My positive attitude has nearly run out. I’ve managed to keep believing this would work, but each time we have a good night it’s followed by a crap one.
I am nearing the end of the Sleep Lady Shuffle and Jack has yet to sleep through the night. When I say sleep through the night I mean sleep from bed time to wake up time. There was only one night, night number 5, that I count as successful. He woke up just as I was going to bed at 10:50pm and fell asleep again by 11:33pm. He didn’t wake up again until 8am. That is the only night this has happened. He wakes up at least four times a night, one night he woke up as many as eight times. I have tried hard to stay positive, which as a generally non-positive person is really hard for me. I have given him stickers, wet myself with happiness when he has had small success, showered him with praises and followed the rules of the shuffle fairly well. The problem is I don’t think it’s helping.
I know it takes time, I know each kid is different. I know kids are only human and have good days and bad days. The books says that kids get ritualized easily, but Jack does not seem to be getting ritualized. The book talks a lot about sleep crutches, being sung, rocked, walked, patted to sleep. I wonder if the Shuffle has given him a new crutch, needing me to come calm him and shush him every time he wakes, because Jack didn’t have any of those other issues. We had a bedtime routine, he had a regular bed time and nap time. He was sleeping well at night. The only thing he had to have at bed time was his binky. Now that it’s gone I’m wondering what the heck was so bad about it?
I know, teeth growing in all crooked, but he didn’t even have it all night long, it would fall out of his mouth. He didn’t get it at any other time of day, only when he was sleeping. What’s so frustrating is that he used to be such a great kid! He’s not the devil incarnate or anything now, he’s just so tired. I’m not saying he was a perfect angel before, he is a three year old after all. All I’m saying is he used to be more well rested and because of that he was easier to deal with. He had fewer tantrums and could calm down quicker when he started to loose his temper.
Now he’s so overtired that he freaks out over the smallest thing. He has a harder time listening to me and a harder time following instructions. I know he understands what I tell him, but he just can’t calm down enough to do what he’s told. The binky helped him sleep which made him more able to focus, listen and learn. So I ask again what’s so bad about a binky?
When his doctor said get rid of the binky, I just assumed that she knew best. But does she really? She’s an excellent doctor to be sure, but she sees Jack once a year for a maximum of 20 minutes. Her knowledge of Jack doesn’t go beyond his behavior in the exam room and what I talk to her about. Now that I really think about it, I wonder if his doctor should be followed blindly on this issue. I believe that was my first mistake, assuming that the doctor knew what was best for my child. We’re told on a regular basis we know our kids best, but when our doctor says jump we’re supposed to just do it without thought? Without taking a look at our lifestyle and what would benefit our kids?
A toddler’s life is full of change, potty training, new beds, new friends, and sometimes preschool. Our life has also been full of moving and vacations away from mom. But he’s never had this reaction to change before. He embraced potty training almost from the beginning. I think he thought it was a game and the fact that he got candy was an added bonus. He was excited about his new bed, and even picked it out. Sure it took a couple days for him to get used to sleeping in it, but it wasn’t too hard.
But the binky has been a different story completely. I think that taking the binky away so abruptly was a mistake. I probably should have talked about getting rid of the binky for longer than a week. But I think the biggest issue is that he simply wasn’t ready to give it up. With potty training and with his big boy bed he was excited and eager. Saying goodbye to binky was always tinged with insecurity. But since I believed he had to get rid of it I forced it and basically handed myself over a months worth of sleepless nights.
Do I regret using the binky to begin with? Yes, a little only because it’s causing such heartache for Jack now. Do I wish I had started sleep training early, without a binky? Of course, because I’d more likely be getting sleep now. But we can’t turn back time. We can only learn from the past, so if I ever have another kid I’ll know what I want to avoid. As it stands I’m still not sleeping well and neither is Jack.
So now I’m not sure what to do. Should I keep going with the Shuffle even after it’s done, even though we’ve only had marginal success with it? Should I give his binky back and continue with the Shuffle? Then, later, follow the books suggestions for getting rid of the binky? Should I bring the binky back but with a strict set of usage rules?
Something has to happen soon because I’m terribly tired and so is the kid. When I’m tired I get irritable and grouchy. The small amounts of patience I have dissolve into feelings of rage that I suppress until I’m about to explode. Something needs to change right now and if that involves giving the binky back would that be so awful?