Thursday, January 17, 2008

Please Help Me

For some time now we have been having problems with putting Jack to bed. It seems that the child NEVER wants to sleep, at least, that is what HE would say if you asked him. I know that a blog post cannot truly convey my frustration adequately, but I truly do feel that I am at my wit's end, for many reasons, but mostly over issues with Jack. I know that God's grace is sufficient, and that he will not give me more than I can handle, but I would have to say, I feel as though he is taking me as dangerously close to that point as I can be. I am just going to be plain honest and say that although I love this child growing inside me in a way that can hardly be put in to words, I am also very frightened at the prospect of having this baby AND Jack.

Our main issue, as I said, is bedtime. Jack turned two on Thanksgiving Day. It is very hard for me to accept that he may be "outgrowing" his naptime, but I'm starting to wonder if that is part of the problem. It is hard to accept for many reasons: he is busy ALL THE TIME, but not doing constructive things (some of you may laugh at that and say "welcome to being two", but seriously, once other mothers have a little peep at Jack in action, they generally just shake their heads and say, "wow, he is really BUSY and, I think, silently thank God for their normal active children), he is BORED alot (so we tried playdough--he eats it and tries to stuff it in his ears, we tried coloring--he refuses to color on any paper and would rather just eat the crayon, we tried those cool markers that supposedly only make marks on the special paper--again the problem with wanting to color on anything BUT the paper, and those markers CAN leave a mark on other things!), he is OBSESSED with water (whether it is pushing a chair up to the sink to turn on the faucet, putting a glass under the water spout on the refridgerator, pushing another chair up to the counter to reach a discarded drinking glass, or trying to lock himself in the upstairs bathroom so that he can "brush his teeth", aka play in the water, for as long as he wants), and lastly on this particular list, he refuses to OBEY. We have chosen a method of discipline that we feel is honoring to God's Word and we implement it frequently, to seemingly no affect. All of these things leave a tired, hassled, frazzled, pregnant, congested, bewildered mommy desperately needing for this child to take a nap--even if it is for only an hour! So, you're saying, this is really about you, Betty? YES. We're on the same page.

So, our "normal" schedule is as follows:
7:30-7:45 a.m. Wake up
7:45-9:30 a.m. Watch some cartoons, mommy drinks her one allotted cup of coffee for the day, change diaper, snuggle on the couch, try to force-feed some breakfast (Jack is NOT a breakfast eater)
9:30-11:00 a.m. Mommy tries to "get some stuff done". This may be cleaning up any kitchen mess, check email and respond, get dressed, get Jack dressed, household chores, etc. This time is usually wasted because Jack wants me to stop whatever it is I am doing and do whatever he wants to do, which usually involves some form of water. Or candy. Or pop. Or Bob the Builder videos. This entails him following me around the house, crying and pulling on my hands or my legs, trying to stop me, begging to be picked up.
11:00 a.m. Mommy gives up, bundles up in coats and either goes in to Delphi to McDonald's for lunch or goes to Walmart for an hour or so and meets Daddy for lunch at Wendy's.
1:00 p.m. Jack is falling asleep in the car on the way home. Mommy tries everything to keep him awake--rolling down the window, singing loudly, playing radio loudly, keeping a hand on Jack's knee and shaking him vigorously. If Jack falls asleep for even 5 minutes--IT'S OVER. There will be no napping. He will scream in his bed for two hours, but he will not sleep.
1:30 p.m. We make it home with him awake (hopefully), get him in the house, change the diaper, get a drink, get a tissue, get blankie and AG bear and head upstairs. Turn the music on, turn out the light, sit down on the rocking chair. This is a great time for having conversations with Jack. He will talk about ANYTHING to keep from going to sleep. After about 10 minutes of trying to get him to lay his head on my shoulder, I start to threaten him--"if you don't lay down, mommy will administer the God ordained method of discipline". He doesn't obey so mommy obeys Jesus. We try again. We again fail so another round of discipline follows. At this point I put him in the bed. The tantrum ensues in earnest. I walk out of the room, leaving him to his fit. HE CLIMBS OUT OF THE CRIB and opens the door, running for freedom. More discipline ensues. He is placed back in the bed, and round and round we go until finally, an hour and a half later, he is worn out and finally goes peacefully to sleep, while mommy goes to her room and cries! He will then sleep for two hours! Then I have to decide if I am also going to nap or if I'm actually going to try and get something done around the house.
4:30 p.m. Making dinner, daddy comes home, eating dinner, playing with daddy until bedtime, or if we have to go somewhere that evening, loading up in the car.
9:00 p.m. The naptime process is repeated, although not quite as badly because usually daddy is home and he seems to do better. He generally will not crawl out of bed at night.
11-11:30 p.m. Mommy and Daddy finally get to bed.
2:30 a.m. Jack wakes up calling for mommy, or daddy, or both. I usually get up, turn his music back on, get the drink, get the tissue and rock him back to sleep in about 10 minutes, which really isn't too bad and I don't mind that so much.
3:00 a.m. Jack is awake again, this time he is screaming for someone to get him. I turn off the monitor, and lay there, awake, listening to him throw his fit for sometimes 30-45 minutes. He may or may not go back to sleep. If he doesn't I try getting up and doing the whole "routine again", but by this time I am wide awake and can't go back to sleep.
5:00 a.m. Jeff's alarm starts going off.
6-6:30 a.m. Jeff is gone to work, the alarms are off, TV is off, and I am drifting off to sleep.....until.....
7:30 a.m. Jack wakes up.

