Friday, December 12, 2008

Losing the battle and losing the war.

Over the past few months, I've been losing a battle for bed-space due to the invasion of little people in the middle of the night.  More and more often, I awake clinging to a narrow strip of bed, trying to keep from falling off.  Due to the nocturnal contortions of the invader, I also awake with back and neck aches.  It has not been fun.

And yet, I am not free of blame.  I started this habit.  Big Dog was a co-sleeper until he was about 4, but Little Dog never routinely shared our as a baby.  He had a moses basket, then a crib, then a toddler bed.  But he also had problems sleeping through the night.  His night waking kept me sleep deprived to a level only comparable to an interrogation subject.  And frankly, I was about to break.  I say this to help explain my next move.  One night, after being awaken by cries of "mama! mama!" I calmly went to his room, picked up my little boy and put him in our bed.  He slept soundly for the rest of the night.  And so did I.  

And like the ex-smoker who has one cigarette with friends, then buys a pack the next day, this reformed co-sleeper began bringing Little Dog into our bed on an almost nightly basis.  Then we got even lazier.  On nights we had bedtime struggles just getting him to sleep in the first place, we started letting him fall asleep in our bed.  We'd done this with Big Dog, then moved him to his own bed after he was sound asleep, but in this case Little Dog just stayed put.  We'd slip off to sleep before he did many times, and when we didn't he'd usually wake as we tried to move him.  We were so sleep deprived, we finally gave into the path of least resistance.  Occasionally he'd still go to sleep in his own bed, but even then, he rarely stayed there.   And as he became more accustomed to sleeping in our bed, he started to think of it as his bed, and he started to take over.  And there is the problem.

So we upgraded his toddler bed to a twin bed.  I thought if I could lay in his bed to get him to sleep, then I could move without waking him.  But that only works if he falls asleep, and sometimes that is a whole different battle.  Like last night for example.  We got the boys ready for bed, and into their beds.  I climbed into Little Dog's new twin bed and told him to cuddle up.  He did, for just a moment.  Then he started the thrashing, the twisting, the requests for milk, for stories, for kisses.  Anything to get him out of going to sleep.  This goes on for an hour, and I'm tired.  So I get up.  I tell him, I'm going to my bed.  

He followed me to my bed and demanded to get in.  Nope, no way.  This stubborn mama was sticking to her guns.  He's strong willed, but he gets it from somewhere, and that somewhere is me.  I refuse to let him in our bed.  I tell him he can sleep in his bed.  Noooo! Fine, he can sleep on the floor.  Nooooo!  I'll go to his bed with him, but he cannot come into our bed.  This is mama's bed.  Little Dog has a bed of his own, a nice bed.  And finally he caves.  He'll go back to his bed, but I have to go with him.  So we get back to snuggling.  He falls asleep and I slip out back to my bed.  An hour later he wakes up calling for me.  I spend the rest of the night getting him to fall asleep, only to wake up when I try to slip away.  And then I resign myself to sharing a twin bed with my little kicking, sprawling boy.

I woke up this morning less rested and more sore than if I had just caved and let him in our bed again.  So while I won the battle of the wills, I lost the battle of common sense.


Anonymous said...

There should be a magic pill for sleep - because whoever would does, would have cornered the sleep-deprived parent group. Good luck in weaning yourself out of a twin.

geekymummy said...

That sucks. I hate that feeling when its the early hours of the morning and you basically just give up on the hope of getting any more sleep. Can you and Mr. Dog take it in turns sleeping in the guest bed to get a decent night every once in a while?

Mrs. F said...

Ooooh, I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes when it is all four of us in our bed I have the feeling of suffocation and I sneak out and go sleep in the little girl's bed.

Nauntie Lush said...

Ah, yes....I am comforted to know that I am not the only one trying not to nod off at her desk due to the invasion of the bed snatchers at night.

I wish that I had magical advice for you. Right now we have a chart with a sticker thing, and then when he gets X number of stickers we get to go to his favorite place for pizza.

It works sort of, and sort of not. On the weekends, I get no sleep so Mr. T can. During the week he gets none so I can.

That trade off works a bit. Until I am so exhausted I fall asleep at 4:30 on a Friday night.

Kaza said...

I. FEEL. YOUR. PAIN. Srsly. The sleep thing is enough to make you completely insane. My kidlet is finally falling asleep in her own bed without me in the room, but she doesn't stay there all night. So we end up just taking her in with us when we go to bed, to be proactive.

The thrashing was really getting to us, and one night my husband told her to settle down RIGHT NOW and STOP FIDGETING or she would be put back in her bed by herself for the rest of the night. It actually worked. Now we just have to threaten, and she stops the thrashing. Even when mostly asleep (which is weird). It's not the ultimate solution, but it will do for now.

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