Monday, November 26, 2007

Bedtime...his bed not mine!

Nicky is 9 and he has never really taken ownership of his room or his bed! His "rooms" where all is stuff is are his playroom and classroom.

As a baby his crib was in my room because we lived in a two bedroom and his sister had one room and we had the other.

For one reason after the other we never insisted he get into his own bed. First, he was breastfeeding he was sick and I wanted to keep an eye on him, and he struggled so to sleep (due to seizures and over stimulation) so we would let him sleep anywhere he could. I was sleep deprived for years and anything I could do help me sleep, was also a factor.

I was beginning to move him into his own bed when Dad began traveling. Then when Dad moved out he stayed in mom's bed because of the upset of all the changes, and my fear of him getting up and getting into something dangerous and my not hearing him. I also think I felt safest when I could just open my eyes and see him. For a long time I tried to get both kids to sleep with me :- ). Her room suddenly seemed really far away and I needed to be able to see them both. I really thought we would all be safer, all together, if something happened.

Back to Nicky and reasons to get him out of my bed. He's a terrible sleeper, he wakes up at the drop of a dime, he insists on sleeping in the center of the bed, he thinks my head is a pillow, he loves the idea of using mommy as a sensory tool so he tries to lay on me, push his hands under me, pinch me, push his hands and feet under my jammies and smacking me all combine to create our nightly ritual. Because of his seizures he wakes up in the night turns on all the lights and wants to jump on the bed and hit and scratch. This can go on for 1 to 5 hours...Yippee. Last but not least, because of his difficulties with potty training - I'm often awaken to his request "towel" because he's all wet and there are nights that I roll over just to find myself in a puddle. YUCK!!!!!!

My fears of not having him near me, all the great stuff I mentioned all combined with the realization that very soon he will no longer be a little boy (making the sleeping with mama thing on it's way to weird) and I was ready to kick him out of my bed and get him into his.

I am still afraid about what will happen when he gets up in the night without my hearing him and plays videos and the computer, leaves the refrigerator and freezer open for everything to melt, trys to cook eggs, and gets into lord knows what. However fear or no fear it's time to get him out of my bed.

The first step was just to begin putting him down to sleep in his room. I started this ten days ago. I do not lie down with him (like I did in my bed) I sit in a chair nearby and tell him to go to sleep. Much to my surprise he has done a great job and on several nights I have been able to just put him to bed and leave the room. Major Progress!

He's not staying in his bed all night yet. Anywhere between 12:30 and 4:00am he comes into my bed and if I'm already asleep I let him stay and if I'm awake I take him back to his room. One night when I was trying to walk him back to his room he grabbed a hold of the door frame and screamed "NO NO I WANT MOMMIES BED". It took me a good five minutes to pry his hands off. But I was brave and I calmly reminded him "NO, no mommies bed, he's a big boy and big boys have their own beds".

The good part about this is that right now when he wakes up he comes to my bed, so all of my safety concerns are moot, for now.

People have told me how they solved the safety issues and it ranged from locking doors, to hi tech alarm systems that go off when the child leaves the room. I know my goal is to get him in his bed all night so I have to think safety and know that I'm really not putting him in a home jail!. I do however have a typical house alarm and I do set it when we go to I will know if he tries to leave the house in the middle of the night.

My plan moving forward is to start small - or shall I say least restrictive - and hope for the best. I am going to use two of our house phones in "Baby Monitor" mode and place one in his room and one on my night stand. This way I will be able to hear him if he trys to go somewhere. Then if that's not enough I will get one of those invisible screens installed in his bedroom door and I will lock it at night. This way I can still hear and see him and he can see and hear me. It feels less like a jail to me this way. I will open the screen at a consistent and designated time every AM. I am also getting more of his favorite things in his room, so if he does get up and finds himself alone he can play games and puzzles.

Wish me luck and the ability to be consistent!

Notes to myself and others:
They can't sleep with us forever, no matter how afraid we are
Some of the solutions may seem rough, but it's not good for them to sleep with us
Take it one step at a time, but stay consistent
Don't backslide - even if he gets sick. If its really bad go to his room as a compromise
Get help from a behaviorist if it helps
Remember...puberty happens

1 comment:

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