10/26/14

Sleep

I'm currently sitting on the floor outside my three year old's room working on various tasks on my computer.

I'm also mentally begging my child to fall asleep. Please just go to sleep so I can get off the floor and go get in my own comfy bed.

And I just remembered I still have to wash my face, take out my contacts, and brush my teeth. I despise the bedtime routine. I always have, even before we implemented the three hour please-go-to-sleep bedtime routine for the three year old.

It wasn't on purpose, and up until March of this year we had a wonderful sleeper. He never had a problem sleeping and even transitioned to a big boy bed with ease. It was too good to be true. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

Then we had a baby - and because babies don't like to sleep at night when they first enter this world she naturally slept in our room so that I could feed her at all hours of the night.

So three out of four family members slept in the same room. Do you see where this is going?

I mean I get it. I don't like to feel left out, if everybody is hanging out I want to be invited. I'm not a big party gal but if there is a party I'M THERE. Just don't leave me out.

I can only assume that Eli felt left out in his own room and own bed while the three of us shared another room. I'm sure in his mind we were having all kinds of fun in there. If he considers sleepless nights, spit up and sleeping on towels that are covering up where the baby just peed because I'm too tired to change the sheets fun then we were having A BLAST.

Pretty soon the new baby was sleeping through the night, which was fantastic, and would have been a victory in the realm of parents getting some sleep, if only the three year old would have followed suit and stayed in his bed all night.

I have to admit something. I was once a firm person. And I'm not just talking about my belly (which is no longer firm) but I was a firm YES or NO person. If I said yes I meant it if I said no I meant it and if I said never I meant it.

Oh how I wish I could go back and take back any "never" statement I ever made. Because all those times I said I would "never" let a kid sleep in my bed are coming back to mock me. Laugh at me as I sleep on the tiniest sliver of the right side of the bed while simultaneously being kicked in the ribs by three year old feet.

We've tried various tactics in the seemingly impossible task of getting Eil to fall asleep alone and stay sleeping in his own bed all night long; bribery, discipline, begging, firm voices, ALL OF IT.

One morning I woke up defeated and discouraged, which was probably due to the fact that our queen size bed had too many people sleeping in it, but I was desperate. So with coffee in one hand and desperation in the other I started seeking the advice of google for ways to get the child to stay in his bed all night.

One site suggested you take the child back to their bed without saying a word to them. Just lead them back to their room put them in bed and go on your merry way. Oh yeah that sounds like a good plan. Until you do it SEVENTEEN TIMES.

Seriously who are these people? Apparently that worked for the perfect Leave it to Beaver family, but us Trees are resilient. We are fighters. We are tired and just need some SLEEP.

I became consumed with figuring out how to get Eli to sleep in his bed all night. I worried myself sick. I made bold statements about how we were failing as parents.  When Eli joined us in bed around 3am it was as if it was a physical reminder of the awful job we were doing. Why couldn't we get our kid to stay in bed?? When did we become such failures?

I think Luke could sense my discouragement (insanity?) and reminded me that it wouldn't always be this way. Yes, right now it feels consuming, but time will pass and he will sleep in his own bed all night eventually.

Since that talk I've felt better and less like a failure (well at least in this particular area). I try to enjoy every aspect of motherhood because I know the time with my babies in my arms is short - but sometimes, some parts are just exhausting, quite literally in this case, but I also know it won't always be this way.

So for now we just roll with the punches. Sometimes we sit outside his room while he falls asleep, sometimes we lie down next to him, sometimes when we joins us at 3am we let him stay in our bed and sometimes we carry him back up to his bed (several times).

I've realized that there are no absolutes in parenting. What works for some (ahem google) doesn't work for others. And what works one week may not work the next week. It doesn't mean we are failures and it doesn't mean we won't ever reach a victory in this area. If he is 14 and still wants to sleep with us we have a problem, for now we have a normal three year old who is HOPEFULLY just going through a stage. He will sleep again.

Until then we keep moving forward. And pricing king size beds.

11 comments:

  1. LOL!!!! Back to your funny self! TRUEST post ever!!! Luke is correct, this too shall pass. We were pretty strict as parents and never allowed it even the first time….... BUT, I know soooooo many who did and getting it to end was just like your situation. It really did end…I promise!!!!!!! Usually when they are seven…No, just kidding!! I love how you parent from what I see here. He fits right in the normal category! Parent on! You are doing a great job!!

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  2. It's been a lifetime, so I wanted to pop over to take a peak at your precious family and say hello. And say hello to your li'l Princess! Oh what JOYS in your life! Hope you are enjoying His abundant blessings on your sweet clan!

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  3. I know you didn't ask for unsolicited advice from non-parents....but here I am! My aunt and uncle kept sleeping bags on their bedroom floor their kids could come in and sleep in their parents room but could not get in their bed. It always seemed like a good idea to me! I totally get not everything works for everybody though! You're doing a great job and I hope you're sleeping full nights again soon!!

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  4. Ha! We are SO in that cycle right now. We had JUST started getting our oldest to sleep in her bed through the night (without twelve thousand wake-ups) and then BAM! New baby! Everything goes OUT the window and she is back to waking up an hour or two after I put her to bed and showing up in our room. UGH. Back to square one. My husband is the WHAT ARE WE DOING WRONG type and I am the oh it'll be over before we know it type. I'll sleep eventually is what I keep telling myself.

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  5. Awwww...hope this phase is over soon for ya'll! (=

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  6. I hear you!!! We were in the same boat when our second was born. I know it sounds crazy but watch some youtube videos of supernanny dealing with bedtime battles & toddlers. It's the same "put them back into bed" routine that you'll do 18 times in a night but my husband & I felt so validated watching them & that the behavior was pretty normal. It ended up working for us with a kid who has NEVER been a good (or even a sub-par) sleeper!! Of course we have some nights where we still have to do it - we put him to bed sweetly, then the next time we go in we say sternly that it's time for bed. The third time we go in, we don't talk (and barely look at him) & usually he gets it & it stops. Good luck!! Hang in there!!

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  7. I look at it like this, someday my babies won't want to sleep with us and they will choose their friends over spending time with us. I am okay with them coming in our bed. My five year old stopped right as his sister was born a year ago. I kind of miss cuddling with my favorite little boy some nights.

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  8. I feel your pain! I honestly don't mind the 3 am kid joining us - in fact my middle just makes a spot on the floor and he's happy the nights he wanders in. That doesn't bother me. It's the hours of putting the toddler back in bed and stopping the girls from playing so they go to sleep so I can be 'off-duty' for a while that drives me up a wall. It's gotten better the past couple months but it's been a long year since my toddler learned to climb out of her crib just about a year ago and is in a toddler bed. I don't have to sit outside her door anymore to keep her in bed but I still have to redirect her back to bed a couple times most nights.

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  9. This is my EXACT life. This is it. The 3 am ninja sneaks into my bed, the firmness of my yes/no really dwindling. It is crazy! :)

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  10. I realize this is no laughing matter to you (especially at 3am...), but I couldn't help laughing at your writing in this post. Hope you get some sleep soon :)

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  11. This is my life with my 3 year old and his 7 month old brother. just letting you know that you are not alone and was hoping someone in the comments would offer a really good suggestion that would work wonders.

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