Sleep in Your Own %$!@# Bed

Before I became a parent, I swore on my Dunkin’ iced coffee that I would never allow my children to sleep in my bed. Ever. Well, maybe when they were sick. But, that was it. No other time would they ever be allowed into my sacred place. Fast forward a few years and a couple of kids later and you’ll see a regular visitor in my bed nearly every night.

I don’t know what it is, but my four-year-old loves my bed more than a Caillou marathon. If you knew my child, you would know that is saying a lot. The funny thing is, she never used to be that way. But, it seems as though she booked part of her summer vacation in our bed…with a one way ticket. She falls asleep in her own bed, but then there’s some mystery as to what happens in the middle of the night. All of a sudden, I hear the pitter patter of little feet down the hallway followed by someone climbing on my back to get right in the middle of the bed to find “her” spot. Within seconds she is fast asleep. I, on the other hand, am slightly annoyed and uncomfortable. Take this routine and multiply it by seven and you have my week.

Aggravated with the sleeping conditions in my house, I naturally turned to the internet to help. All of those baby sites must have some heavenly advice to get my child back in bed and me not clinging on to the edge of the bed like I’m going to fall off a cliff. Of course many of the “experts” say you just have to keep walking them back to their beds. Trust me, I’ve done that plenty of times. It only leads to a repeat performance an hour or so later and me drinking a gallon of coffee the next day. A real lose-lose if you ask me. Other sites suggested putting a sleeping bag along my bed so she is in the room but not attached to my back. I can tell you that would go over like throwing away all the Caillou videos in my house. So, that option is out the window. There was one suggestion that peaked my interest…the sleep fairy. I had never heard of this magical creature. I think she’s the tooth fairy’s third cousin. See, she leaves little gifts under kids’ pillows when they sleep in their beds the whole night. If you’re not in your bed, she can’t find you, thus you lose out. I really thought this would work. I told my daughter all about this wonderful fairy who was going to make all of our dreams come true. Her eyes lit up and I thought we were really onto something. After a couple of nights of still sleeping in our bed, she asked why the sleep fairy didn’t come and leave her a gift. I explained for the 100th time that she had to sleep in her bed for this gimmick to work. She said “oh” and finished her pretend picnic. Let me tell you, she could care less. The sleep fairy better find another house. Ugh.

My next step was to talk to the pediatrician during her yearly check-up. She also suggested the sleeping bag thing. When I told her that would never work, she suggested a sticker chart with a reward system. You see, I had been taking things away because my daughter wasn’t sleeping in her bed. I was told to try positive reinforcement instead. How about me booking a room at the Hyatt? That sounds pretty positive to me. So instead, I introduced the whole sticker chart thing with a tier of prizes. The first would be a trip to Nuvita for frozen yogurt. She loves that place so I thought this had to work. Well, a week later I have sheets of princess stickers, an empty calendar, and a craving for Nuvita. Ugh.

The doctor did say she would grow out of this. I mean how many 15 year-olds do you know who still sleep in their parent’s beds? So, I guess there is still hope. Until then, perhaps I have to bring the sleep fairy with us to Nuvita with stickers and a calendar for all of this to work.

Late to Bed, Early to Rise…Ugh!

I know, I know, I talk a lot about sleep on here. But, if you’re a parent, you know that besides food and poop, sleep is right up there when it comes to popular kids’ topics. Sleep is also one of the many things you sacrifice when you join the parenting clique…that along with not getting to pee and get dressed by yourself.

Using any form of logic, it would make sense that if you went to bed later than usual, you would get up later. Right? I mean, I know that’s what used to happen to me before I got my 5, and 7 a.m. wake-up calls. But, when it comes to kids, you can throw logic out the window. Don’t try to think you’ve got them and their quirky ways figured out because they’ll just throw you curve ball after curve ball, especially when dealing with sleeping patterns.

We had some special occasions lately which meant the girls went to bed later than normal. I thought, oh thank you sweet baby Jesus! They will sleep later and if I get up a little earlier, I’ll have some silent “me” time along with my cup of Joe. Honestly, that was just downright dumb. Shame on me. They actually got up about an hour or so earlier and woke me up from my Adam Levine and Jon Bon Jovi dream. Both hotties were asking me out for a date. Just as I was about to choose, I hear “Mom, Mom…Momeeee!”. Adam? Jon? Then I hear another “Mommy”. No, neither dude because the slight scream was followed by the dash of little feet. As I opened my eyes, still waiting to hear who I picked for a date, I saw my little three-year-old angel. I could still here her little sister waiting for her one way ticket out of the crib! No date for me. I still wonder who was going to ask me out, but I digress.

