’s right. He showed us who was truly the boss in this house, and it wasn’t who we had been thinking.

Okay. Let me explain. This is how bad it is.

8:45 pm– bedtime begins. Teeth are brushed. Hugs are given. Lots of kissies and laughing and quick cuddles.
9 pm– bedtime truly begins.
9:05 pm– We catch Nick in the hallway, throwing toys at the dogs. He is ushered back to bed.
9:15 pm– We hear footsteps in Nick’s room and find him walking around his room, collecting his toys. He gets a serious talking to.
9:20 pm– Despite the fact that we’ve just left his room, he needs us to come give him milk.
9:30 pm– Nick walks into the living room or office, and when we notice him and show our disapproval, all he has to say for himself is, “Hi.”
9:40 pm– Nick needs us to cover himself up. We stand in his doorway and explain to him that his arms are not broken and that he can, in fact, cover himself up. He fights with us and refuses to do it.
9:55 pm– Nick is flicking his lights on and off.
10:00 pm– Has to poop.
10:40 pm– We think he is asleep but then we hear him digging through his toybox.
10:45 pm– Needs his music turned back on, yells till we come and do it.
11:25 pm– Once again we have been fooled into thinking he is asleep and we are actually surprised when he starts screaming for more milk.
11:55 pm– Mike is having a serious talk with Nick about why sleep is important.

3 hours has passed and my kid is still not asleep. And this happens practically every night nowadays.

Originally I had decided that it was because he needed more of our attention. He very obviously just wanted to be with us, and so I felt like maybe we weren’t doing enough to show him attention throughout the day. I started limiting myself on the computer, decided to not pursue a web design or other work-from-home career, started playing more games with Nick, watching tv with Nick, having more conversations and increasing our playdates, etc. Nothing has worked though, and we’ve been dealing with this for many months.

This is the problem with having a strong-willed child. I know for a fact that this is all a testing of the boundaries issue, but I’m finding no relief either. Nothing to make it any easier for all three of us I mean. I want him to test his boundaries. I do. It creates intelligence and ambition and many good things like that. But I also want him to sleep. Rest. Recharge his batteries. And I want our nights to end peacefully, with everyone on the same page and happy and ready for the next day.

I think some of the reason I’m always feeling so moody is because nothing around me is all that stable really. And this is what I realized tonight, while sitting on the toilet and doing my breathing exercises. Everyone here is moody; we all have incredibly bad attitudes as of late. No one is ever just calm and content anymore. What is up with that? When did this happen? Was it Christmas? Is it just getting worse because we’re all tired of never really dealing with the issues in this house, whatever they are? Are we all just sleep-deprived? And if I’m feeling this way, and if Mike has admitted to being stressed out lately, then how does Nick feel? I bet he is suffering too, looking to us for peace and the path to tranquility, and we have no idea how to achieve that.

When he was a baby, we practiced the BabyWise method of letting him cry it out, ultimately creating an infant who soothed himself. It was awesome. Like I said before, he rarely needed us to come in and help him go back to sleep if he happened to wake up. He just did it on his own. Now I fear that “helping” him transition to his big boy bed by doing whatever he asked of us has undone all our hard work in the sense of raising a self-soothing kid. This article here sort of backs me up on that. 

I think I have a lot of work ahead of me.

12:22 am and Nicholas is quiet. For now.

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Responses

  1. My favorite part of the night was at 11:55…that cracks me up.. Good writing! Awe..I hope things get better…kids are so funny.

  2. I was also going to suggest the Supernanny way. 🙂 First though, I found this article that might help.

    http://www.supernanny.us.com/Advice/-/Your-child/-/Child-care/Solve-your-child%E2%80%99s-sleep-problems.aspx

    Then here is the article about the Supernanny stay in bed technique.

    http://www.supernanny.us.com/Advice/-/Supernanny-techniques/-/Discipline-and-reward/The-stay-in-bed-technique.aspx

    Good Luck, Angel!

  3. i have both toddler wise and child wise (the next two books!) if you want to borrow them.
    and if it makes you feel any better i just undid 4 years of decent parenting in only 4 days.


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