3/13/09

Sleep...

OR THE LACK THEREOF...


Einstein has never been a willing sleeper. With the exception of being a newborn, he has always been way too distracted/hyper/stubborn to just relax and allow sleep to commence. As soon as he could (six months), he stood himself up in his crib and bounced up and down. Constantly. At nine months he would jump and scream just to get picked up out of his crib. At 16 months, he climbed out and never looked back.


I would do everything I knew how to calm his little body down; rock him, hum, sing, speak to him, put on quiet music, run a fan for white noise, keep his room super dark, use a nightlight, use no nightlight, NO DISTRACTIONS ANYWHERE (i.e. toys), play hard and wear him out before naps, no sugar diet, chamomile tea, and any/all combinations of these. Sometimes it works, most times it just leaves me extremely frustrated and not in a "I love my kids" mood. We've tried to make his bed as comfortable/inviting as possible, we have a strict bedtime routine which he is fully aware of and participates in, and I don't know what else to do! I have even resorted to death threats if he's not asleep in f.i.v.e. m.i.n.u.t.e.s. Okay, not real death threats, but definitely some heated discussions and red bums. (Don't judge until you've tried to be his sleep enforcer.) It gets reeeeaaaaally old day in-day out twice a day (nap & bed).

Einstein does not fall asleep until after 4pm most days (this is after putting him down for a nap at 12 or 1), and does not fall asleep at night until after 10pm (with a bedtime of 7-7:30). TEN PM!!! He has since ripped out the curtain rods from the walls (it was only screwed into drywall, but still. Come on, kid! Why do you destroy everything you touch?), shredded one of the window screens, and made countless destructive messes during naptime because he has been using this time to build bombs instead (at least it feels that way, lest we forget his lovely artwork. That's happened more. than. once.) In a few words, he is so totally bored during nap time (when he should be sleeping, mind you) that he just finds trouble and continues escalating. I am going out of my mind. Let me tell you, he is becoming the best form of Birth Control ever. I DO NOT want to put myself through this with another kid! :) Or at least I would like girls from here on out, please. (only sort of kidding)

When, oh when will he figure out that sleep is a lovely, wonderful luxury???


This is W A R.
And I need better ammunition.

I need your help! What do you do to get your kids to bed? I need out of the ordinary, creative ideas to get your toddler to go to SLEEP!!!

I keep thinking, 'is this just some sort of motherly rite of passage? Do all of us have to go through this at one point? Or is it just me???' Try as I may, I just can not get his brain to unwind! And his actions are seriously driving me to the brink of insanity!
Give me your tips and tricks. I AM BEGGING you!!!
I want my firstborn to get from this...


(yes, that's formula. And him on the counter. I still don't know how he heaved himself up there; there were no signs of chairs anywhere!)


Back to this! Satisfied with sleep!



(10/23/06)

I love that Einstein is so intelligent and brave and adventurous, but is this the price I have to pay to have such an amazing handful??? Please give me your secrets for a happy boy and a happy mom!

23 devoted readers:

Joey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carli Webb said...

I feel your pain! Kennedy NEVER sleeps! She can scream in her crib for hours and still not sleep. I have even tried benydryl. That has the opposite effect and makes her even more hyper. It is so hard to listen to her scream...but at least she has no clue how to get out of her crib yet. Here is what my good friend did and it worked for her! She put up a tent and an air mattress inside of it and put it in his room. She gives his a flashlight, zips him up, locks it and leaves. WHenever he finally goes to sleep (sometimes over an hour later, she takes the lock off the tent so that he can come out in the morning. Genious? I think so!

hopelesslyharen said...

We struggle with E sleeping too...although she hasn't figured out how to climb out of her crib yet (thank goodness). My only reprieve has been Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I love that book. It's been helpful for us...Good luck!

Rachel said...

Is he a tactile kid?? Try letting him play with beans or rice in a jar during the day. It's extremely stimulating. Trying rubbing him down (like trying to keep him warm rubbing) before or right after his bath. It helps release that extra energy. Good luck

Tiffany said...

I have no good advice- sorry. but hang in there! You are an awesome mommy!

Nikki~Down syndrome Storyteller said...

Sister Sarah, I love you and FEEL YOUR PAIN! As the mom of a child just like Linc, I'm going to give you some very sad news. It's going to really disapoint you, but it's better that you accept it now. Ready?
You will have to take away his nap. Really. I know that every other kid his age has a nap, and yes, I hated them too. I hated when people would say...oh can't you just do that when he's asleep? NO, lady, my child is a freak of nature who doesn't need a lot of sleep like your kid who needs like 18 hours. Mine needs 10. Sometimes 11 if he's really tired.
This way he will be really tired at night and he *should* (no promises) go to sleep earlier/quicker. And whatever you do, DON'T let him crash at 4 pm!! That is certain death for bedtime! Keep the boy awake at all costs. He may still occasionally nap but not often. Jake gave up naps at around 2 1/2. Yes it really sucked because I needed the break. Didn't get one. I just plowed through. Now he's in 1st grade and a great kid. He helps me a lot and does all the things I need him to do. I promise it will get better. It will take a few years, however. Keep at it! Sorry and I love you!

Nikki~Down syndrome Storyteller said...

I just remembered another thing I did for some relief...we would go on "nap drives" where I would strap the kids in and just aimlessly drive with the radio on. Jason would sleep and sometimes Jacob would sleep. Most of the time he just enjoyed the drive. Yes, I was driving, but it was a break for me when the tornado was strapped in his carseat and nothing was being destroyed.

Sarah said...

OH MY GOSH NIKKI!!!!!! I was so afraid of that, but I'm pretty sure where this is headed. BTW, I am totally LAUGHING SO HARD at your descriptions! It must run in the family, 'cuz dad said we were all drugged up on Benadryl for most of our naps! :) That explains a lot to me, lol!!! I think I should just say hello to more time in the driver's seat.
>sigh<

Josh said...

