When Sport and Sunshine first came to live with us they were good sleepers. They would nearly sleep through the night with little trouble. Sunshine wouldn’t even cry for a bottle. We had to set our alarms just to make sure we woke up at some point during the night to feed her. We theorized that in her previous home crying didn’t get her a bottle at night so, she just stopped crying, but it’s only a theory and we’re not really sure why she was so quiet. Now Sport, on the other hand, slept through the night like the little champ that he is. However, he did have some trouble actually getting to sleep.
The first couple of nights as parents one of us sat in the room in a chair waiting for Sport to fall asleep and our chance to slip out of the room hoping to miss all of the loud squeaky floor boards. Then we spent the next week or so weaning him off the necessity of having us in the room to be able to fall asleep. It was a relatively easy process because we don’t think he actually got that upset with us leaving the room. When we first left him alone he pulled out what we like to call the fake cry. Yes, he was upset but it was more of an act than actual crying – there were no tears and he stopped once he realized he wasn’t going to get what he wanted.
Around the time we got Sport to the point where we could have story time, say good night and have him go to sleep on his own in his big boy bed in his very own bedroom, Sunshine figured out if she cried at night we’d come give her a bottle. We no longer had to set our alarms and there would be no more sleeping through the night. However, she only woke up once each night and it was midway through the night so we were still able to get a decent amount of sleep.
However, fast forward a month and half and sleep is starting to become a cherished treasure that seems to be in short supply. Sunshine has started teething and as painful as that is for her it’s also pretty painful for us. She’s had some pretty fussy nights where she hasn’t been too interested in sleeping the whole night through. If it was only Sunshine who was having sleeping problems, we might be able to take care of her and still manage to be bright eyed and bushy tailed.
However, Sport has also developed a bit of anxiety around sleeping in his room. This anxiety appeared after his first visit with his biological parents where the social worker picked him up. Again we theorized (because we have such a vast knowledge of child psychology) that the problem might have arisen from being taken away by a social worker, as his previous visit while in our care involved us personally driving him to the DCF office. But now that we’re both back at work, we’re taking advantage of the social worker’s ability to provide transportation.
Thankfully, the first bout of anxiety didn’t last long. We were back to normal sleeping patterns in a couple of days. Unfortunately, this pattern repeated itself after his most recent visit. This time around had been a bit more tricky and it has involved more real tears and more high pitched squeals – our favorite of course.
This time we’re not sure what the root of the problem is (yes even with all that vast psychological knowledge of ours). It’s possible it was just the visit with his biological parents. We are not ruling out the overstimulation of two big family parties in one week on top of a big holiday celebration for Thanksgiving, followed up with the confusion of a schedule change and not being in “school” (aka daycare) for nearly five days due to the holiday. Or, perhaps it’s a compilation of it all. Whatever the cause, it has resulted in actual sleep not setting in for Sport until as late as 10:30 at night (normal sleep time is 8:00 PM).
Day one of this round of anxiety was managed with a car ride after an hour of crying and screaming. At one point he was so worked up he was actually having a hard time catching his breath. We were happy to get him to sleep but car rides are not a long term fix.
Day two included the same vicious cycle as the night before but we increased the amount of time we spent in the room. We started with sitting next to the bed and then slowly moving out of the room. Sport was so hyper-alert that every adjustment or move we made he popped his head right back up and on came the waterworks. He ultimately fell asleep with Marcy standing just inside his door – but sleep didn’t come until about 9:00 PM.
Day three we took a slightly harder stance and did not stay in the room at all while he fell asleep, but instead went directly in our room right next door. This started off a bit rocky with him trying to make his way in our room by first sitting on the floor outside and then slowing sliding into our room.
After his sneaking into our room we told him we’d shut the toddler gate in the door of his room (which was put there in part to keep our two dogs out of his room but, let’s face it, it’s mostly to keep him in when necessary) if he didn’t stay put. He didn’t want that gate shut. He was given the choice to go back into bed or sit in his chair; he chose the chair. That was the last we heard of him for the night. We later found him sleeping on the floor next to his night stand where all of his books are kept. After feeding his sister in the middle of the night he did manage to finally crawl up into his bed. His sister’s crying likely woke him up just enough to realize he should get in bed.
Now we’re over a week into this anxiety and after a bit of crying and defiance he’ll stay quietly in his room, but for right now he prefers to stay in his chair and not his bed. He’s still sleeping in his bed and a couple of nights he has fallen asleep in his bed, but for the time being we’re just happy he’s getting comfortable with being in his room alone again. Although he’s still falling asleep too late. And while we enjoy having the added time alone in the morning while he tries to play catch up, we’re working on getting sleeping time back closer to 8:00 PM.
Nonetheless as we’re managing this little problem, we’re having a good laugh with the odd positions we’re finding him in: