Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tears and Fears

Well, Dean's fears have started to manifest themselves. Two big ones have popped up lately.

One is the fear that he'll go down the drain when we unplug the bath. This doesn't end with him. He panics to get all of his toys out of the tub or dishes out of the sink if the water is on and the drain is not plugged.

The other, more annoying, fear is that of the dark. He has been a great sleeper the past year and a half. Even after we switched him to his toddler bed he did great at staying in his bed. Until about 2 weeks ago. He now panics at nap time or bed time if we don't leave enough light on. He begs and begs for me to stay in his room. He assures me that "Dean be quiet" so as not to disturb me if I stay. I generally can't stay even if I wanted to since I almost always have to put Walt down right after him.

He has woken up 2-3 times now at 11 pm needing to use the bathroom. But the worst is his 4 am wakings. Ugh. He comes in our room thinking it's time to get up. I've been successful once in getting him back in bed without staying in there. Matt's taken him back to bed a couple times. This morning I took pity on him because he woke up sick (stuffed up and coughing, not throwing up). I tried laying down on his floor at 4 am. He was fairly quiet, but definitely not sleeping. And then after about 5 min. he started complaining about his nose. I eventually let him lay on the floor with me if he promised not to touch or breath on me and by about 5:30 he finally drifted off. I was afraid Walt would be waking up soon to eat, so I tried sneaking out. No go. He woke up immediately after I twisted the knob. I laid down again. Waited until he was snoring, and tried again. Same thing. And then he wouldn't go back to sleep. By 6 am I'd had it and I told him I was going back to my room and to try and go back to sleep. He kept following me out and I eventually put a child handle on his room. He cried and cried and cried. After about 10 min. Matt went and checked on him. By 6:30 he was still crying, Walt hadn't woken up yet, and I was not sleeping since Dean was crying still. So I got up and got him his milk. It has got to stop. He does the 4am thing pretty often now and it's really getting to me.

In Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child he says to put the kid back in bed without saying a word (something I'm HORRIBLE at) and with no emotion (also something I'm horrible at at 4 am). And to just keep doing it over and over and over again until they stay there. It can go on pretty long the first 2-3 nights, but should work by the 4-5th night. Oh man. I thought we were done sleep training this kid! He had been sleeping SO WELL for so long. Not a peep out of him for 12 hours. Maybe we should move his bed time back a little (it's 7 right now), but I really don't want to. I honestly don' t know how parents do it when their kids go to be later than 8 or 9. I'm too emotionally exhausted by then.

So, although I got to bed by 11 last night, I only got 3 1/2 hours of sleep between feeding Walt and dealing with Dean.


AmyJane said...

Man. I hear ya, loud and clear. We've been having sleep drama with Kennedy all week long (also combined with yucky cold that makes it hard to be tough with her) and I am EXHAUSTED. It's almost worse when a great sleeper goes to crap on you.
I remember having Patrick behave similarly to Dean when he was about at this same stage. He did the same thing--great transition to big kids bed for a few months then followed by a total mess a few months down the road. Made me wish I'd left him in his crib until he was three. Or ten. I really think I'm going to keep Kennedy in her crib MUCH MUCH longer this time around, even if we have to buy a second crib for the new baby.
Anyway, I'm off on my own rant. I'm sorry you're getting no sleep. I hope it gets better soon!

Jodi said...

I hear ya too, being a mom is just tiring. It literally is 24-7.

Caleb started being scared of the dark around 2. A night light saved the day. Maybe something like that would work for Dean?

We all have these times, don't feel alone. Sometimes we think no one else understands, that is why I love the blogging world so much. It makes me feel more normal when I read your so called negative posts, in reality, they are reality and I think it best to share the problems and not hide them.

It will get better!

Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

AmyJAne, I agree we'll buy a second crib if Walt isn't transitioned before the next baby.

Jodi, we have a very bright night light AND we leave his closet light on. It's pretty bright in there. But in the summer it's much lighter since his bedtime is before sunset. I think that's part of the problem.

Juls said...

a friend of mine told me once, dont start something you dont want to be a habbit. it is hard, but you can do it.

Lois said...

It's kind of hard for me to comment on sleep training since I never did any. Two year olds suddenly realize there is a big, bad world out there and they are relatively small. I always preferred sleeping with them in their bed if they were scared. I know it is a pain, but I felt I would have more secure children. Not a popular idea these days, I know. Luckily you have Matt. It is so much harder for a single mom.

marzy dotes said...

So sorry you are having a rough time. I promise things will get better, but it is tough in the meantime. Hugs to you.