Lock him in a room with Al Gore.

Ashley said...

Oh you poor girl! I haven't experienced this myself yet, but I do know from my mom that I was a really bad sleeper as a child (and still am, really! My whole life!) and I started refusing to nap at 18 months old. She had a hard time with it, but just had to accept that I wasn't ever going to take naps anymore. No matter what she did, I wouldn't take them. I know, I deserve to have a kid just like me. I'd say instead of the nap you could put on a movie for him or something and let him watch that on the couch, if he'll sit still for a whole movie. It would at least be a bit of a break for you!

Roni said...

Sarah,

You don't hear much from me, but my first thoughts on reading your blog was that the nap has to go. Some kids just don't need a lot of sleep. I took Caitlin's nap away when she was less than 2 1/2. Life got a little better. She actually went to sleep at night and didn't get up at insane hours of the morning--as a mother of a newborn, I needed this. So, I agree with Nicki..take the nap out. We tried doing hour long quiet times where Caitlin had to remain in her room and do something. That was a hit and miss situation. Eventually, Caitliin would watch a movie while Mary had her nap and that was my down time.

Now, Caitlin is six and still sometimes doesn't need as much sleep as the normal child. On the other side, Mary loves sleep and took naps until she was more than 3 1/2.

Good Luck! Caitlin sounds a lot like Lincoln in the hyperactivity--they definitely keep us busy.

Alyosha said...

Some kids need less sleep. My oldest has always needed way less than my second. Take away the nap and read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Sleep begets sleep.

Nathan said...

Sudafed, benadryl, mallets.

Matt & Brooke said...

At least he's cute:) We had some friends that had to tie their toddler to his bed (in some safe way). Sounds good to me.

Maura said...

I'm sorry, Sarah. No more naps for Lincoln :( My kids were never great nappers, either - Laurel is already getting very erratic with naps (sometimes she conks out at 10 am, sometimes she just screams for an hour until I get her out) which is the precursor to giving them up totally. If she doesn't fall asleep in an hour, I just get her out and count the screaming hour as "quiet time" (how ironic).

Just to make us all jealous: Leah told me that Zack took two naps a day until he was FOUR. I think Patch paid her back for that!

You have officially entered the Insane Mom Years - post-naps, pre-kindergarten, no babysitter-age kids! Don't worry, your own exhaustion will blunt future memories of this time in your life :).

Hazen5 said...

Payton was not a good napper after about age 2 1/2. So, when she finally did fall asleep, her nap time was over. I couldn't let her sleep longer, because then she wouldn't sleep at night. So, I took away her naps and started to put her to bed earlier, about 7:30. All my kids go to bed between 7:30-8:00!

Ruth said...

So I think you have probably received all the advice you need, but I just wanted to share mine. :) I have been so lucky because Marianne had slept through the night since she was about a month old, and now she sleeps about 10-12 hours through the night. I think I just got lucky with her, but this is what I did that I think helped: I couldn't listen to her scream, so I arranged her schedule to make sure that she would be tired at bedtime. The two main things I did were:

1. not let her sleep in at ALL, or even take long naps in the morning, because if you think about it, back in the days when you could sleep in, it always throws you off a little bit and makes you stay up really late that night. It's the same for babies/toddlers. I let her nap in the late morning and/or afternoon. Not only that, but I try to stimulate her in the mornings by playing with her so that she gets tired later. Like instead of leaving her in her swing I'll play with her.

2. Although I let her nap in the afternoon, I never let her sleep past about 4 or 5pm, otherwise she won't be tired at bedtime.

I also realize that Marianne is an infant and Lincoln is a toddler, and I have no experience with toddlers and so this advice may not be helpful at all. But there's my 2 cents anyway. :) Good luck!!!!

queenieweenie said...

Hailey was a CRAPPY sleeper when she was a baby...now she's a teenager and she can never get ENOUGH sleep-go figure.

Michele said...

Naps! I mean for Mommie.
I feel your pain.

Mareena said...

My neice was the same way about not sleeping well - in talking with my sister-in-law recently, she divluged that their daughter stopped napping before she was 2... but goes to bed at 6:30 PM. So... no naptime for them, but at least she NOW gets some evening hours in peace. Sounds like Linc may need the same. Good luck!

We're just the reverse - Elizabeth is still a phonemenal sleeper/napper, but Evan has been our challenge (at 8 months STILL waking several times a night, not napping well... after we thought we had it all figured out with his sister.) Just goes to show that the same tricks don't work on all kids... Good luck!

The Thorsons said...

I agree with Nikki, you may just have to drop the nap, and maybe you can get him to do another quiet activity in it's place, watch a movie, or a puzzle, or books, or something just for your sanity. Carli's tent idea didn't sound too bad either, at least for bed time.

Brian and Leah said...

Well, my comments are a little late, but I agree--No More Naps! Save a favorite activity for "quiet time" while Orion is napping.

Zack was a great sleeper, and yes, Patch paid me back 10 fold!!

Another thing is physical activity mid-day and nothing too stimulating after dinner (HA-just try).

Motherhood is exhausting. Physically when they are young and more emotionally when they are a little older. BUT they do a lot more for themselves while you rest on the couch from all those years of bedtime struggle!

All of us Moms with older kids really understand and sympathize with you. In the moment it seems like it will never end. But then you find yourself looking at a 10 year old in size 14 slims wondering where the years went and long for the time when things were simpler. Oh, it really happens!!

Hope things are going better for you and sleepy-time. Love you!! Leah

Mrs.Smith said...

Oooooooh, man. Tough kid. Definitely gotta read that book! In all your spare time - haha.