Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Operation Sleep

Deployment affects how you parent: for better and for worse. There are days I'm amazed at my self and days, like yesterday (and today), remind me that I am so flawed it's painful. I am battered, bruised, emotionally and physically drained and I haven't slept in months. Months. I am doing everything possible for my kids at this point and I am just done. So, something's gotta give...

John and I have always agreed on a sort of open door policy for our bed. As infants the boys slept in the bed; we never really had any issues, so we never changed. Turner transitioned to his crib easily and Eli took much longer. Still, now, if Turner wakes up he comes in and either sleeps with us or we take him back to his bed: he's ok with taking things as they come. After Eli started sleeping in his crib he was amazingly happy! His naps got better and we were all well rested. He could NOT sleep with us as he woke up to play and would not go back to sleep for hours. It was never a good idea to bring Eli back to bed...

Now, I understand toddlers wake to some extent multiple times a night just like adults. I can hear Eli stir and he just rolls over. Turner will often come check in on me or even say something and just want to be tucked back in. This is not what I have issues with. Since December (we went to Disney, were all affected by a stomach bug, then had to say good bye to John) my nights have been sleepless and the 'problems' have escalated. I know the boys need me more right now but I'm giving all I can and I'm miserable.

Here's what our nights have looked like since March:
Usual bed time routine that's worked for ages. That's where the 'normal' stops, though. Turner goes to 'sleep' in my bed, I bring Eli to the living room to hold him until he falls asleep. I put Eli on the couch until I'm ready to go to sleep. Play Russian Roulette with Eli; maybe he'll stay asleep, maybe he won't. Transfer to the bed where the trouble gets worse. If Eli stayed asleep, I can fall asleep. If he's woken up from the transfer he's up for quite some time and it's not pretty. He's slaps me and Turner, kicks, flips and head butts (on purpose). By this time I'm ready to toss him. I try everything and, eventually he passes out for a few hours. If he and Turner touch during this 'sleep' they kick, hit and do all sorts of things that don't involve sleeping. Finally, someone wakes up way too early (let's say around 6) and eventually wakes the other up. They might play nice or they might decide to jump on me and, almost always, my stomach.

Now, the above scenario is typical. Last night I was going to try to put Eli right in bed and, when I went in to make room on the bed, saw that Turner was up...AT 9pm! He went in a 7:30 (normal bed time assuming he's going to stay up for a few minutes). When I put Eli down later he tossed started whining, slapped Turner and then they were both up. I quickly got in bed and just prayed I didn't lose it...big time. We woke up this morning (never really woke up but got out of bed) and I realized something has to change. My temper is short, the kids have been cranky and no one is sleeping. Ever. At all.

Today was trying, to say the least. The boys have been grumpy all day, they were tired by 11 (well, by 9 but I tried to get them to play longer), Eli only slept for 30 minutes and Turner was just terrible. They have been just mean to each other all day and I think I finally reached my tipping point. Some people would be happy their kids slept at all, but I am not. I know my kids and they need a nap as well as sleep at night. Turner is no where near giving up his afternoon nap and I know this by his behavior.

Commence Operation Sleep. I circled today on the calendar and told Turner that Daddy said it was time to sleep in his own bed. We had a chart set up from last week when I swore I'd start this. We talked about how bed time was going to go all afternoon and, at one point, he told me to stop talking about it! When the time came I started the routine extremely early, anticipating some resistance and because they were yawning at 4! Eli made himself throw up after not even 30 seconds in his room. I know he made himself do this because I had barely made it to the living room when I heard the "something's wrong" cry (also my parents reported he tried to make himself throw up when he got mad because I was in the shower). After I cleaned the bed and him up it took all but three trips and just a few minutes (it would have been less if I just patted him and played with his hair but I want him to return to the soothing himself). Turner never peeped.

It's 9:15 now and I'm almost afraid to go to bed. I love these boys so much. I feel terrible that I made them sleep in their rooms but I had to do this.

*yawn* Better go see what might happen...

1 comment:

Katie said...

Nellie, do not feel terrible! They need to be in their beds so they sleep better. They don't sleep well in the same bed and neither do you! You are thinking of them, and there is nothing that could be wrong with that!