What do you get when you cross a control-freak with a four-year old and two-year old who won’t stay in their beds? Surrender.
Well, it is Colin again this time, but Maddie sure isn’t helping the situation. Colin has decided that he wants to play games with us at bedtime as well as naptime, and will do anything to push his limits. We are practically at square one with putting him in his big boy bed. We lay him down and read his books, say our prayers and say “Goodnight.” As I mentioned in previous posts, we have contraption on his door that is supposed to allow him to open the door only 2 inches, but he pushes right through it. We put a door cover on the door knob, but he started to bust it open and then hide it in his drawer, in the garbage or under his bed. I put some Gorilla Tape on it, but when he saw the black tape on there he wigged. He finally gave up and went to sleep, but the next morning he woke up still sore that I would have done such a thing to him. He even brought it up later in the day when I was yelling at him about something else and he asked with tears in his eyes, “Now can you take the tape off my door?” I felt so guilty I removed it and sure enough he ended up in my bed at 3 a.m. We super glued it together and he busted that open and luckily he didn’t glue himself to anything in the process.
Tom finally strategically placed the Gorilla tape on all the seams in smaller, less obvious strips. It looked like something out of the Modern Art Museum and for all intents and purposes, might as well be on display somewhere, because it didn’t work. Colin figured out how to turn the door knob in spite of the cover and in spite of us.
So, now we are left with the cat and mouse game where we shut the door and he cries. He jimmies the door and escapes with a big smile on his face celebrating his achievement. We put him back to bed and say “goodnight.” Before we can make it down the stairs, he is there again laughing at us. This time we yell a little, “Go to BED!” He runs back into his room and hops into bed giggling. I finally sit down on the couch ignoring the sound Click, Click sound of his door latch and then him playing with a truck in the hallway hoping he will finally give up. Then we hear Maddie screaming because Colin is in her room reading books on her floor. We separate the two and put Colin back into his bed with a book and give stern orders to “GO….TO….SLEEP!”
Within two minutes we see him at the top of the stairs. “Mommy, will you sleep with me?”
“No.” I retort.
“Please, come upstairs?”
I walk up the stairs and he jumps into bed, shuts off the light and then puts his arm around my neck and proceeds to tackle me into the bed to lay with him. I am not kidding you when I say that he is stronger than me. I finally give up and lay with him until he falls asleep. If we are lucky he will then sleep through the night, but in several cases he ends up in our bed in the middle of the night. The other night I awoke to an usual figure at the side of my bed. He had taken his hamper that we use for stuffed animals and put it on his head and walked into our room. There were still animals in it and he then unloaded all of them into our bed. I walked him back to his room (glancing at the stairs realizing how lucky we are he didn’t fall down them with that thing on his head!) and lay with him until we both fell asleep. I woke up sweating and really uncomfortable at about 5:30 a.m.
After about 2 weeks of a bedtime routine like the one I just described and miserable sleep, I was running on empty. These are the days I try to take full advantage of nap time and lay down myself. Ah, no such luck. In addition to his nighttime shenanigans, he has decided that he doesn’t need a nap and would rather play with Maddie. After battling him to lay down each afternoon, I finally gave up and had he and Maddie lay in my bed and watch a movie hoping he would zonk out. He did, but not until 3:00…much too late for a nap and pretty much guaranteed that bedtime would be a bitch.
I even took him for a run one day when Tom was home to see if I could get him to doze off. It worked, but he still only got about a 45 minute nap. While the days he doesn’t take a nap make him pretty much pass out at bedtime, he also acts like a total a-hole from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Add on the fact that I’ve started a part-time work-from-home job, I REALLY need him to take a nap. The other day, I set him and Maddie upstairs in my room for a movie while I had a conference call. My hope was that he would fall asleep, but he came trotting downstairs about a half hour in. He played quietly at his train table and I thought he had gone upstairs when Maddie came down and found him sleeping on the floor just out of my sight. (Luckily my call was with another mom who totally understood!) Maddie was nice enough to cover him with a blanket and I put a pillow under his head. Clearly he is tired, but does this mean he is growing out of his nap? I know some kids grow out of them sooner rather than later, but Maddie is four and still takes naps sometimes. How did I get here? How did I go from being a “rule follower” to letting my kids fall asleep watching TV or on the floor in the middle of the family room for Christ sake! Do I force the nap or let him crash? I don't want them falling asleep at dinnertime because then they will never go to bed. I feel like a "Nightmare on Elmstreet" movie making sure they don't fall asleep. Either way, my days are like years right now.
The next day, wanting to avoid letting the inmates run they asylum, I tried as hard as I could to be consistent and put him down for his nap. After a half-hour battle, I gave up so I could get some work done. He ended up in Maddie’s room to play with her. Of course at 4 p.m. he found a comfy spot on the family room floor with a blanket and pillow and fell asleep. I woke him up at 5 p.m. for dinner and he screamed and cried for the next 2 hours, including a trip to the grocery store where he refused to sit in the cart and insisted that I carry him…along with a ream of paper, envelopes, milk and eggs. I finally coaxed him to the car where his giant truck that I wouldn’t let him bring into the store was waiting for him.
Once we got home, Tom was forced to take over because I had another call for work. By the time I was finished, it was time for him to go to bed. You would think he would have been exhausted at that point, but he still managed to push his limits for a few last minutes before finally passing out.
It is the next day and supposed to be naptime as I write this. I just battled with him for about an hour and I’m about to head up there right now and make good on my promise to take away his bulldozer. Wish me luck…Ok, I’m back. Guess what I’m holding in my hand? Click, Click…there goes the door latch. I might lose my mind. I just went up there again…he was playing in the bathroom sink. This time I took away Bubba Lion (Colin’s most prized possession). I mean business. Click, Click….there goes the door latch. Here we go again. I am pretty sure by the end of today, he will have nothing left in his room and maybe because I’ve packed him and his belongings up to move in with Grandma and Grandpa. Click, Click…there goes the door latch. This time I am going to ignore him because I am sure a good portion of his tactic is to get my attention. My only concern is that my water bill will be through the roof because he will play in bathroom sink all afternoon if I let him.
Fast forward to bedtime…neither kid took a nap and Tom is out of town, so I am hoping they just crash. Ha, silly me. Colin still got up and roamed around after I put him to bed. After one last stern warning, I went downstairs and thought I heard him escape one last time. I gave it about 10 minutes and went to check on him. Sure enough he was asleep in the hallway with his animals. I stared at him sleeping so peacefully where he finally ran out of gas. What a piece of work. I moved him back to bed without incident. At least I got a few hours to catch up on my DVR’d shows and get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, but that was short lived when Colin showed up in my room at 3 a.m. and Maddie at 3:15 a.m. I finally just gave up and let them both sleep in bed with me. Again, sometimes I just have to surrender.
Here I am…another day and another new adventure of nap vs. no-nap. Gosh, I love my family, but if you don’t hear from me, I have committed myself to a mental institution or fled the country to a deserted island...or an island with internet so I can start a new blog called, “I’m A Runaway Housewife.” My first topic, “Coconut: Food and Fashion.” This is what happens when you don’t sleep.