Thursday, July 5, 2007

Why is it that we are still talking about sleep?

Matthew is 26 months old - soon to be 27 months old. And yet we still struggle with sleep. That has always been a "major" issue in our household. We did not have that perfect angelic child who slept through the night from day one. Naps are a snap but bed time is/was/has been H-E-L-L through out the past 26 months.

I hate that time of day when we start talking about getting ready for bed - or as Matthew asks "time for napping?" It makes shudder to just think about bed time right at this moment. It is a battle of the worst kind. We have tried everything known to toddler kind, literally. I mean it. Kevin & I both have theories and ideas about how to make bed time easier. We try them, exchange ideas, see if they work and dump them out after several weeks of frustrated attempts to keep things status quo, to make sure things work. We have simplified, done quiet time, tried crying it out, compulsively made the routine routine, we have tried snacks, bribery, begging, screaming at the tops of our lungs... ah hem, I mean... er, we have tried everything. It sucks quite frankly.

Sleep (and the potty)- if only I could conquer these issues... I would then perhaps consider having a 2nd baby even!

Let me just say that it is not keeping my son asleep at night that is the issue (OMG pounding on the wood so as not to jinx us...), it is the act of actually getting Matthew to sleep that is the issue. I was happy to hear yesterday other moms (and dads) stating they have similar issues - not because I am happy they to are frustrated but because we are not alone in our issues. That always helps - misery does love company, you know?!

I am all over that - "omg yeah my son totally does that too." "oh you had to move the toddler bed back to a crib too!?" I can hardly contain my excitement to find others who have similar issues. It is suckalious to talk to parents who tell me that they have never had this issue or that - it makes me feel lonely. I want to cry at my failure as a parent to not be able to guide my young prodigy(because we all know he is brillant, right. Right?!) to learn to go to sleep. by himself. in a real bed. AFTER HAVING GONE POOPY AND PEE PEE IN A TOILET - ah but that is another issue all together.

I search in vain for the answer and even with all that company I am still miserable at the end of the day (haha, I am SO punny...) One of my favorite searches turned up on eHow (and if you have never looked things up on eHow - try it, it is fun and amusing all at once...)

" Be patient. If your toddler has trouble getting to sleep, that doesn't necessarily mean he has a sleep disorder ' it may just reflect the fact that being awake is so much fun. Work on the sleep routine at a rate your child can handle, and everything should be OK."

Yeah okay what about working on a sleep routine at a rate that mommy and daddy can handle because we are looking at the year 2010 before Matthew actually gets his routine and goes to sleep without a struggle! Ah and good to know he does not "necessarily" have a sleep disorder...

Keep him busy during the daytime. Most toddlers have lots of energy and enjoy going to the park or playground to work some of it off." - I love how it is implied that our toddler stays at home with someone so he can go to the park or playground to burn off his energy. Grrr... nothing like alienating the working parent! Yeah so I was thinking about this part of my post and I am being a bit sensitive, I KNOW, but still... I mean come on!

Oh and this is promising:
"It is a disturbing myth that a gentle sleep plan is slow and a cry-it-out plan is quick. The TRUTH is that either method can bring quick results. But in most cases, either way, cry or no cry, it will take weeks or months before a child is going to sleep easily and sleeping all night every night. Just like teaching a child to walk, talk, or use the potty, there is no one-day solution. And there is no simple one-size-fits-all solution."

As she runs from her computer screaming, in tears and her co-workers are left to wonder "what?"

This person - Elizabeth Pantley - who wrote The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night which I tried to slog my way through when Matthew was a wee tot wrote a great book. She has excellent advise but not if you are (extended) nursing. Matthew was just an aggressive nurser - I wonder how the hell I will handle nursing with a new baby and a toddler (mostly if I will be able to go for any where near as along as I went with Matthew - again another story, another time...)

She offers helpful advise on this go around (and I rather like Liz has a came to think of her back in the day...): "The best bedtime for most toddlers and preschoolers is between 6:30 and 7:30 PM; it's a biological thing. If we don't listen to the biological call we miss bedtime and then a child gets a second wind and is up until 11 p.m.

First, make sure your child isn't taking a long, late nap. For example, some people let their child take a dinnertime nap, which with a little nudge can become an early bedtime.

And an interesting thing I learned: When I surveyed children about sleep, a surprising 97% of kids gave the same answer to the question, "How do you know its bedtime?" The answer was "Mommy tells me." Or "Daddy tells me." This gives parents more power than they realized. They may have never realized that setting a bedtime is as simple as setting a bedtime!

So create that peaceful bedtime routine I've been talking about and set an earlier bedtime. It really, really helps if that routine takes place for an hour and is quiet, peaceful and dimly lit. Bright lights and noise prevent tiredness."

Kevin & I have discussed that some of the "getting Matthew to bed" issues may include the length of time Matthew naps, the fact that Matthew is so excited to be around us at the end of the day, the fact that he thinks when we put him to bed it is equal to us leaving him at day care during the day and, finally, we have solo bed time routines now a days. Both of us do not assist. Having both of us involved seemed to get him revved up rather then quieted down. I think we just need to tighten things up in terms of bed time routine and hunker down and know that eventually Matthew will get a bed time down (and it will be before he turn 16 and by that time OMG let's DEFINITELY NOT go there...)

Holy long post batman. If your still hanging with me, have a lovely day filled with hopes for a good night sleep!

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