There was a time when my son would go to bed with very little struggle. We had our routine down to an art. Putting on Pj’s, brushing teeth, reading stories, singing a song, then into bed to go to sleep. The worst it ever got was sometimes he’d want me to sing his lullaby again once he was in bed. He would sleep well, until about 7:30 or 8am when he would wake up and read or play quietly in his room. Not only did he do bedtime well at home, but it was so easy to take him places. He could go to sleep almost anywhere. Until the day I took him to his 3 year check up and the doctor told me to get rid of his binky.
I knew it would be hard. Kiddo loves his binky very, very much. I knew there would be a time of adjustment. I just didn’t realize it would take such a long time. I decided to postpone taking the binky away because I was going out of the country for a week and thought it would make the time away even harder for Jack. So when I returned from Mexico I told Jack we’d be saying goodbye to his binky. We made a special box, decorated with paints and stickers. We kissed binky goodbye and I hid it away in the closet with his other baby things. That night I was prepared for crying, what I wasn’t prepared for was the negotiating. That kid managed to keep me in his room a full hour and a half after bedtime. Finally I walked away thinking things would be fine now he was asleep.
That night I woke at least three times to a crying 3 year old. I thought about the cry it out method. So I went in to soothe him for 15 minutes. 15 minutes turned into an hour, an hour to an hour and a half. I didn’t know what to do. There was nothing to soothe him, besides me singing myself hoarse or rubbing his back.
I left him crying in his bed for the third time. I lay in my own bed wondering what the hell I should do. I have a neighbor that works everyday, early in the morning, I wondered if she could hear Jack. I told myself it would be similar to the first time we “cried it out.” It would take about a week for Jack to adjust to the new routine.
Over a month later I’m still clinging to that idea. Just a few more days I tell myself, then it will be back to peaceful slumber all night long. Every night I wonder how much longer this could possibly go on. Then there will be a random night where bedtime goes smoothly and only takes about 20 minutes. He’ll sleep through the night, and wake the next morning in a great mood. I think, Yes! He’s done it, he’s adjusted, I get to sleep like a normal person again. But then my positive attitude is repaid the next night with the most craptastic bedtime yet.
I thought maybe his lamp and sound machine were keeping him awake. So this weekend we went out and got a Slumber Buddy.
So far he seems to like it. I’m not sure how much it’s actually helping though. I think what I need to do now it just leave the kiddo alone. I feel like a terrible mother, but I don’t know what else to do, but just not go in his room when he starts to cry. I read an article that said a lot of children need to re-learn how to soothe themselves at this age. So unless he’s had a nightmare and needs comforting don’t go in. My problem is I don’t know the difference between crying because he can’t get back to sleep and crying because he’s had a scary dream. If I ask if he had a bad dream of course he says he has. But I don’t know if it’s true. He’ll say anything to keep me in that room. Last night I listened to what he was saying, first he was saying he wanted me, then he said he needed water, then he said his belly hurt, then he said it was scary, then he said he wanted a song, then a story, then he said he wanted to sleep in my bed. Finally he ran out of steam and fell asleep.
What’s more is that putting him to bed at someone else’s house is such an ordeal. It takes a long time and I’ll just have to wake him up when it’s time to leave. A lot of the time now I’ll just let him stay up and then put him to bed when we get home. But that makes bedtime even worse when we get home because he’s so over tired. The battle is totally different when he’s overtired. There’s no negotiating just rubbing his eyebrow until he’s asleep, then creeping out of the room.
I’m at the end of my rope. I’m pulling out my hair, I don’t know what else to do. I do know that I need to get sleep. We just started a reward chart yesterday, complete with stickers and bitchin’ rewards, like a new toy, or a trip to gramma’s house. The night before I bribed him to sleep with promises of pancakes and SpongeBob Squarepants. (I kept both promises by the way.) Any helpful suggestions? Seriously I’m open to anything short of drugging him or giving him whiskey.