Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Could it have been the play pizza sauce?

Last night was frustrating. And you know how I absolutely hate talking about how frustrating parenting can be because I love my children so much and I know what the alternative is but there are times when I just reach a breaking point. Last night, I reached a breaking point.

This whole conversion from cribs to beds has been a test of sorts. Not only have the girls transitioned into sleeping in beds but they are all now in separate rooms. They shared a bedroom for over two years. It is really all that they know so I realize that it is an adjustment for them. For all of us really. Rich and I and Grammy have thought about and tried different things in an attempt to come up with the best way to deal with nighttime shenanigans.

We realize that we need to contain the girls in their rooms or they simply run around and wreak havoc. And by wreaking havoc, they really aren't tearing anything apart, they are just playing. There were a few nights that they carried all of the diapers from the supply in Allie's room into the hall. I can appreciate the fact that they are pretending to shop and using their imagination but but they just don't know when to stop and go to sleep.

I refuse to shut anyone into their room without being able to hear what is going on and since we have two baby monitors, we placed one in Allie's room and one in Em's room. We have an extra, portable gate that we use across the screen door in the summer so that the girls don't push the screen out. We have been using that across the doorway to Anna's room. Allie doesn't mind having her door shut and will just sit in her bed and read books until she falls asleep. (I want to note that as soon as they are all sleeping, I open all doors.) Em, on the other hand, hates to have her door shut and flips out. I just cannot lock her in her room. It seems really wrong to do that.

Em likes to run to Anna's doorway and pull her into a game. In my attempt to begin decorating their rooms, I had purchased this little stool a few months ago for Anna's room. Every. single. time. I catch Em messing around with Anna, that stool is over by the gate as if Em is encouraging Anna to jump ship. And it doesn't matter if Anna falls asleep either, Em will stand in her doorway and yell, "Wake up, Anna."

Last night, we tucked the girls in around 7:30. I should make note of the fact that they had been awake since 8:15 that morning with NO nap. One would think that they would just fall asleep. Em was awake until 10:00. Okay, that is my ideal bedtime.

There have been many nights when Em will stay in her bed even with the door open. Last night was not one of those nights. After Rich and I had made a few trips upstairs, Rich shut her door and she proceeded to flip out so I opened it. Anna fell asleep around 8:30, I believe, so I then had to worry about Em waking her up. I tried everything. I told her some stories. I sat next to her. I left her alone, using the guise that I was going to check on Allie. She would not fall asleep. At some point before 9:00, I sat out in the hallway in order to keep her in her room. She kept climbing in and out of her bed and running into the hallway.

After 9:00, she began to stay in her bed but she was whining and crying. The only thing she ever complained about was her foot not fitting into her jammies correctly. I fixed it and she never mentioned it again. I left her alone. She cried. I sat next to her. She whined. I climbed into the bed with her. She kept shifting around. Finally, right before 10:00, I told her that I was giving up. That I needed to get ready for bed and I left. And she cried. After fifteen minutes or so, she finally fell asleep.

I had already lost it at that point.

Did she eat something with too much red dye number something in it?
Did she consume too much sugar?
Is she getting sick?
She has all of her teeth.
She felt a bit too warm. And then a bit too clammy.
I hope she isn't getting sick again.

There is stuff that I have to do at night and stuff that I want to do at night. I love my children but I need to have some free time. It just seems like I have spent the past week battling with bedtime antics and I am tired of it. But there is a side of me that somewhat follows attachment parenting and I just can't allow them to freak out at night. Finding a good balance is so difficult.

This morning as Grammy was changing Em out of her jammies into her clothes, she found a piece from one of the play pizza sets in the foot of Em's jammies. Grammy asked Em how the play pizza sauce ended up in her jammies, to which she responded, "I put it in there last night."

Let's blame Em's going to sleep issues on that. Please.


Anonymous said...

Have you tried a gate on Em's door too, so that you can keep her from waking up the others? That would keep her in her room and her able to have her door open too....

Anonymous said...

Good Luck!

We have used two things that made a huge difference. One was a toddler clock, so it is yellow when she needs to go to bed, and green in the morning when she is allowed to get out of bed. The other is that (and I don't know if you do time outs) but we've given her a timeout when she gets out of bed and isn't supposed to. After two attempts she gave up 90% of the nights.

