Monday, January 2, 2012

I Need Your Help

It's very rare that I put out a plea on the Internet for help with an issue with my kids, but I am at a loss. If any of you out there have any advice for me, I'd love to hear it. Here's the situation:

My daughter has decided that going to bed at night is for the weak. She's just not into it. At all. She's not in her crib anymore (since she was crawling out of it and hurting herself) and she goes to bed fine and lovely. We do our normal night time routine: we read a couple of books, brush our teeth, and head to bed. She gets some time to be in her room with a flashlight to play with toys or read in her bed, and then after I get The Boy in bed, I go back in, take the flashlight, sing her a song and say goodnight. And then she goes to sleep.

Or at least that is how it used to go. Now, we do all of the above steps, but once I leave her room she gets back up. She will mess around in her room for a few minutes, but then I hear her door open, and she "sneaks" down the hall, goes into her brother's room and tries to talk to him. This is somewhat tolerable when we are talking 8:30 and 9:00 at night. But when this is occurring at 11:45 and is NOT okay. Her brother goes to sleep like he always has and then he gets woken up. If for some reason I am in the living room and don't hear her "escaping" then he has to come and tell me she woke him up and we start the process all over again. But of course then the poor boy has been woken up. Fortunately he can go pretty much right back to sleep, but with never ends.

So here is what I have tried. I went out and bought those "baby-proof" door handles so that she can't open her door. That worked for about a week. I would not start the night with it on her door (because I want to give her the option of making good choices), but after the third time she got up, I would put the handle on her door. Each time I take her back to her room I tell her that it is time for bed and when she screams at me that she isn't tired, I explain she doesn't have to sleep, but she does have to stay in her room because the rest of the house wants to sleep. She would usually respond to that by kicking her door as hard as she could to get out because she couldn't open it. Until last night. Last night she figured out if she puts her little fingers into the holes of the door handle in a certain way she can pop it off. So that no longer works. Unfortunately that means I can no longer put one of those handles on the outside of her brother's door so that she doesn't wake him.

I have also tried to let her take her "game" (iPod Touch) to bed with her. I am not proud of this parenting decision because I don't want her to get into that habit. But if the issue is that she is honestly not tired, and she will stay in her bed watching a PBS show until she falls asleep I was willing to let it happen. Even that doesn't help. I tried that last night and her iPod lost the battery at around 11:30 (and she had already gotten up about 5 times prior to that) and she went postal and tried to terrorize the entire house. I then put her back in her bed with a flashlight and tell her that she can read a book. I let her pick out a few books but then she screams, "I don't WANT to read a book!!" and then proceeded to take each and every book out of her bookshelf and throw it at her door. That was fun.

The only thing that seems to "work" (and I put that in quotes because I don't think this is the long term solution), is to make sure she does NOT take a nap during the day. If that is the case, by bed time she is physically so tired that after about three or four of these fights she usually is so tired she falls asleep (of course it is usually in the middle of her floor or right behind her door; not in her bed). But then she makes my life a living hell between the hours of 3:00pm and 8:00pm because she is exhausted. She's two years old. I really don't think she is ready to get rid of her naps yet. Yesterday she actually came to me at about 3:30 and said, "I am going to go lay down in my bed Mommy," and she did. She walked to her bed, layed down and went straight to sleep. I let her sleep until 4:30 and then woke her up (also not fun because she still wants to sleep so she is a bear when I force her to wake her up before she is ready). So she only got one hour of napping yesterday. And I was in tears last night at midnight because I was out of solutions and so tired I wanted to die.

What she would like is to take a 2 hour nap in the middle of the day (like a normal 2 year old), and then be up until midnight. That is just not an option. I get up everyday with my kids no later than 6:30am so on most nights, I am in bed by 9:30 and asleep by 10:00pm. This new schedule is slowly sucking the life out of me. And I don't think I need to spell it out that when I am exhausted I am not the best parent that I could be.

I just don't know how to deal with this. Anyone have any advice? Have you ever had a similar situation with your kid? If did you deal with it? What am I doing wrong? For the love of God...WHY WON'T MY KID SLEEP ANYMORE?!?!?! HELP!!