Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The War for Sleep



Our youngest, Nathan, has been having difficulty with sleeping.  It all started just after my husband was diagnosed with cancer and began undergoing tests and treatment.  Since there was a lot going on, I didn’t fight when Nathan wanted to come sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s room.  He’s had sleeping issues in the past and it’s usually taken several months of sleepless nights for me to get him back on track.

That was over six months ago.

For that time, Nathan has been sleeping on his “little bed” (a crib mattress on the floor beside our bed).  He usually starts out the evening in his own bed and then sometime around 2 am, wakes up and yells until I come get him and bring him to the little bed.  There were nights where he slept the night through in his own bed and we made a big deal out of them, hoping to encourage him.

Since things have settled down on the cancer front, I decided it was time to get Nathan sleeping back in his own room.  I borrowed a rocking chair from friends and prepared to spend the night in his room if necessary.  We warned him that he was going to have to sleep in his own bed, but if he got scared, Mommy would come and sit with him until he fell back asleep.  Which is pretty much how the plan went.

Now I’m getting up two and three times a night to sit for half an hour or an hour with him while he calms down.  Not ideal but I’m hoping the times will get shorter as he gets accustomed to the new situation.  It’s hard on me but I’m relearning the ancient art of the nap.

We’ve also discovered another side effect.  There’s a bus stop right in front of our house and the first bus of the morning comes at 5:30.  Which wakes Nathan up and then he wants to go downstairs and watch TV.  I allowed it the first few days until I realized he was getting cranky and tired at 4 pm.  So I’ve been trying to think of ways to fix this.  (For some reason, the bus company is unwilling to suspend service until after my child is up.  Go figure.)

This morning, I tried something different.  He woke up at 5:30 and I could hear him playing in his room but instead of going to get him, I stayed in bed.  My concern has always been that if Nathan is too loud, he’ll wake up his brother across the hall.  And Alex does not do well with interrupted sleep.  This morning, we were lucky and Alex slept through Nathan’s noise.  Nathan ended up going back to sleep around 6:15 (or at least, that’s when he got very quiet again) and was still asleep when I went to check on him at 7.

We’ll see if this strategy continues to work.  Actually, first, we’ll get to see if this means a less cranky child during the afterschool hours.  Wish us luck.

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