Now, back to reality where once again, logic would have you assume the kids would wake up cranky and overtired. Well, you know what happens when you assume. These chicks had more energy then someone on a Red Bull I-V. I. Just. Don’t Get. It.

So, what have we learned here? There is no logic when dealing with kids. Some kids don’t need extra sleep (lucky me). Oh, and yeah, I guess it is all worth it because I know they will be teenagers one day sooner than I would like and I’ll be dragging their butts out of bed with plenty of attitude thrown at me. So, sweet dreams!

Sleep Training Bootcamp: The Sequel

When it comes to movies, the sequels are never usually ever as good as the originals. In my case, that’s not true. In my house “Sleep Training Bootcamp, Part II” well surpasses part one. If you follow my posts, you remember back in October when I talked about trying to get my youngest daughter to sleep through the night. At that point she was just one year old and had pretty much woke up at least two to three times every night of her little life. To avoid waking up her big sister, my husband or I (really, mostly me) would go in her room to try to get the little beast, I mean angel, to go back to sleep. That meant mommy was one cranky beast herself.

Of course the pediatrician advised to let her cry it out. I unwillingly went along with the plan. I felt like such a bad mommy not coming to her rescue. To my surprise it worked…for awhile. I really thought we were on the road to sweet dreams. But really, it was just a tease. Her shenanigans started up again pretty quickly due to a monster called Hurricane Sandy. That female dog ruined any little pattern I tried to get off the ground. We lost power for a few days and had to stay elsewhere. Try getting a kid to adapt to a routine in an unfamiliar place! Once we were back home, she got a cold. What kind of monster mom would I be if I let her howl while she was sick? So, I did what any pushover mom would do, I started picking her up again…and again…and again…for the next three months.

Now, we’re at her fifteen month check-up and I’m at my wits end. Once again, I had the same talk with the pediatrician. She pretty much told me I was screwed if I didn’t let her cry it out. So I did. The first couple of nights she did just that…cry it out…for more than one hour. But then, something magical happened, she laid back down and went back to sleep…on her own. The next night, same thing, but the symphony lasted a mere 45 minutes. Holy mother of Pampers I think we’re on to something! Fast forward a few more nights and her greatest hits were down to about ten minutes. I could almost predict the pattern..same time, same place, same routine, but better. She actually falls asleep on her own now consistently without me having to get up!

Granted, there are still those nights when I do need to get up because she’s woken up her sister, or the whole neighborhood (just kidding), but for the most part this is working so much better the second time around. No more waking up three or four times a night! Thank goodness because the bags under my eyes were getting too heavy! Sweet dreams, night night:)

Sleep Training Boot Camp

   My kids are horrible sleepers. Okay, maybe not horrible, but they certainly wouldn’t win any awards. They wouldn’t even get an honorable mention. I’ll admit, my oldest has gotten better, although she sometimes likes to come in Mommy and Daddy’s bed. But, my youngest is a problem. She’s one and I think she’s only slept through the night once during her young life. She wakes up anywhere from two to five times a night. She doesn’t just cry. She screams and wails like there is an exorcism going on. It really doesn’t get much more annoying than that. So being the sucker that I am, I would pick her up and nurse her back to sleep. Yeah, I know, bad idea. But, again, I can be a sucker. The pediatrician has been telling me I need to let her cry it out. I would just nod and smile because that never really seemed to work. That is, until now.

   Last week, we started what I like to call “Sleep Training Boot Camp”. I’ll admit I used to laugh at people who told me they had to train their kids to sleep. I even read some articles online about the different training methods, but they actually put me to sleep. Who would think that some kids need to learn how to be good sleepers? Not me. After a week or so of this stuff, I have to admit it, it actually works. I’ve followed the instructions and instead of putting her to bed asleep, I’m actually putting her down when she’s still kinda awake so she can get comfy herself.

