Typed this evening between trips to his room

We’ve been experiencing a slight speed bump on our parenting highway for the past few weeks with Noah.  He’s been a little more cantankerous than usual, refusing simple requests with vehemence and pitching fits over oh, EVERYTHING I SAY.  I know in my heart of hearts that he is doing what he is supposed to be doing – developing and growing and moving to the next level of his childhood (there is also the trivial matter of the small Other Child that has been around for 12 weeks now and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere), but damn if it doesn’t look exactly like Being a Butthead.

The biggest battle has revolved around all things sleep-related.  Noah has one thing and one thing only to say about putting on pajamas, cleaning up, brushing teeth and getting into bed: VIVE LA RESISTANCE, SUCKERS.  Then once he’s finally in his room in bed with the lights out, the calling begins.  Mom.  Dad.  Moooom.  Daaaaaad.  MOOOOOM!  DAAAAAAD!  Ican’tsleepIneedwaterturnonthehalllightIthoughtofsomething funnymybedisn’tcomfyenough.  My favorite is when he calls us in his room approximately 45 seconds after we’ve left and informs us that he is having scary dreams.  I’m not sure I’ve ever said the words YOU HAVE TO BE ASLEEP TO HAVE DREAMS with my jaw unclenched.

And even THEN, after he finally drifts off and we shut his door, the relief is short-lived.  Every night he wakes up and stumbles into our room, ready to climb into our bed and teeth-grind the rest of his slumbering hours away.  And even though we’ve talked to him and talked to him and talked to him during the day about how we love to have him come snuggle in with us AFTER the first number on his clock says 6, he cannot seem to retain this knowledge upon waking in the wee hours.  I’m pretty certain his muscles just move him in the direction of our bed automatically.  (In fact, I’m so convinced of this that I worried briefly this weekend about the fact that we had moved his bedroom around to accommodate Rosie’s crib and in doing so turned his bed ninety degrees.  I had mental images of him waking and shuffling straight into the wall. And I only snickered about that for about 3 seconds, TOPS.) So when he arrives at L’s side of the bed and we stop his leg mid-hoist, he melts down.  AT THREE THIRTY A. M.  I am ill-equipped to handle meltdowns during the day, let alone when I’ve just been awakened from mouth agape REM sleep.  Last night he managed to get in bed before either of us could fully waken and started kicking his feet and yelling I WANT THE COVERS LIKE THIS and I’m just going to go ahead and admit that the words “you”, “little” and “shit” crossed my mind at that moment.

I should stop here and mention that Rosie sleeps with us.  And I know, DUH, this is probably the main reason for the difficulty.  He feels left out, wants to be a part of the cozy family bed.  But we keep telling him that Rosie is bound for her bed really soon and then! The kids will get to share a room! Won’t that be fun!  And he agrees, although I think he can see through my excitement straight on to the desperation behind it.  I have these visions of the kids going to sleep simultaneously in their room, soft music playing, both comforted by the presence of the other and then I see me, arms and legs splayed wide like a star, flat on my stomach, dreaming of cheesecake in my bed.  Not sure how L fits in there, but that’s not the point.  The point is that I yearn for my own space at night, and I’m already (willingly) giving it up to spend those hours tucked in with Rosie, just while she’s itty bitty.  I did that with Noah, and I’m so glad I did.  But four do not fit in our bed.  And while that makes me sad for Noah and the growing up that is forced upon him with the arrival of a sibling, it is still true, plain and simple.  And when I don’t sleep well, I don’t have the reserves required for the Parenting Discipline Pop Quizzes thrown at me the next day, and the spiral continues downward and downward.

I know, I KNOW that one day I will miss having warm soft small sleeping kids in my bed and look back with a sigh to the toes in my armpits and arms flung across my face.  But today I just want my space.

And my sleep.


1 Jillian { 01.20.09 at 10:52 am }

How about putting Bug’s mattress on the floor of your bedroom to help w/the transition? Maybe he’d feel less left out. Just a thought.

2 Leigh Ann { 01.20.09 at 1:38 pm }

you are going through the EXACT same thing we did with sera when josh was lg’s age. at some point i thought “it’s attack of the body snatchers cause THIS IS NOT MY CHILD!” sera just revolted, against everything. that’s the point when one night she lost EVERYTHING in her room. she was left with a mattress. i know, a little harsh, but we were at our wits end. after a long talk with her and coming up with things like “girls’ night” things got a lot better. we made a commitment for one of us to spend time with only her in her room every day. we agreed that she could come to our bed when she saw light outside and then when josh woke up i would snuggle with her while patrick fed josh. girls’ night really helped. after her bath we go into our room and shut the door, no boys allowed. we have pedicures and watch a movie (or jon and kate plus eight!). we still do it once a week. don’t worry, things will smooth back out, it’s just that the novelty of having a baby sister has worn off. this too shall pass! good luck!

3 Trenches of Mommyhood { 01.21.09 at 10:01 am }

My 3-1/2 and 4-1/2 year old sons share a room. We call it “Nighttime Olympics” – with the “bad dreams” (yep, 45 seconds after being tucked in), water requests, I hafta pees, etc.


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