What am I doing wrong? I really need to know, so please tell me. This pregnancy has been really hard on my body, and the poor sleeping routine keeps me tired and cranky all the time, not to mention I keep getting sick.

Should I just give up the afternoon nap and go for an earlier bedtime?

What happens when Grace is born and I've got Jack AND an infant that eats every 3 hours?

Help. Please.


Michelle said...

You must be exhausted! When I read your post, I remembered reading another blog several months about how a mother does "roomtime" instead of naptime. Here's the link.

Definitely worth trying, I think, and if he doesn't nap during the day he will be so tired by 7 p.m. that he'll probably not fight much at nighttime routine. And it may help the late night wakenings, too.

BTW - I think my husband is in the same PointMan group as your hubby. (Rodney Krick)


Betty 'Rie said...

Oh, Michelle, THANK YOU. What an incredibly good idea. I believe it is possible that I could work Jack into something like that. Always before if I shut the door he would scream, but I never thought of just putting a baby gate on it so he could see out. I'm definitely going to try it!

Kristi said...

well, i obviously don't have any words of wisdom to impart - but i will be praying.

Warren and Tana Brokering said...

I have one of those :) and I quit naps with her before she was a year. You might try a big boy bed and I also recommend "roomtime" It may be difficult at first, but it will also help sleeping at night. I had to stop all child naps with all three by 18 months in order for the children to sleep at night. Maddie still struggles to sleep at night, (she is exactly like her mother:)Children change alot when things are changing in the home. It may his way of dealing with change of a baby coming. Pray at night with him too that God will help him sleep. I'll be praying.

Leanne said...

I am going to email you my thoughts...
p.s. we have roomtime..if you sleep fine, if you don't fine, but there are a list of rules YOU MAY NOT DO during roomtime...

Leanne said...

Okay...I sent you this long email.
I hope it helps some!
I will be praying for you!

Katina said...

Hi, I go to your Sister's church and I can totally relate to this! My daughter was the SAME WAY! It's so frustrating and I think that she would pick up on my frustration and then it just became a battle b/c she knew I was so frustrated.

My advice would be is if he wants to fall asleep on the way home from wherever, you might try giving him an early lunch and putting him down 10-15 minutes before he usually conks out in the car. A friend tried this with her child and had good success with it. Also, when my 3 year old son begs for one more thing at night, I try to distract or change his attention to something else. You know, men are one track minded! Or try the roomtime. I used to make my daughter at least lay down and rest and then she could play in the bed for a while. That seemed to work.

Enjoy him and love him. My daughter is the "active learner" as well and I can't tell you how many times she would have lotion smeared all over things and would have gotten into things, and soooooo many bedtime (especially naptime) battles!!!!! She was always doing it and didn't seem to repond to discipline either. It almost made her more emboldened to do it more.

I think she was in the midst of out-growing naps and she picked up on my high frustration level.

