Title: Desperate for toddler/baby sleep help
Description: why can't it just be easy?
elisheva - July 15, 2009 07:26 AM (GMT)
Ds1 is 2.5 and is driving me to distraction. His brother is 10 months. I'm due in Nov, IY"H and I'm desperate to get a handle on things before then. We have a family bed but have purchased a twin bed for the nursery. I'm hoping to move the boys in there before the baby comes. Our room is tiny so there is no room for another bed/mattress in there.
A few issues - please feel free to address individually or as a whole - did I mention I was desperate?
Ds1 is very hard to get down for a nap. Unless I'm in the car. I wouldn't mind driving around, but it seldom works out that ds1 and ds2 are ready for a long nap at the same time. We generally go out in the morning. I make sure he gets lots of exercise (walking, trips to the playground, etc.). We come home and I KNOW he's tired. I give him lunch (or not - have tried giving him snacks earlier and skipping lunch until apres-nap).
The baby is usually desperate for a nap by this time, so I lie down with him and nurse him to sleep. I put on a DVD for ds1 because, unless he's distracted, he makes it his gleeful mission in life to keep ds2 up by running into the room yelling "wake up Benjy!!!". :banghead How do I get him to stop this? I have talked with him until I'm blue in the face about how Mommy can do all sorts of things with him (cuddle, read, play with special toys) IFF Benjy is asleep. If Benjy is awake, mommy has to pay attention to him, too, and we can't get out the tinker toys because they have small parts that Benjy could choke on.
If I get ds2 to sleep in spite of his older brother, he will nap happily in bed for 2-3 hours. In the car his max nap is 1 hr, give or take. I then work on getting ds1 to nap. I try to cuddle him and sing to him. I know he's tired. If I've promised toys (not lately - this was more when we were letting him give up his nap) we play with toys together.
I would say that he only naps 2 days out of 7. I could spend 2-3 hours trying to get him to nap probably successfully, but by then ds2 would be up and I would have no time to myself. This is important because, whether or not ds1 has napped, he won't go to bed before 10pm most nights - nights he hasn't napped are awful and dh has taken to driving him around until he falls asleep - not a solution I like. So, I literally have zero time to myself. I'm very bitter about this for several reasons.
How can I put this kid to sleep in our tiny house? I'm honestly considering locking him in his room (ok, not really considering, but the thought has occurred to me...). I've tried wearing ds1 down on my back or in a sling - doesn't work as he wants down after 10 min. I can take them both out in the stroller and they will fall asleep, but then ds2 doesn't nap as long or as well - he won't transfer when we get home. I've considered putting ds2 on my back and putting ds1 in the stroller until they're asleep and then hauling them both up the flight of stairs to the house, but the very thought makes me want to cry - especially if I try and it doesn't work.
I'm tearing my hair out. DH and I rarely have alone time when we can talk uninterrupted. I've taken to getting my alone time by staying up really late or by sitting ds1 in front of a DVD for a while.
To sum up:
I need help getting ds1 to sleep and to let his brother sleep. At any point during ds2's nap, ds1 is liable to make a dash for the bedroom and scream and yell to wake his brother. I'm pretty fast for a pregnant lady, but not always fast enough. If he can't get in, he pounds on the door. I try to react calmly though inside I want to paddle his little bottom. He thinks it's great fun that I chase him. If I feel really close to smacking him, I put him in his room to give myself a 2 minute time out. He hates this. I don't do it consistently, but perhaps I should. My years of teaching taught me that punishment really isn't effective to repeat offenders so I always consider the time-out to be mine, but maybe it should really be for both of us and I should do it consistently.
I just don't know what to do. Any suggestions are welcome.
LearningFromExperience - July 15, 2009 08:07 PM (GMT)
Some random thoughts - try them all, or not, whatever works.
Drop the nap for the older son. Find a way to get him to go to sleep earlier in the night, even if the younger one doesn't. Make it dh's job, let him get creative on it. Especially if you want to transition him to sleep elsewhere.
This could be DVD time for him instead. He's unlikely to run away from Dora just to bother his brother. He's too little to understand reasoning or to be patient; you just have to give him something that will keep his attention instead. Blues Clues.
Give up on them napping at the same time. It'll never happen again. Move on.
It is likely they won't have the same bed time at all. That is fine, too.
Time with dh? Get a babysitter. 1 hour, once a week. Just do it. Maybe the babysitter will get them both to go to sleep. You never know; some kids go to sleep for babysitters and they won't for their parents - less invested in staying up.
Don't feel guilty about the DVD.
Don't feel guilty about showing anger - he's got to learn that some things should not be done because Mommy gets angry. It's as fine a reason as any to not do them. But the expectations have to be age appropriate. Which, for a 2.5 yo ... is not much ... He can learn NEVER to open a closed door without permission, for instance. He can't learn an abstraction like "don't wake up people who are sleeping", not for several more years.
Hope some of that helped ...
elisheva - July 15, 2009 09:50 PM (GMT)
Thanks, LfE. I'll give it a shot. Today I was feeling close to the edge of losing it (was kicked several times while trying to put new trousers on ds1 after he peed in them) so I drove them around for 15 min and was actually able to transfer them both...today. I don't like driving them to sleep as a rule, but I have a few moments of sanity as a result... I do think you're right about giving up the nap for ds1. Will brainstorm earlier bedtime with dh tonight.
sunny aus - July 16, 2009 01:23 AM (GMT)
sounds so familiar. we had similar issues arlier this year.
we've since dropped the nap. but are still struggling at bed time
sunny aus - July 16, 2009 06:53 AM (GMT)
sorry, i had to go play trouble.
kids resting now before bday dinner
i found it helpful to drop the emphasis on daytime sleep. ds1 still sleeps about once every 6 weeks. once i stopped fighting it, it got easier. we try to have quiet time, with a dvd, or the ipod, while lying down. i have specific music/ stories to listen to that are calming, and have been known to negotiate that he stay in the bed until a particular story is over (try peter and tthe wolf).
as for not waking his brother - we still have that problem. when ds1 has trouble sleeping, or just doesn't want to he climbs into the cot and disturbs his most unimpressed brother. its been known to happen in the middle of the night too. the only suggestion i have is to try not to be too angry about it, as kids notice what gets to us, and play up on it.
bring bedtime forwards. its easier to settle a baby when big is not around, and if he sleeps earlier you might be able to get your evenings back.
not that i seem to have, so this is more in the nature of commisseration than advice.
elisheva - July 17, 2009 03:22 AM (GMT)
Well, it's 8pm PDT and they are both asleep. Ds1 had no nap today and was ready to sleep at 5 but I knew if I let him he'd be back up at 8. My plan was to feed them at 5, wait until 630 and let him sleep then. Then dh came home and ds1 perked right up. I ended up popping both in the stroller for a walk around the block to chill them both out (dh went to a meeting). They were calmer when we got home and I was able to get ds2 to sleep while ds1 watched Bob the Builder. Then, I read/cuddled with ds1 until he fell asleep. Whew. I'm exhausted and praying that they both stay asleep tonight.