Thursday, September 16, 2010

Unfit to parent after 11pm

Something horrible has happened to A, a champion sleeper for most of her short life. With little warning, she's started resisting bedtime, refusing lullabies and making sure she's not the only one awake and unhappy in the wee hours.

Let's take last night. She didn't nap at the babysitter's house, so Josh put her to bed around 7pm. She asked him to stay in her room (this is a new development), and he watched her fall asleep, exiting the room at 7:20. (I was at a preschool board meeting.)

Josh and I turned in around 10:15, and at 10:55pm, I heard A calling--nay, yelling--for me. I went into her room and sat quietly on her chair as she tossed and turned. Her eyes closed within 10 minutes, and after 25 minutes, I began my stealthy creep out of the room.

The floorboards creaked. I was busted. "I'll come back and check on you in 10 minutes," I assured her, hoping she was close enough to slumber that she'de fall back asleep before then.

"Noooooooo!" she hollered and began crying in earnest. I told Josh I couldn't sneak out and he sweetly offered to take my place. All was quiet for a while, but shortly after I'd fallen back asleep, I was awakened by A whining for me and refusing to be comforted by her dad. She moaned for me over and over and over, which eventually made a tired and cranky Josh crazy angry. He eventually got to the end of his rope and stalked out. A then increased the volume about 1000 percent. I asked if he thought she maybe wanted to come to our bed. I'm not a huge fan of co-sleeping, but I'm very, very big proponent of sleeping and no one was going to be doing any of that with the hysterics in the next room. (Well, except for Z, who could probably sleep through a tornado.)

Josh picked up A and dumped her next to me on our bed. He then grabbed a blanket and his pillow and disappeared. After a few minutes of tears and hiccups (I think Josh had scared her), A calmed down. But the kid Would. Not. Sleep. I dozed off and on as she patted me, kicked me and complained that she couldn't sleep until close to 2am. Finally she asked to sleep in her own bed, but insisted I come with her to her room.

Low and behold, Josh was sleeping on her floor. I put her in her bed, watched her fall asleep from my perch by the door, and crept out, one inch at a time. Success!

Um, no. Fifteen minutes later A came toddling into my room, indignant that I'd left her. I helped her to the potty, brought her back to her bed and told Josh to go back to our bed--I'd take the spot on the floor. I listened as A tossed and turned and played the spooky Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium music a dozen times before we both fell asleep.

Finally, around 3:30 am I was able to return to my own bed. With my own husband. I slept for 2 1/2 blissful hours before I once again heard the siren call of "Moooooommmmm-mmmmmmy!!!!"

We now live in fear of bedtime. Is CIO appropriate for a 3 year old? Can we lock her in her room and let her cry herself to sleep? Will she ever cry herself to sleep? Is there a better alternative? Has anyone else dealt with this?

I'm going to dangle a reward in front of her tonight, but if the promise of a stuffed animal from The Princess and the Frog (thanks, Disney!) doesn't get her to go to bed and stay there, we may be forced to take extreme measures.