When it comes to my children I’ve always considered myself quite lucky. I know lots and lots of moms that either deal or have dealt with getting their babies to sleep through the night. I was not one of those moms. Every one of my kids started sleeping soundly through the night well before my maternity leave was over. The conversation with other moms was the same every time. “Ugh. You’re so lucky. You know you’re not going to be that lucky with your next kid. It’ll be more like mine, a monster who still won’t sleep through the night at 18 months.” But kid after kid it was the same for me. How lucky was I to get three perfect babies who were content to sleep through the night at 6-8 weeks?
What I failed to realize was that my luck would be short lived. Or at least that I’d face the same problems as other moms, just in a different time frame. I’ve written about it before, but to recap Brendan went through a phase when he was about 4 years old where he would wake up around midnight and wander into my room. Every. Single. Night. It got so bad that we eventually threw a mattress onto our floor and just let him sleep in our room. It took more than 6 months to break him of the habit, and another few months of refining to find the best technique to keep him in his bed at night.
Cameron went through a similar phase last year. We had more experience and had learned from our experience with Brendan not to let him sleep in our room. Night after night he’d wander into our room and we would direct him back to his own. After a while he started coming in for no more than a hug and kiss before scampering back to bed himself which seemed like a blessing at first. But after a while I began to notice that he was coming in 2 sometimes 3 times every single night. And although I didn’t need to get out of bed to take care of him it was still like having a newborn all over again because my sleep was interrupted about every two hours.
We dealt with Cameron’s sleep issues for close to a year before finally figuring out that he was dealing with ADHD and this was one of the symptoms of it. With some help from our doctor we worked to retrain him to sleep through the night. The technique involved keeping him up for hours past his bedtime to ensure he would fall asleep immediately when he went to bed. Once we did that for a bit we could slowly push his bedtime back to where it was originally. In doing so we taught him to associate his bed with sleeping which should, in theory, make him more tired and wanting to sleep when we put him to bed. While that sounds like a load of garbage it really worked, and we have almost no issues with him getting out of bed in the night.
It’s only been 6 months since we broke Cameron of the nighttime wandering habit. We’ve been praying that Kaylee might just skip this phase. Her fourth birthday is fast approaching which seems to be about the time that my kiddos develop their poor sleeping habits. And while I’m not willing to say she’s hit the same point as the boys yet, she has gotten up every night this week. Sometimes its because of a nightmare, other times because she has to go to the bathroom. Once because she fell asleep watching a movie with Cameron and she got scared when she woke up because the movie was of and Cameron was missing (he was in his own bed by that time). Whatever the reason it’s been the same thing night after night.
Most of the time I get up and patiently walk her back to her own bed. She’s got a radio in her room which usually helps sooth her back to sleep (another thing we picked up on after year of dealing with this issue). But there are also nights like last night where she didn’t wander into my room until 5 am. Matt’s alarm was due to go off in less than 30 minutes so I just let her crawl into bed with me for that short time.
I’m really not sure why all of the sudden she’s getting up in the night. Things are very different with her than they ever were with the boys. At her age both of my boys napped for a good two hours every single day. They also went to bed at 7:00. With Kaylee there is almost never time to lay her down for a nap because we are so busy. And when we do lay her down she almost never falls asleep. As for bedtime, again our busy schedule is such that we usually don’t get her into bed before 8:00. Which is actually okay. The boys went to bed so early at her age because we had to get them up around 5:30 in the morning so Matt and I could drop them at daycare before work. Now that the kids all get to sleep in until 7:00 on school days we’ve moved everybody’s bedtime later.
All I know is that I am not ready to face another 6-8 months of interrupted sleep every night. I sincerely hope that if Kaylee is following in her brothers’ footsteps that her anti-sleep stage is short lived. I’m getting much too old to get up in the middle of the night.