   Fast forward a couple of hours when she wakes up. I hear the wailing through my little monitor. I wait a few minutes. If she doesn’t stop, I go in the room. I know I’m not supposed, but baby steps people. But, I don’t pick her up. I may rub her back as she body slams herself on her mattress out of frustration. But, I let her work it out. I’ll be damned, she actually does! She’s actually getting back to sleep without me doing much to help her! Are you ready for the best part? I’m actually getting some quality sleep! Score! I know we still have a ways to go before we’re not hearing a peep from her. For now, I’ll take it. Now, back to boot camp!

Dear Sleep,

Dear Sleep,
   You and I have had a rocky relationship these past few weeks. Was it something I said or did? We used to be BFFs. I know, I know, the two little ones are really cramping our style these days. Whah, whah, whah…Mommy, Mommy, Mommy. It’s the “Sleepless Symphony No. 5” that keeps playing in this house. I know. If it’s not one, it’s the other these days. But that doesn’t mean it has to be the end of us.
   Can you help me get them to bed and stay there? The little one is just a baby, so maybe we can give her a pass. But still, up every hour and a half? Give Momma a break! The only ones who are making out in this are Dunkin’ and Starbucks. Momma tired! Hopefully the babe will find a new love for her cereal and then she can sleep for a few more hours. The tot is pretty consistent with her 3 a.m. cries for Mommy or Daddy. God help us if we don’t answer them! She takes matters into her own hands. She runs down the hallway and comes right into our room. She usually gets an escort back to her bed, but sometimes we just can’t take it! We’re so tired, she just ends up with us. Pipe down anti co-sleepers. I’m one of you too, but sometimes you have to pick your battles, ya know what I mean?
   I can’t remember when you and I bonded for eight straight hours, can you? It would be nice to cozy up and dream of Jon Bon Jovi just like the old days without anyone crying and interrupting just before I get to go on stage and get serenaded with “Bed of Roses”. Ahhhh…
   From what I hear, we are not going to really be able to hang out like the old days for another 18 years! OMG! In the meantime, can you promise me one thing? Can we hang out as much as we can and really cherish whatever time together we have? I miss u lots!
   A Very Sleep Deprived Kristina

Three’s a Crowd

  You’ve heard the saying….two’s company, three’s a crowd…well nothing can be more true when it comes to sleeping and kids. I have to admit up front that I am really against letting kids sleep in their parents’ bed. Call me mean, but the only time I think it’s o-k is when they’re sick, because who doesn’t need a little extra TLC when they’re feeling icky? I just think once they get used to sleeping with you and your spouse on a regular basis, they are going to think that’s the norm. Sorry to say it’s not. I am coming to painfully realize that breaking bad habits isn’t easy, especially with kids. So why start another one?
  With that said, I think you can guess that my daughter has taken up sleeping with mommy and daddy on a semi-regular basis. This is her M-O….we put her in her bed. She’ll sleep there for a few hours, wake-up, and call for one of us. When no one comes to her rescue, she takes it upon herself to get out of her toddler bed and come into our room. (Boy do I miss the crib days) Although the bed is too high for her, she scales it like Mount Everest, finds her spot between us and snuggles in for the rest of the night. She falls asleep instantly, which tells me she didn’t have any real problem while in her bed. She wasn’t wet, hungry, or sick. She apparently just wanted some company. If you try to take her out and put her back in her bed, holy hell breaks loose. There is screaming, arms flying, feet stomping….all at 2 or 3 in the morning. Lovely. Sometimes we try to be hard with her and keep her in her bed, other times, sleepiness wins, and we fold like Gumby. I know, I know, we’re not helping the situation, but sometimes you just gotta sleep!
  Some people tell me it’s just a phase she’s going through because we are expecting baby number two very soon. Parents who have lived through this hell, say she knows someone else is coming and doesn’t want to feel left out. Lord only knows what’s down the road when the baby actually gets here and is in our room (in his or her bassinet mind you) for awhile. They all tell me she will grow out of it. When? Others say she could be afraid of the dark. But she has a really nice night light and has never been afraid of the dark before. Maybe she’s having nightmares, who knows? She used to love sleeping in her big girl bed…alone…every night….for awhile now. I would really love if she could communicate what the problem is when we ask. But we’re not up to that point yet. Does anyone have any suggestions to get her back in her own bed or do we just have to suck it up for awhile?