Sunday, September 16, 2012

My child will not sleep, and you'll never guess what he's afraid of.

It's been two and a half years.  I'm ready for a good night's sleep.  Actually, I'm desperate for a good night's sleep. I love this boy, and by almost all accounts, he's an angel of a child.  Except when it comes to sleep.  And sleep has never been easy.

First, there was the newborn stage and I was terrified of SIDS.  We're talking beyond paranoid.  So, our baby slept in our room.  Then there was the nursing stage, where my baby wouldn't drink from bottles, so he ended up using me as an all-night snack bar.  I felt like I was winning though, because at least I was sleeping, even if it wasn't overly restful.

Then he got sick.  Then my husband was out of town five nights a week.  Then we moved to a new house and lived in the dining room for weeks.  Then he had a new room.  You get the picture.  Excuse after excuse for the last two and a half years led me to be one of those parents I swore I'd never be who lets a toddler sleep in their bed.

But now, I need a whole night without being startled awake by a blood-curdling "Mommmmmy!" from the other room.  I need a deep sleep that isn't interrupted by a toddler size 7.5 foot wiggling its little toes into my spine.  I dream (or I would if I ever slept a long enough stretch to get to dreaming) of not waking up with my hair wound tight in the death grip of my child's little fist. (That's right, it's been more than a year and a half since I first wrote about it, thinking it would be a funny memory some day.  No, he's STILL obsessed with my hair.)

And so I'm making a real, true effort at getting him to sleep in his own bed.  My trusty friend Google told me that if I taught him how to go to sleep in his own bed at the beginning of the night, he would be able to put himself back to sleep if he woke up during the night.  Guess again, Google.  He goes to sleep like a champ with no rocking, singing or coddling.  I don't even have to be in the room.

But come 2:30 in the morning, there's no option but yelling until I come gather him, his stuffed monkey, his toy bear, his train flashlight, his water bottle, and his two blankets out of his bed and into mine. He's started telling me that he's afraid of things (more like everything).  So I started sleeping on the floor of his room. And we were making real progress.

Until tonight.  Bedtime came and went, and my child was hollering.  Uncontrollably upset.  "Mommy, I need your help!  I need just a little bit of help!"  he kept saying.  And just what was it that he needed help with?

"I'm afraid of the cucumber!  The cucumber outside.  The CUCUMBER!" he said.

This went on for an hour.  How do you convince a two year old that cucumbers are not frightening nor are they dangerous?  That they can't move or walk or do anything, really?

You don't; that's the answer to that question. 

Now, it's almost midnight and I'm blogging to complain about not sleeping...instead of sleeping.  So I'll quit being a hypocrite and go to bed. (I'll have just under three hours until we reach the magical waking hour.)

Thoughts, prayers (for my sanity specifically), and suggestions are more than welcome.


  1. Haha I know I shouldn't laugh Lisa but cucumbers are a weird fear to have, hopefully things sort out soon. I was always a bad sleeper who loved sleeping in my parents bed for many more years than I should have so I can emphasise with the wee darling.

  2. Oh, sweetheart, I feel ya on this one. My son slept in my bed until he was about 12. No, I'm not kidding, or trying to scare you, it's just a fact. He'll be 19 in about 6 weeks, and I gotta tell you, sometimes I really miss those nights. Now, I can't even get him to cuddle on the couch with me anymore to watch a movie (yes, I know, I need help)

    Are you familiar with Jo Frost (The Super Nanny) and her sleep technique? I don't know, it always seemed to work on the show.

    Have you ever watched Veggie Tales with your little guy? One of the stars is a cucumber, so maybe that will help him get over his fear?

  3. I feel your pain, I really do. The only help I can offer is consistency. Consistently putting him back in his own bed. A night light might help. Or "monster/sweet dream spray" to keep whatever is bugging him away. I know it's not much, but eventually this will go away, I promise.