Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sleep Deprived

Before we left for Italy, Marco and I had a bedtime routine. We would read stories, I would lay with him for a few minutes and then say Good Night and walk out of the room. There were no tears, no screaming, no pleading. It was great. Well, something happened.

In Italy, Marco slept in a bed with us and when we returned, we tried to transition him back to his old routine, but we are still struggling. At first, we humored Marco and would lay with him until he fell asleep. We did this primarily because as soon as we got back, he was also starting preschool and I was afraid of abandoning him too much. After about a week though, we started going back to the night routine.

The problem is Marco has not gotten back into the night routine. He cries, pleads, screams. It is terrible. It has been more than two months now and he still cries when we put him to bed and sometimes for a long time. I have done lots of reading on sleep training. The crying it out method really worked for us when Marco was about a year old. It didn't take long before we settled into a routine. But then Marco learned to climb out of the crib. More crying it out, falling asleep in front of the door as he learned to sleep in a bed. Then Marco learned to open his door. He was so proud, you have no idea. More sleep training once we got a Marco proof door knob cover. It does seem like we are constantly going back and forth with a routine and then a break in the routine and then crying and then back to routine. And this is only the going to bed part, not the waking during the night or too early in the morning part.

Every time Marco broke his routine, it didn't take long to get back to a regular routine. Maybe three weeks maximum (but I could be delirious and am totally making up that number). This time though, it has been more than two months and we are still having issues. So, we are trying something new.

One of the things I have read is that you can sleep train without all the crying by staying with them, but progressively moving further and further away. Two nights ago, Marco cried off and on for an hour (from 7:30 - 8:30). And when I say cried, I mean screaming, head at the bottom of the door crying Mommy, Daddy, Heidi, Please. Anything to try to get attention. Also, sobbing in his bed. It is intermittent, but still greatly disturbing. Anyway, after an hour of this, I went in to comfort him and left. That didn't work. I decided I would sit with him, but not lay with him. So, I took a chair and a magazine and went in. First, I will say as soon as I opened the door, he started laughing. "I won. I won." (That is how I interpreted the laugh, but truly I think he was just so happy that I was there.) I told him I wouldn't lie down on the bed, but I was going to sit in the chair next to the bed. He was ok with this. Within thirty minutes he fell asleep. I watched him desperately fight sleep. Eyes fluttering shut, only to pop back open moments later, until at last his cup of water dropped from his hand and he was out.

Last night as we were reading books I explained to him that Mommy was going to stay in his room while he fell asleep, but I was going to sit in the chair. He got a little weepy, but quickly seemed to understand. He tried to talk to me a little. I told him I would leave if he didn't lay down and go to sleep. His reply, "Mommy, sit in chair." After sitting there an hour, I switched places with Alessandro. Again, he was a little weepy, but accepted the switch. By 9pm he finally fell asleep.

The problem with this new approach so far is that he still hasn't fallen asleep before 9pm, even though he is yawning at 7:30. My hope is that soon he will be comfortable enough with the situation that he will go to sleep earlier.

The next stage that we are suppose to do is start moving the chair closer to the door, eventually in the doorway, then outside of the doorway, etc. Admittedly, this technique does take longer than cry it out, but cry it out doesn't seem to be working for us right now.

Now, let's move on to the second sleep problem we are having. Ever since Marco has slept in a bed, at some point he wakes up and comes to our room. The problem lately is it is becoming earlier and earlier, around 10:30-12:30 at night as opposed to around 5-5:30 in the morning. And he is becoming more demanding. He wants water or something. Then also, he is waking up around 6-6:30 and trying to get breakfast. I refuse until after 7am, but this past week he isn't falling back asleep.

All in all, he is not getting enough sleep. I think the late nights are producing the early mornings (there is some thing about staying up too late producing adrenalin and this makes them wake up earlier). When he would come to our bed around 5, he would fall back asleep usually until 7:30 or 8, thus getting approximately 12 hours of sleep. Lately, I would estimate he is getting closer to 9 hours of sleep a night. Not only is he not getting enough sleep, but neither are we!

I am tired and grumpy. I am sick of having a little monkey pushing me off my pillow or sleeping on my neck. I am tired of 6am wake-up calls of "peanut-butter" and him pulling the blankets off me. I am frustrated with the grouch who wakes up at 6 instead of the cheerful little guy who opens his eyes at 7:30. And most of all, after two plus years, I am tired of sleep training. It is a never ending process!

As an aside, Mom & Jim, I am apologizing now for the two nights you will have to deal with him when we are sleeping peacefully in our luxurious hotel room.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

How is everyone today? I hope that this gets better soon so you ALL can get some much needed sleep! Hugs and Kisses to all...especially my favorite peanut butter thief! ;-)