Friday, September 18, 2009

sleep: the unattainable dream

every parent has their issue. some struggle with feeding. some struggle with safety. some struggle with keeping their child as germ-free as possible every single day. my issue with tristan has always been with SLEEP. i became a self-proclaimed nap nazi as soon as i discovered that tristan needed a daily routine in order to...well, in order to not cry the entire live-long-day. and so i became a slave to the routine knowing that if his nap was later than normal, or even if (heaven forbid) he missed napping that day, there would be hell to pay that night.

a few weeks ago i posted about how he's been having difficulty falling asleep during bedtime and naptime. quite a few of you commented that he may be ready to give up his nap. neither josh nor i thought that he was ready for that, (and we still aren't certain that he is) but he decided that he was ready. and we have learned for certain that there is no forcing a child to sleep, just as there is no forcing a child to eat. it just doesn't happen.

so he's been on what i call a nap strike for the past week or so. we try every day to put him down for a nap and every day he just plain refuses to. and believe me, we've played with the times, making his nap earlier or later than normal, let him sit and cry in his room, lay down next to him, told him to have quiet time hoping he'd fall asleep, and nothing has helped. this would be all fine and dandy if he was a normal child who didn't have severe sleep issues. in fact, i was almost relieved to be done the whole napping thing, thinking that his mornings would finally be at an hour most people wake up. HOWEVER, my child has had sleep issues ever since he was a newborn. every sort of transition we've gone through with him has affected his sleep. this "no nap" transition is no exception.

at first, we'd put him to bed an hour earlier than normal when he wouldn't take a nap. that didn't seem to help because he'd just wake up an hour earlier than normal the next morning and be frightfully tired and extremely grumpy all day. then we started putting him to bed just half an hour earlier than normal. and that's when the poop hit the fan. he has not only been waking up at random times during the night, crawling into our bed or hollering for davy crockett, but he is also getting up at 3:30 am and NOT going back to sleep.

as you can imagine, nobody is happy about this. tristan is an over tired mess who still refuses to take a nap despite being perpetually exhausted. josh is having a hard time falling asleep at night, so is averaging about 4 hours sleep total. and me? i've got a newborn with a stuffed up nose who needs comforting at night on top of tag-teaming with josh to try and get the toddler back to bed.

please tell me, did this happen to anybody else? when your toddler was done taking his daily nap, did it adversely affect his night sleep before everything got splendid and happy again? i don't know if this is normal and i'd love to have a light at the end of the tunnel. (though at 3:30 in the morning, that tunnel appears so dark that i'm not sure much light would be able to penetrate it.) advice please again!


Sara said...

Have you talked with tristan's doc to see if there could be an under lying issue/condition?

Grandma J. said...

Sound like he's having the same sleep issues I'm having! I do think that with time, if he still will not have a nap, he'll sleep longer/later in the morning. I don't recall having a problem with the no nap transition with you kids, but changes in routine seem to always be a challenge for Tristan. Love you. XO

Shannon said...

I have no good advice. My tactic is generally to train them to deal with it. If they dont want to sleep, fine... but dont be screaming on my kitchen floor either. (currently struggling with this)

I was reading about a "good morning" lamp. I think this idea is brilliant:

I do know that every phase is just a phase. Hard to see the light but it is there. And then you'll be in a new tunnel.

I cosleep with my infants. It is the only way to average more than 4 hours of sleep.

Bonnie said...

I feel for you! That sounds stressful. Went back and read your Nap nazi post and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm also very strict about Carson's nap times. With Kelsey in school now it's difficult cuz his naptime is during her pick-up time.
I don't have any good advice to offer.
Any ideas why Tristan wakes up in the night? Is he having bad dreams? Hope he gets back into a good night routine very soon!

Anonymous said...

Hi Heidi,
Even though Lena has been a grsat sleeper since she transitioned to 1 nap at 13 months of age, she has been having EW and NW too for the past 2 weeks. I have no clue what is going on but I do take comfort in hearing about other moms of 2,5 y/o going through the same.
We are also contemplating getting a kidsleep alarm clock that has a timer. When the times goes on (at 6.30am f.e.), the picture of the sleeing bunny shifts to the awake bunny. Point is to teach them not to call for mummy and daddy as long as the bunny is still asleep.
Good luck, it´s no fun being tired.
No advice on the nap-strike though, sorry :(

Sophie from facebook BW xx

stewmomx3 said...

unfortunately i think tristan is grammie and grans grandson,and maybe has our sleepless patterns. you don't want sleep time something he hates, has to be a good thing, finding that solution is the challage! i'm awake most mornings at 330- i should just come get him, but wouldn't youknow that would be the day he sleeps in!

try to go just go w/ whatever and stay upbeat, which is hard when you are sleep deprived..... this too shall pass...someday!

love chris

J@net said...

maybe not reward him with tv and turning on lights @ 3:30 in the morning to show that it is still sleep time. Nothing works until wake time???

i had to start laying down with Kolby for his nap, I pretend to be asleep, sound asleep with my breathing and that does the trick.

you ALL need your sleep, otherwise EVERYONE is going to more that just cranky... good luck

Claire said...

boy oh boy.... I can relate. Josiah has been such a tricky sleeper his whole life too. You'll work it out in time, I'm sure of it. You guys will come up with something that helps him get rest and works for the whole family.

For us, we are less mainstream and just let Josiah come into our bed once he wakes up and then he sleeps soundly in our bed the rest of the night and sleeps longer in the morning. But, that's not something a lot of people want to get in the "habit" of doing - it's just what has promoted the most sleep for all of us.
On another note, he was SOOO grumpy when he first quit napping, and we'd have melt down central every night for about, oh I don't know...3 weeks or so? But now he's really used to it and bedtime goes super quick now. And it is nice not to have to fight over nap time and then bedtime. Now there is no nap and bedtime is quick. He does however still wake up at night to come to our room...but its brief.

You guys will figure something out, hang in there. This season of life is short.

Lovella ♥ said...

I was just about to check to see how many available airmiles I had.. . .to send your mom up to give you a break. . .and then I saw that your delightful mom was already offering a mid-night T retrieval. Oh. . .my dear girl ..
I have no advice .. but I wished I had read your blog in the middle of the night at 3 AM when I was wide awake. . .I would have prayed that boy back to sleep.


My word verification is lollyto. .sounds so cheerful, don't you think?

Z-Mama said...

We had night problems with Raegann when she stopped napping. She'd wake several times crying and she would be in a state where she was really not awake. I couldn't get through to her to know why she was "awake" and crying. Finally she'd just be done and lay back down and immediately be back asleep after her 15 min cry spell. She'd probably wake like this about 3-4 times a night. This lasted probably a couple months and I even had to talk to the pediatrician about the problem. It finally just stopped on it's own, seemingly right after I talked with the ped. He had some suggestions, so if Tristan is waking in the middle of the night like this, I can pass those tips on to you.

Also, I'm sure you've tried *everything*, but...I have a rule that you are NOT allowed out of your room when it is still dark outside. NO TV, NO snuggling...nothing. They have all tried it, but now are very well trained not to wake until about 8 am or later every morning. If they woke at 3:30 I think I'd die! It HAS to get better at least with time! Praying for you!!!

laura.railing said...

Room darkening blinds? My mom did that to keep my brother and I from waking up at 5 am. Talk to your pediatrician. I wonder if it's sleep apnia. Until then, drink up on coffee!

Darcy and Sharon said...

Does he know his numbers? We bought our girls a digital clock when they were little(er) and told them they couldn't get out of bed until 7. I would try a no-getting-out-of-bed/room rule and see how that goes. Do your boys share a room? We had a playpen set up in the living room so when one of the girls was making a fuss at night, we would move the baby to the playpen so they wouldn't wake eachother up. Hope you figure something out soon! I know with having a third baby now we don't put up with as much crap from him. It's bedtime - deal with it. And he got used to it pretty quick. Tho that is harder to do if they're not in a crib.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Try cutting back on his Starbuck double Lattes.

Just kidding.

About a year ago I read a study about infants, babies, toddlers and children who were unable to fall asleep and who have high degrees of irritability. It read like a snapshot of my daughter as a child, and there actually is a treatment for it. If I can locate it, I'll send it on.

I will say she never seemed to have a sleep problem at her grandparent's house though. Made me wonder what I was or wasn't doing that they were.

mar_neufeld said...

I was thinking maybe he doesn't want to go to bed when you and Josh are still up cuz he doesn't want to miss anything. Maybe try going to bed when he does - lights out all over the house. When he's asleep, maybe get up quietly?? Just a thought.