Friday, September 5, 2008

Tears of Frustration & Sleep Deprivation

Where do I start? I'm just not quite sure... I believe my tear ducts will be completely dried up by the time I have this baby. For the last month now I have spent many nights crying (typically around 4:30am). I no longer know what to do and am hopeful that some of you may be able to give me your advice.

Isaac has been waking up at least twice a night wanting to come into our room to sleep or wanting Doug or myself to sleep with him in his room. Many nights he claims he's scared and so we of course talk calmly to him, explaining that things are okay and there's nothing to be afraid of. We snuggle him, give him hugs and kisses, leave the bathroom light on, and make sure he has his teddy bear "Sammy". This all usually occurs around 12:30am. Then roughly 2 hours later he wakes up again and comes to our bedroom door. This time we tell him to go back to bed that everything is okay- he cries and does not stop crying. Not only does he cry but he screams at the top of his lungs. Finally we get up and take him back into his room, get him in bed- this is when he claims that something hurts (his head, his eyes, his knee, his foot, his neck, his back... occasionally he will go through all these things in one night). Eventually he falls back asleep only to wake up again at about 4:30am. This is where I lose it. I'm exhausted. This pregnancy is so physically draining on me and I desperatly need sleep to survive during the day. It's rare for Doug to get up with Isaac at night (unless I'm drowning in tears) because he gets up early for work. (And he really needs his sleep considering he operates heavy machinery and drives long hours).

So 4:30am rolls around and the crying and screaming begins again. This time I'm no longer able to be the nice mom. (Which of course I know doesn't help). So I try a little love and logic, giving him choices. "Would you like to go to sleep in your bed with the bathroom light on or sleep in your bed with the light off?" OR "Would you like to sleep with a warm blanket or be cold at night?". Let me tell you- Love and Logic just does not work with this kid. So then I result in threatening to take things away (teddy bear, pillow, blanket, favorite toys for the week)... and then I actually do take those things away. Think it works? Nope! He continues to get up several times every night crying, screaming, wanting to sleep in our room (and not only in our room on the floor but in our room in our bed).

I suppose I should also explain to you that little Bella sleeps in our room. However she sleeps in her toddler bed next to me (our goal is to get her into her room... another task I'm so not looking forward to!) So when all of this is happening with Isaac- well you can only guess, Bella wakes up crying. So not only am I dealing with one child who will not sleep- but it is almost always two!

Last night was the cake topper- I couldn't stop the tears from flowing. I was furious, exhausted, frustrated, and just a mess. We took the advice of a few family members and chose to lock our door after he came in the 2nd time (this being 4:30am). We don't actually have a lock though so Doug pushed our dresser up against the door. Supposedly, according to these family members- he'd probably go back into his bed and cry himself to sleep, or fall asleep by the door crying... something of that sort. Yea- that is so not what happened. From 4:30am until 6:ooam (the time Doug left for work) Isaac chose to stand outside our bedroom door screaming, crying, beating the door with his fists, then talking calmly, back to crying and screaming (telling us to wake up, get out of bed), even attempting to scream out Bella's name a few times to get her up so I would come and yell at him (thus getting me out of bed- his ultimate goal). For the first 45 minutes or so we would keep telling him to go to bed that we were all trying to sleep. Then the last 30 minutes we just ignored him. This resulted in him throwing the laundry basket down the stairs and chucking his big fan at our bedroom door over and over until finally it was time for Doug to get up anyhow. I sent him to his room for the next 30 minutes, Doug headed off to work, and then I had him clean up the mess he made in the hallway.

So now here I sit at the computer- it is 7:30am and we have all been up since 4:30am (even little Bella). Isaac has lost his favorite toys to play with (basically his only toys he ever plays with) and has lost snack priveledges as well. However I know that when this evening rolls around- I will more then likely be laying in my bed covered in tears because it will all happen again just as it has every night for the past month.

I truley love Isaac with all of my heart. There are many many moments in our lives that he brings laughter into the room. He's one of the smartest 5 year olds I've ever known. He's adorable and full of sooooo much energy. He has the most amazing imagination and has the craziest stories to tell. I wouldn't trade him for the world- but this night time thing... well, it's killing me. I need to find a way to get some sleep before this baby comes or I'm afraid I'll experience Post Partum Depression all over again. So please send your advice my way! I'll try just about anything at this point. Thank you for taking the time to read this incredibly long post!!!

11 comments:

Ramseys said...

if only i knew the secret. i will, however, tell youw here i would go. www.cafemom.com! you fill out a profile and then you can join groups. i myself belong to a sleep problem group (gavin has a hard time sleeping as well though not to this extreme). i would go on there, those moms have some great advice! as a general rule i am anti-parenting book but i did enjoy "The Happiest Toddler on the Block"...there is a good section on sleep that may or may not help. good luck girl. hang in there!!!

Elam's said...

Tenille... sounds like what I've been battling for four years with our little Abigale - who is a TERRIBLE SLEEPER! I'm just glad my second girl is normally a good sleeper. Everynight isn't always as bad as what you've had recently, though we have experienced it weeks at a time - not fun, so I am sorry for you! Thankfully she's been giving us a break for the past few weeks... hopefully it lasts! :) Good luck - it'll pass. xx

Cecilia Maughan said...