I regret not accepting her for who she is. I don't want to sound "hokey", but all kids are not created equal. They are all wired differently and some are just naturally more strong willed than others. I think I really crushed her little spirit so many times by my attitude of, "why does she have to be like this", "what is wrong with this kid".
There was nothing wrong with her, she is who God made her to be, as is Jack. God wanted Jack's personality to be just the way it is is.

As for worrying about the new baby and Jack, just don't. Worry about that when the new baby comes! I worried so much about that when I had my first son and it's so not worth it. "Give us this DAY our daily bread." Thinking those thoughts will rob your joy and make you anxious. Instead of fearing, pray and tell the Lord your fears and ask him for grace and strength. He is the one who gives us children, and if he gave you a new little baby on the way, he can supply you with the grace you need to handle it! As our Pastor says, "move forward in faith"!

Just keep on doing what is right, and pray for Jack (and yourself!) and trust that the Lord will use your consistent, loving mothering to bring about the results that He promises in His Word.

It will get better.

Sorry about the book, but I can't tell you just how much I can relate to how you are feeling! I've been there soooo many times, you have no idea! If you want to "talk more", you can e-mail me. I hope what I wrote was a little helpful/encouraging to you.


Molly said...

Oh, Betty, I can so relate to these issues. But, let me tell you, there is hope! Our strong willed, very active one is now 10 and knows the Lord...what a change He has made in her life! (And, no, it didn't take all 10 years for it to happen! Didn't want you to get nervous about that one!) Here are a couple of things we have done that worked for us.
1. We had to start what we call "rest time" at an early age with her (much earlier than her sleepy sisters!). But, like Leanne said, you HAVE to have guidelines that he understands about what can and can't be done during that time, stick to them and BE CONSISTENT! We used quiet toys such as books, puzzles, and stuffed animals on the bed, whatever interests him. We usually set the timer for an hour and when she heard the timer she knew she could get up and go play elsewhere. But, I also had to be paying attention to the timer to get the gate open when she heard it...goes along with the whole consistentcy thing, as well.
2. Our very wise friend Laurie D. gave me the suggestion of putting a sippy cup of water by her bed at night so she could get her own, how smart was that! It really worked for us and she quit calling out for that drink!
3. We used to use a noisemaker (instead of music) for our girls to go to sleep. Notice the phrase "used to!" We thought it was helpful, but actually found in the long run (in our case anyway) that we were actually hindering them and helping them to be dependent on that noise to sleep. Every time the electricity went off (happens A LOT here in Peru!) daughter #3 would wake up crying! Some nights it would happen 3 and 4 times. Any time we were staying somewhere else, if she didn't have that background noise she was a bear to get to sleep and slept fitfully! We finally decided to tough it out and get rid of it. (I thought my hubby was CRAZY when he suggested this!) We had a rough few nights, but it really helped. Now, all 3 girls are much better sleepers. Caleb is learning to sleep through anything! :)
4. As much as I love rocking my kids, I don't do it at bed time...or at least I don't let them fall asleep there (not even Caleb if I can help it). It has worked better for us to have them climb up in their beds and have the same routine for nap time and bed time (reading, singing, praying, etc.). I know the fights you are facing at bed time, been there! I even had to call my hubby home from work twice when he was doing an internship at FBC b/c #1 was so bad at nap time! You know I was desperate to do that!

My encouragement to you...stick with your chosen application of discipline, be consistent even when it's hard and hurts emotionally, remember it is a sin issue against his God when he doesn't obey and use it as an opportunity to talk to him in that way. Help him understand that it doesn't please God and that it was for even his sin in this situation that Jesus had to die.
Hope that helps.
love ya.

Danna said...

I personally would get in touch with our naturopath (we were referred to her by our pediatrician) -- it sounds like he also wants to be sleeping but doesn't know how. We ran ourselves RAGGED trying to figure out our middle child until we finally got medical intervention.

That, along with our training "bible" To Train Up a Child by Michael & Debi Pearl, is what we use in our house. Honestly, the sleep issue, Betty, doesn't sound displinary. It sounds neurotransmitter-based even, or it could be something as simple as an allergy that's keeping him awake. Just let me know if you want more info, kay?

I know how the prospect of adding a baby to a child whose sleep is suffering is so daunting. Our family would not work without Darlene, & she does ALL her patient care via snail mail. So you could use her from Indiana!

Danna said...

Here's Chapter One for free! Not that the book costs that much -- I think it's $4.
You get that at