Bedtime at our house has become a complete nightmare! Knowing that we had a baby coming, we carefully moved our 2 year old into a “big boy bed” several months ago so that he would not feel like the baby was taking his bed (psychology major, remember). He got new “Thomas the Train” bedding, which he still proudly shows off to everyone who comes in our door. Knowing this child as we do, however, we braced ourselves for the trouble that would inevitably come when we moved him out of the constraints of a crib to the freedom of an open bed. We were sure he would never stay in bed, would be roaming the halls at night, doing who knows what. We were ready. Then, it didn’t happen! He so sweetly went to bed like normal, slept all night as usual, and called for me to get him out of the bed in the morning. What bliss!
Then, the baby came. At first, this did not create a problem. But looking back, I can see this is how it started. There were several times that he woke up from his nap and called for me, but I was downstairs holding or feeding our new baby. So, I did the next best thing. I sent the 4 year old up to get him out of bed. They both thought that was great fun. But somehow along the way, this little guy put it together that if his brother could come get him out of bed, then it must not be a big deal to be out of his bed. That was the beginning of the end. As I write this, it is after 10 p.m., and bedtime has been going on for over 2 hours. He is making his 3rd trip “sneaking” down the stairs.
We have tried everything. I took the supportive approach, and sat reading in his room until he fell asleep. I finished 2 books in 4 days. He didn’t go to sleep. We put him down in our room a couple of times. He took the diaper cream that was by the bed and smeared it all over the wall and headboard. We took a punishing approach. We took his toys away. After the 2nd time, he walked down the stairs and willingly handed them over. I yelled a lot. My 4 year old said that I was really scary. This guy didn’t even seem to notice. I really don’t believe in spanking, but my husband doesn’t share this feelings, and gave him a small one. He didn’t even blink an eye. I tried the preventataive approach and put the baby gate on his door. He got it off in about 7 minutes.
I thought I finally fixed the problem. As a “punishment”, I brought the pack-and-play out of the closet in an attempt to keep him contained. I thought this would at least slow him down. He was thrilled! He said, “Mommy, for ME?! Thank you!!!”. Then he slept in it all night. I was already patting myself on the back for this one. Then the 4 year old came in his room the next morning. While I had my back turned for 1 minute, he taught the 2 year old how fun it is to climb in and out of it. I felt like I was in slow motion running in screaming, “Nooooooooo!”.
So, back to square 1. He doesn’t seem to be suffering from the lack of sleep. I’m worried though that if I can’t fix this, my husband might call “Super Nanny”. Help, please!!!