We had Payton getting up every night and we just let him come into bed with us because we didn't want to deal with it and it was fine for awhile but before Gracie was born we got him a special alarm clock/night light. The light will turn from yellow to green when you want them to get up. Now he stays in bed all night long and is so proud of himself for being such a big boy. At first we had to take him back to bed and remind him it wasn't time to get up yet, but that only happened a couple of times. If you are interested you can check it out on Amazon. It is called the "American Innovative Teach Me Time! Talking Alarm clock and Nightlight"

Anyways, good luck and hang in there. Email me your Christmas schedule and phone number so we can make plans to get together. We will be back by the 27th and I can probably come with the kids one morning for a visit. Just let me know what day will work best for you. I love you! Can't wait to see you.

Lindsay said...

That's rough. If you're leaving a light on (I'm assuming all night) in his room, it makes me wonder how much is real fear and how much is limit testing. Obviously you know your son best, but based on what you've described here, it sounds less like a real fear of the dark and more like some sort of separation anxiety or even just limit testing. Juls is right about being careful about getting habits you don't want started. It's hard to be firm, especially in the middle of the night, but if you're consistent, he can be taught.

As for the 4am wakings...what time does he go to bed? I ask because he's reaching an age where he needs less sleep, and if you put him to bed too early, he'll wake up too early. Garrett's been the same lately. If I want him to sleep until 7:00, he needs to go to bed no earlier than 9:00.

I just finished reading a GREAT sleep book called "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems" by Richard Ferber. It helped me with some of the issues we've been dealing with in Garrett. Might be worth reading if you've reached the end of you rope.

Good luck!

Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

There's absolutely no way in heck I will keep him up till 9 at this point in time. Seriously, at 5:30 Matt's like "is it bed time for him to go to bed yet????" and I can't entertain him another 4 hours by myself since I've been with him all day long.

Marz, I'm totally going to look into the clock. We were thinking of putting a timer on a lamp or something.

My friend Jess reminded me that at this age they can't really differentiate between real and fiction. I think it's a real fear and maybe a little limit testing. She also suggested that we give him a flashlight. We did that tonight and it seemed to help.

One prob with me sleeping with him is that he absolutely won't hold still, won't stop talking, gets distracted too easily, etc. He's fallen asleep without anyone in the room since he was 4 months old because of this. I've actually only seen him fall asleep once when I was in his room and he was super sick that day.

Lindsay said...

I'm not saying that you need to put him to bed at 9:00, but 12 hours of nighttime sleep, plus a daytime nap, is a lot for a 2-year-old. It's likely that, because he's in bed too long and physically not able to fall asleep quickly, he's starting to entertain fears -- like those of the dark. Try putting him to bed way later for a couple of nights -- when you know he'll be too tired to dink around or be scared. You can gradually move his bedtime back to a time you more prefer, but you'd also have to keep in mind that 12 hours of sleep for a 2-year-old is normal for a whole 24 hour period. If you want him to sleep longer at night, his nap needs to be shorter. Anyway, good luck. I sometimes wonder myself when the sleep training will end. Part of me thinks it doesn't, only the problems change as they grow older.

Amanda said...

I have had different experiences with every child. I wouldn't rule out getting another crib and putting him back in there. My best sleeper was in her crib until age 3 1/2. Also, I agree with the idea that you might be expecting too much sleep. Kids naturally need less and less sleep, and you have to give some up somewhere--either later bedtime, earlier wake up time, or less or no nap. Sleep training helps them to get more sleep overall, but you can't expect him to need as much sleep at 2 as he needed at 18 months. A full nap plus bedtime at 7 sounds like a recipe for a 4 am wake-up.

By the time they are two and can voice fears, I have felt like it is a LOT harder to sleep train. One of my kids woke up in the night quite a bit from age 3-5 (after being a GREAT crib sleeper), and I would go into his bed and lay down with him and fall back asleep. Obviously not the best plan since that stage lasted for 2 years.

You can also try positive reinforcement by making a chart for sztaying in bed etc.

And if you end up needing to put him to bed later, maybe you could let him have a little play time in his room instead of going to bed, or maybe he could just watch TV or something. I know, not ideal, but anything that saves your sanity while you still have a relatively small baby might not be bad.

Also, when I was having trouble with a toddler waking when I still had a newborn, I finally told Cannon that I couldn't do both, and he started handling the toddler so that I wasn't up ALL night with both. It was not really his "style" to wake up with babies in the night, but I had reached my limit and seriously needed help. It does seem like somehow it all worked itself out in the end, although there is nothing worse than those sleepless nights.

Him, Her & The Wee One said...

Sorry Celia. Clara is normally such a good sleeper but lately she's been doing the same thing and it drives me nuts! Sometimes she'll never go back to bed and then she'll be cranky until her nap and that just aggravates me even more. Good luck.