I’m currently hiding under a blanket in my son’s room writing this. I swear I wasn’t always this crazy…but not sleeping through the night for fourteen months can do that to a person.
Before you assume…it’s not my one year old waking me up three times a night but rather, my three year old…my once perfect little sleeper who I used to have to wake to get ready for preschool. Full disclosure to be fair: the first nine months of this run were due to my baby girl, Everly but the last six have been all Levi. After transitioning seamlessly to a big boy bed and willingly giving up his pacifier at age two, I thought we were passed the hard part. When we first moved and the constant wakings began, I thought this would all just be a phase…a dreadful one at that. I figured that the new environment and unfamiliar sounds were surely the cause and that all would return to normal in a few short weeks. After all, he falls asleep right away so I just have to figure out what’s waking him. But here I am half a year later, having tried almost everything and to no avail.
He no longer naps so we know he’s exhausted…we’ve tried an earlier bedtime, a later bedtime, different night lights, more food, a new wall color…you name it, we’ve pretty much done it. He knows he’s not allowed in our bed so when he comes into our room, he sweetly waits by the side for me to walk him back into his own room. Generally, I hear his elephant foot steps coming down the hall and I meet him at the entrance to our bedroom. No words are exchanged while I tuck him in and watch him sleep from the foot of his bed until I know it’s safe to leave. Watching him in the middle of the night, his sweet baby face, it’s easy to see why he still needs me. Although he’s a big brother now, he’s still so young and deserves to be comforted when necessary. But I of course, find myself frustrated with him during the day when we are both naturally cranky and acting out.
What I found to be the most shocking is that the more moms I told, the more who shared similar tales of their sleep deprived toddlers. Although it didn’t alleviate my need for a third cup of coffee, it honestly did make me feel less isolated. None of us have the answers but talking about what we have tried gave me options. I’m not one for letting him cry now that he’s old enough to tell me through the tears, “I need my mommy!” That…and I would have to build Fort Knox to keep my clever child from climbing out of his room.
For now, my latest idea is to sleep on the trundle mattress in his room. My hope is that he becomes less accustomed to seeing me when he wakes, (since I must confess that I started falling asleep in his bed more and more during those late night/early morning tuck ins) but I am still visible with a quick scan if need be. Perhaps this will get him used to staying in his bed at night…perhaps I will have to go away to college with him…who really knows?!
In the meantime, I’ll try to indulge in his late night love you’s and try not to get too pissed when he hands me a booger at four AM. Although this is seemingly the world’s longest phase, I know that it’s still only that…a phase. And in seven years when he’s at sleep away camp just like his mommy and daddy, I’ll be missing him while I sleep in.