Karen said...

I just read a book about the importance of sleep... most importantly, naps, for kids. If the author is right (with so many opinions... who knows?) then the girls are actually overtired, and switch in hyper-mode to keep themselves awake. As they continue to not get the sleep they need, theyir sleep routine continues to deteriorate. Check it out... The No-Cry Nap Solution : Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems by Elizabeth Pantley. Like I said, I don't know if it's all right, but the principles definitely seem to hold true for our kids. The less they sleep, the harder it is to get them to sleep.

mie said...

I hope tonight was a better night and everyone got some sleep!

BreezieGirl said...

I had the same thought the first Anon. commenter did about switching the gate from Anna's room (and monitor from Em's) to Emily's room.

Oh good luck! Saying prayers for restful night... for all of you!

And if worst comes to worst, maybe another transition could be in order (i.e. twin beds that you can at least lay down comfortabley in a room)?

Good luck!

Mackenzie said...

Why dont you use the sleepsacks anymore?

Sari said...

maybe you can go back to the M&M thing? Maybe you can sit in the hallway after you tuck them in and threaten them with losing the m&ms if they get out of their beds. or threaten to take their lovies away? i'm all about threats, shame on me, I know. I sit in my boys room at naptime until they fall asleep and then I walk out. They know if they get out of their beds they're in big trouble.

Liz said...

I have found some interesting things in my daughters jammies too! Most recently a plastic asparagus. :)

Erika said...

I'm a total lurker and I just love your blog. I have twin girls and I know you hear this all the time, but you amaze me! I about lose my mind every day with 2 of them...

I'm writing about our switching to the big girl bed shenanigans which you can read about on my blog if you want, it started in December...anyway the reason I'm writing is the book by Ferber "Solve Your Childs Sleep Problems" There's a small section about toddlers and some tips (and even charts!:) to use the door as a tool to keep them in their beds at least. It semi worked for us, so I wanted to share. You've probably heard of him before and sometimes he gets a bad rap, but I think if you tailor his ideas to yours, it could work! Good luck and keep those awesome pictures of those beautiful little girls coming!:)

Melissa said...

I never liked the idea of crying it out to go to sleep. But I got tired of tring to get my daughter to sleep any other way. I hit my breaking point and did the cry it out put the gate up and she would cry. First night was like 45 mintues, but she fell asleep right next to the gate. Transfered her to her bed. Next night it was 20 minutes she fell asleep again next to the gate. The third night she got that she needed to sleep, five mintues of whinning.. not really crying. And every night after she would talk her self to sleep. You need to be strong with this and stick to it. If you don't stick to it, it will just hurt all the progress you have made and confuse the little one. I just wanted to share what I thought. Everyone is different. I never thought I would have to let her cry it out. But in the long run I wish I would of done it sooner. She gets so much better sleep! And she was not harmed by crying.

Anonymous said...

I'm a grandma now, but when I was raising my own children, and I had 6 children under the age of 8 including a set of twins, what worked best for sleep issues was letting them cry it out. Remembering that you are the parent and expecting that your children will listen and obey is key. If it is time for bed, it is time for bed. Like Melissa said, crying does not hurt them, and soon they will understand that they must stay in bed when it is time to sleep. It was a process for each of my children, and some "clued in" sooner than others. But always, after a few days, routines were established. and all of my children slept well thru the night. At one time 4 of my children slept in the same room. No tantrums, no fussing. They understood the rule, and what was expected. It is all a matter of being consistent and training them. Don't give up. You'll be glad you did.
P.S. I love your blog and seeing photos of your little ones. What treasures your little girls are!

sunfrog said...

Ah, this sleeps stuff is just so hard! Its such a balance, between setting limits and keeping firm on them, but also trying to figure out what's going on in those brains & bodies and how you can help them, in as peaceful and loving way as possible.

What's worked the best for my oldest (albeit singleton) was books on CD. Started out with favorites that she knew from book form, but spread to new stories too (from Itunes,, and the library). I make mix CDs with 3-4 stories plus lullaby music at the end. Its interesting enough to keep her in bed listening, and boring enough that she usually falls asleep pretty quickly.

I'm not convinced it will work as well with my (hooligan) twins, though, but I will certainly give it a try when the time comes! We'll be in cribs for a good while longer though, I hope!