I’ve decided, sleep is over rated.
Or at least that’s what I have to keep telling myself in order to get through the day. Back when Brendan was 3-4 years old he had a lot of trouble staying in bed at night. He’d come into our room crying around midnight pretty much every single night. The problem was that I was in the early stages of being pregnant with Cameron at the time and getting up once a night, while great preparation for having a new born again, was starting to take it’s toll on me.
Eventually we put his toddler bed mattress onto the floor in my bedroom (he was sleeping in a big bed by then) and told him to just go to sleep there if he woke up in the night. While that did work, he started coming into our room earlier and earlier until we hit the point where he was just going to bed at night in our bedroom. I wasn’t happy with the situation but at least I was getting a full night’s rest again.
It was a good 6 month period that he slept on our floor but we realized that if we didn’t transition him back into his own room soon we’d have both him and the new baby sleeping in our room. Training him to sleep in his own room again was much more difficult than it had been to have him start coming into our room. We weren’t necessarily interesting in what the best parenting techniques were, just the ones that would get the job done and continue to let us sleep (you know, at least until the baby came).
So what we did was start turning on a movie in my bedroom when we put him to bed. He’d watch his cartoons until he finally fell asleep. After a couple weeks of this we moved him back into his own bedroom and turned on cartoons in there. He was so intent on watching the cartoons that he didn’t even notice he was sleeping in his own bed again. We were thrilled with the success and knew we’d eventually have to train him to go to bed without movies, but at least for the time being we had a solution to our current problem.
When Cameron was between 2-3 we moved him into a toddler bed because we knew Kaylee would be arriving in a few months and we’d need his crib for her. There were a few times that he climbed out of bed and wandered into our room, but soon after we moved him and Brendan into a room together and that stopped Cameron’s night time wanderings. We thought we’d gotten off pretty easily after the nightmare of a time we’d had with Brendan.
Evidently we just didn’t wait long enough. Over the past 6 months or so Cameron has been getting out of bed 2-3 times a night. He comes into my bedroom to get a hug and kiss and then goes back to bed. Sometimes he’ll just wander back there without me ever having to get out of bed and sometimes he wants to be taken back there, but either way he just crawls back into bed and goes back to sleep.
At first it was really kind of cute, and we almost wondered if he wasn’t sleep walking at night. Turns out he wasn’t and a few months of getting my sleep interrupted every single night has started taking it’s toll on me so it’s no longer cute. I go through life these days in a fog. I’m tired all the time and nap when Kaylee naps pretty much every single day. (I know I know, being a stay at home mom is such a hard job if I can find the time to nap every day).
It’s been like having a newborn all over again. The worst night came a month or two ago when over the course of the night every single one of my kids ended up coming into my room at different points and two ended up sleeping in my bed. We finally decided recently that Cameron is not going to grow out of this problem any time soon and that something needed to be done.
Being older and wiser than I was back when Brendan had this problem I wasn’t about to let Cameron start sleeping in my room on a regular basis. For starters because Kaylee is still using the toddler bed mattress and I don’t have one to throw onto my floor. The second reason is because I know deep in my heart that if I let Cameron start sleeping in here he’ll never leave. And I mean ever. I could see myself having a 40 year old bachelor still sleeping on my floor.
We tried a few things including switching the boys over to sleeping with a night light. I’m not really sure which of my two boys is scared of the dark, but they’ve slept with a lamp on in their room for as long as I can remember. I started to think that maybe the harsh light of the 25 watt bulb might be what was keeping him awake at night. So we got an LED nightlight that plugs into the wall and is therefore less apt to burn out unexpectedly. (we’ve had standard night lights in the boys room before but they both burned out and freaked out the kids so we quit buying them)
Since making the switch things have gotten some better. He’s down to coming into my room only one time a night and there are occasionally nights that he doesn’t come in. We finally decided to take him to the doctor and talk to them about it and they’ve suggested we do a sleep study on him.
No, it’s not the typical sleep study you’re thinking of. Not the kind where he has to stay up all night and then try to go to sleep hooked up to a million, billion machines. No, instead I have a chart that I have to fill out with every detail of his sleeping habits. Every night I have to mark the time he goes down to bed. Then I have to keep an eye on him and see how long it takes him to fall asleep so I can mark the amount of time between down to bed time and actual falling asleep time.
If he does wake up and come into my room I have to mark a gap in his sleep, and finally I have to notate the time that he wakes up in the morning and whether or not I had to wake him up or whether he roused himself out of bed. Along with that, if I wake him up I have to notate the amount of time between the initial wake up call and when he actually rouses himself out of the bed.
We’ve been doing the sleep study for close to a week now and it’s been interesting to see. The first night Cameron actually slept all the way through the night. He was asleep about an hour after I’d laid him down and slept all the way through to the next morning. I chuckled about it because of course he’d manage that once we are monitoring his sleep patterns. But the next night he went right back to his standard night time wanderings.
What I’ve noticed over the course of plotting this is that he’ll have a few nights of staying up late and wandering into my room and then have a night where he’s finally so exhausted that he collapses into bed and stays there all night long. I have no idea what that means, but I’m sure when we head back to the doctor that she will understand it all.
In the meantime I’ll continue to put up with interruptions to my sleep and hope that we get this problem taken care of some time before Kaylee develops the problem…or perhaps that she never goes through this whole night time wandering phase.