Friday, June 8, 2012

getting my preschooler to sleep

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momma made a mess of things....

a few months ago, we started having sleep problems with Bear.  you can read a bit more about it in my sleep problems post.  a brief rundown is that every night getting him to sleep was a battle lasting over an hour.  those battles entailed Bear screaming and crying, and me frustrated and crying.  then there were the wake-ups in the middle of the night with Bear screaming and crying again.

i was at my wit's end. 

something i should mention is that we have a family bed.  we've had one since Bear was 6 months old.  this was at the encouragement of my lactation consultant.  night-nursing was the only thing that saved my sanity.  of course, there has always been the pressure to move him to his own bed. especially since his last birthday.  with these latest struggles and night wakings, it seems that pressure has increased.  feeling like i had no other options, i gave in and decided to follow other's suggestions. 

i tried being stern and consistent... sort of a ferber-ized method of telling him to go back to sleep, tucking him in, and leaving the room.  and i will admit that there were nights when the frustration took over and a raised my voice and several times actually yelled at him   the few nights we did that, he cried hysterically and was clingy and crabby during the day.  again... more frustration and shortness with him during the day from this tired momma.  with our strong attachment and the fact that i'm with him virtually 24 hours a day, this created so much stress in him.  then the night terrors began.  i've never actually seen one, but it was very disconcerting to know that my actions had most likely caused them.

so i went back to following my momma-gut and did what came natural.  i vowed to stay calm and speak lovingly no matter how frustrated i got.  each night, in conjunction with our normal nightly prayers, i began praying over him.  when he wakes up, i talk quietly and reassure him that "momma is here" and that he is safe.  we also cut out naps... he goes just fine most days without the sleep.

and you know what?

it's working.

he's sleeping better.  i'm sleeping better.  and most importantly, my lovey, sweet-acting boy is back.  there is less cranky talk and disobedience during the day.  i feel like this whole ordeal was meant to bring us closer.

i'm back on track to being the momma that i want to be...
the momma that he needs me to be.

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