Monday, January 4, 2010

Nighty Night Fights

I hope everyone's New Year got off to a good start.

I recently chronicled our efforts to transition Little Brother to a toddler bed.

This transition was made largely out of necessity, as Bab-E Brother will usurp Little Brother from his crib. (Not to mention that Little Brother was starting to demonstrate the capacity to climb out of his crib.) Besides, Big Brother was about the same age when we made this transition.

We hoped that the combination of having a new roomie that he really looks up to, a new "big boy" bed, and new Thomas the Train sheets would make for a smoother transition.

We thought wrong.

Apparently, we forgot just how hard it was when Big Brother made this transition. At that time, we had a gate for him to knock over repeatedly to keep him in his room. In fact, it took quite a while before we had a smooth goodnight routine.

We've had similar horrors with Little Brother, who gets better naps in the minivan than he does in his bed.

Whether it's a fear of monsters or he's just not ready, we've had good practice at sleep-deprivation trying to get Little Brother to actually sleep in his bed.

We tried rocking him, dancing with him, staying in his room, just leaving his room, it pretty much didn't matter.

You can rock him for an hour until he's sound asleep. The moment his body touches the bed, he wakes up and screams.

You can sit in the room with him, and the moment you move 1 milimeter towards the door, he's sitting up giving you the mal ojo.

Apparently, his body is equipped with some touch-sensitive GPS sensors.

In the rare event that you get him to sleep in the bed, he's beeng waking up at 2 am, and it's just about as hard to get him to go BACK to sleep as it is to fall asleep. Then, he'll wake up again at 5:30 am and decide he's up for the day.

So this weekend we opted for nighty nite via tough love: after bedtime stories and a little rocking, we put him in bed, said goodnight, and left. We proceeded to shut the door (and lock it from the outside).

Fortunately, Big Brother can sleep through a thermonuclear warhead going off, and so on NIGHT #1 the HUGE HOUR-LONG SCREAMING FIT that ensued didn't faze him a bit (nor was he able to assist with opening the door).

And of course, when I went in to go check on the boys, Little Brother had positioned himself as a doorstop, asleep on the floor.

Fortunately, I didn't wake him up when I wedged myself through the door, scooped him up, and put him in bed.

On NIGHT #2 the screaming fit lasted only 20-30 minutes, although we did have some pounding on the door with that plastic screwdriver he sleeps with under his pillow.

And amazingly, last NIGHT (#3) he fell asleep on his own in his big boy bed; all I did was linger on the floor beside his bed for a few minutes.

Hopefully this trend will continue, because it pretty much has to. :)

Like I've said ad nauseum, parenthood is not for the feint of heart.

Go to sleep, already.

Have a good week,


  1. Good boy, little brother! Sometimes it just takes some crying to get used to things. That is really hard...we've had to let little cousin cry it out a few times and it wasn't easy! Here's to easier goodnights! Love, aunt-e

  2. Nor is parenthood for those that require sleep to function. Caffeine is your best friend.

  3. We did the lock on the outside of the door for a while. Now when they won't stay in bed, I fake lock the door in front of them to make them think that I am.

    Congrats on the victory.

  4. Little brother was always difficult for me to get in his crib when I babysat and he was still an infant. You had to have him totally koncked out before you slowly inched him toward the crib. Other wise he just screamed. I know once he got a little older he happily went to bed in his crib. I'm sure he'll start to enjoy the big boy bed soon and he'll tell bab-e that he's too little for a big boy bed and brag about it.

    CY Aunt-E

  5. I love the part about your kid keeping a plastic screwdriver under the pillow. I just imagined him trying to take the door off by the hinges. Brilliant.

  6. @Aunt-E: Thanks. We need 'em.

    @WM: They need to make an implantable caffeine pump for parents, kinda like those insulin pumps for people with diabetes.

    @Eric: Fake lock is a good idea. We tried taking away prized toys for repeatedly leaving the room, but that fails because it perpetuates the attention-seeking.

    @CY Aunt-E: Agreed. He probably will brag soon enough.

    @dadlogic: Thanks. Fortunately he's only figured out how to use the screwdriver as a "blunt force" instrument.

  7. Congrats on the improvements. Those small victories in parenting really mean a lot.

    When I first went to regular bed my dad sat in the dark and when I got out of bed he said in a deep scary voice, GET BACK IN THAT BED! I never got out of bed again. It is a wonder that I am still not terrified of the dark though.

  8. @Otter: Agree that it's all about the small victories. I'm glad you're not dark-phobic.