This really isn't a "fixer" anwer. Is there any way you can keep him from coming out of his room? Like the dresser idea... only at his door so that he can't wreck the house and maybe it won't be as loud for you. I don't know where your rooms are situated, but at least for me, it's a little easier to "ignore" (meaning laying awake in bed with guilt and anger) the crying. You could also ask your pediatrician, if you like them that is. Anway, like i said... not a good answer, but i'll keep pondering on it.oh... and maybe instead of taking things, you could offer a reward for staying in his room (for starters) even if he is throwing a fit. I also think that just to show him he will get a reward for staying in his room... even if you make it so he CAN'T get out, then he gets it in the morning and you pretend like he didn't throw a fit and just say "thank you for staying in your room last night!" and give him the treat. anway...i'll keep thinking!

Tenille said...

Thank you for all your comments and advice! Keep 'em coming and I promise to try everything! Thank you!!!

Cecilia I love your idea of the rewards... cross your fingers- we'll try that one tonight!

Court said...

I'm not a parent, but I have dealt with all types of kids...I think the reward idea is a great idea. Also, I don't know how you feel about "Supernanny" but I've seen her when she deals with families with similar problems and she says that when the kid gets out of bed, or leaves their time out spot, you walk them back and then leave without engaging them in the brain drain game. Each time walk him back to his room and then leave him.

Just some other thoughts, maybe seeing if he'll share a room with Bella for a night or two if she'll do it so he's not "alone"? Spend some time just the two of you before bed, set a timer and when it goes off, times up? Saying a prayer together? Or maybe when he gets like this, laying in bed with him and asking him questions about how he feels about things? School, Bella sleeping in your room, the new baby? Maybe he's feeling anxiety about something and this is his way of getting it out or getting attention?

I agree, it's not a "fix" answer and I'm sure it'll be exhausting and it'll take a couple of tries, but maybe worth the effort? Good Luck! Keep us posted!

Kristin said...

I'm sorry that your family is having to experience this. In all honesty I wonder if he is seaking this attention because he sees that Bella gets to sleep in your room but he's not able to. I wonder if he's feeling rejected and wondering if you and Doug are favoring Bella. Boys and men, in general and in all aspects of life, have a hard time with rejection. Just think about how husbands feel when they feel like they aren't getting enough of the love that they would like to have. I know that you and Doug aren't rejecting him but he may be feeling that way in his little mind. I would agree that he should be rewarded for the nights that he stays in his room. And on the nights that he isn't staying in his room be firm with him the first time that he gets out of bed. No, you don't have to beat him to be firm but try to change the tone of your voice so he knows that you mean business the first time. In my opinion there is no room for sweet talking or sugar coating when you are discipling any child. Good luck!

Kristin said...

Court I loved your advice too. She's right on Supernanny they suggest that when the child gets up the first time, or comes out of their room, then calmly walk them back into their room giving telling them your expectations briefly. They also encourage you not to engage in a conversation with them. Then all of the other times that the child gets out of bed calmly take them by the hand, or pick them up if necessary, and put them back in their room. Eventually they realize that they are not in control.
Cafemom too, might have some good advice but the only thing to be aware if is there will definetly be some critism too. Have you prayed about what to do?

Kristin said...

Man I really boned up some of my spelling. OOPS!

SP said...

Ava is typically a good sleeper, but she regresses sometimes. What has helped is telling her her bedroom is a special place for big girls with a bed and toys just for her. I also tell her that even if she wakes up, she needs to stay in her room for quiet time. Mommy, Daddy and Violet all need quiet time. She's free to play or do whatever she wants, but she needs to stay in her room. I have also locked her in her room, but I don't need to do that anymore. She has thrown hysterical fits, yes!! And it's hard, but it worked for us! It's probably a good idea to get bella out of your room because Isaac sees you guys, carter and bella all together and he's all alone and not part of the family. Maybe bella needs a special room and a special bed all to herself because she's a big girl just like Isaac. Isaac can teach her how to be in her room and he can take ownership in teaching bella how to do something!! I love you and wish you luck!! Sometimes teaching your children how to grow up and be healthy is hard! A good night's sleep is essential to everyone's health and sanity. Tough love works especially with strong willed children. Love you!!

Tenille said...

nliWow, thank you for all your posts! I agree very much that Bella needs to be out of our room. We're taking the steps and are extremely excited that she's actually sleeping in her toddler bed again. Next step is moving that bed either into her room or Isaac's room. Currently we plan to set the crib up in Isaac's room and have Carter sleep in there with him... but maybe for now Bella needs to go in that direction. Thank you for all your ideas! Especially the supernanny stuff- sometimes I feel like that is who I need at my house but I could never bare the thought of broadcasting my life on television. Thank you!!!! I suppose I'll get this parenting thing down one day....

Trina said...

Wow, you got quite the response on this post. I don't need to post a long conversation that we already had. I was amazed at all the comments you did get. Good luck!