Serious sleep issues, and I need some help. At two this morning Clark was standing beside my bed saying "downstairs! downstairs!" and this did not work for me. In the end I was only up with him for about 40 minutes, but the night before it was an hour and a half. I'm starting to feel like when he was an infant and I was sleep deprived for legitimate reasons.
Here's what we've got:
First, he sleeps with his light on full, which is a problem because when he wakes up he doesn't know if it's morning and insists that he's ready to get up and go downstairs. I've thought about just taking the bulb out, telling him it's broken, and putting in a small night light. That means we'll have to read books at night somewhere other than in the armchair in his room, but that's okay. Another option is to put in a clock and tell him he can't get up until the first number is a six or seven or whatever, but honestly I don't think he's going to go for that at all. He'll just get up anyway. Or we could try both.
The next issue is that he wants us to stay in the room until he falls asleep. He doesn't do this at nap, by the way. He asks sometimes at nap and I tell him "no, at nap we don't do that," and he accepts it. So we're going to have to have a talk about how mom and dad are not going to stay in the room anymore. I could deal with letting him cry it out (and I think it would only take a day of this....) but he won't just cry it out; he'll climb out of the crib. This all started with his climbing out in the first place: we tried the supernanny thing of putting him back, putting him back, not speaking to him and just putting him back, but he just became more and more hysterical and worked himself up into what seemed an unnecessary panic. When that would happen and I would stop and just put my arms around him, he'd quiet immediately. We figured it was just a stage, some kind of anxiety that would pass, so we started to stay in the room. It isn't so bad to sit with him when we put him to bed, especially as we've taken to watching netflix on our iphones with headphones while we wait, but the problem is that he expects it again when he wakes in the night.
AND I CANNOT KEEP DOING THIS AT 2AM.
Okay. So when he wakes at night and screams, I tell him it's the middle of the night and everyone is sleeping and he needs to sleep too. He shrieks. If I say I'm going back to bed he shrieks and then climbs out of his bed. Here are the options as I see them:
1) Get a crib tent. Zip him in. Ignore the possible hazard were there a fire. Make him feel powerless but dominated. Get some sleep.
2) Get a new toddler bed he loves, a fire truck or pirate boat or something, and tell him he can only have it if he stays in it. In order to enforce that, however, I'd also have to get a crib tent so I can move him to the crib if he won't stay in the bed.
3) Leave the crib the way it is but put latches on the door so he can't get out of the room. This will probably mean he will cry until he passes out on the floor. Again with the powerlessness.
4) Is he old enough (2 1/2) for a sticker chart? I don't know... I don't think he'll get the idea of accumulating stickers toward a goal. But maybe there's something I can bribe him with immediately? I don't know what. He doesn't sleep with any stuffed animals, nothing I can take away if he won't comply...
5) Dose him heavily with narcotics every night before bed. Kidding. Sort of.
6) Gear myself up and do the supernanny sleep training for a couple of nights: simply put him back in bed every time he gets out. The problem with this is that I have to stay nearby to put him back in, and that's just what he wants. He doesn't mind being in the bed as long as I'm there too.
7) Take him into the bed with me in the guest room. (you note the absence of the option to put him in bed with us... both of us are light sleepers and it simply would not work.) I fear this would mean I would forever sleep in the guest room, which just creates another problem rather than solving this one.
8) Is there something I can get for his room that would make him more comfortable, less needy? Suggestions????
He used to be a great sleeper. He used to just wave to us from his bed as we said goodnight. He would wake up and sometimes call out in the night, but then go right back to sleep. All by himself. And I don't feel this is any longer about anxiety and separation and fear; now it seems to be about control, the way he is trying to assert control over his world. Maybe one solution, or part of the solution, is to help him feel in control in other ways, give him choices or let him make other decisions. Thoughts about that?
So, please, if you have any suggestions at all, please please offer them. Helpful or unhelpful, tried or absurd, I'll take em.
By the way, I'm writing this while both kids are at preschool! All on my own here in the world, for a little while. Maybe this space will mean I can keep up with the blog better. That would be nice.