Their Bad Mother

Their Bad Mother

To Sleep, Perchance To Get Kicked In The Head

We’re just not sleeping around here. Like, never.

Jasper goes to bed sometime between 7:30 and 8pm; Emilia, shortly thereafter. Depending upon work schedules, the extent of laundry build-up and what’s on television any given night, my husband and I get to bed anywhere between 10pm and midnight. Which gives us anywhere between two hours and zero minutes of sleep before Jasper wakes up.

If we’re lucky, he can be settled and will go back to sleep for a few hours. IF we’re lucky. If we’re not lucky, he’ll either settle briefly and then wake up again, or he won’t settle at all. Either way, he invariably ends up in bed with us, clinging to my hair and kicking Kyle in the neck for most of the night. Which might be manageable, were it not for the fact that Emilia now also invariably wakes up in the night and wants to sleep with us, too. So by 3am on any given morning, our sleeping configuration involves one squirmy, hair-grabbing toddler, one jimmy-legged four year old, two crabby Siamese cats, my husband and me. It’s a king bed, but still.


It is not conducive to sleep.

And we’re at a loss. Jasper’s going through some growth and development spurts, and the constant explosion of baby teeth can’t be helping, but still: will this ever stop? And if it does, will Emilia ever return to sleeping in her own bed the whole night through. And how the hell can we get those cats to stop squawking every time they’re shoved off of the pillows?

An idea we’re toying with: we think that Jasper might be ready for a big-boy toddler bed, and Emilia has been asking for a bunk bed, so… do we move him in with her? Let her have her bunk, with little brother tucked and fenced into the berth below? Will the shared accommodations help her with her reluctance to stay alone in her room? And will moving from crib to real bed (where he’ll have more room to toss about without banging his head) help Jasper sleep for longer stretches at night? Or will such a move just make everything worse?

I can’t take worse. That said, I don’t see how things could possibly get any worse. Which means that it can’t hurt to try.

So, we’ll try. Are we crazy? Tell me we’re not crazy. NEED HOPE.

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posted October 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm

OMG! We went through the same thing. We even had the little man sleeping n his own bed then we moved and caved to his new place insecurities. Finally, we just got him a big boy bed (full) and redecorated his room and put the dog in with him. I bought him a special pillow of his own comfort creature pillow. And, for about 2 weeks we had a nightly stalker, but we just stood our ground and relocated him every time.
Good luck!

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posted October 20, 2009 at 7:35 pm

You’re not crazy. We have the same sorts of issues, although the nightly wakings are different. Frankly, I think the youngest (ours) wakes the eldest. Nate used to sleep through the night.
Anyway, we put Jakey in a big boy bed when he was 23 months and it’s a lot better. It’s easier to try and settle him there by lying with him then in our bed. Our boys share a room out of necessity. They don’t seem to mind.
Re a bunk, I think the recommended age for being in the upper bunk is 6, but I might be wrong on that count.
Either way, I know this will pass for us, so it will for you too. Meanwhile, I drink my weight in coffee somedays.

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posted October 21, 2009 at 12:21 am

You are not alone! Our boys (5 and almost 2) share a room with a loft style bunk bed. They’ve always shared a room and when we moved 3 months ago we switched the little guy from a crib to the regular bottom bunk – he’d learned how to scale the crib. Since we moved nighttime sleeping has been a battle. It took forever to get them to go to sleep and stay in their beds and one or both of them was waking up every night and ending up with us. Then last week the big boy snuck down and slept in the bottom bunk with his brother. And nobody came and got us during the night!!!!! So now we’ve just started tucking them both into the bottom bed. They stay in bed much easier, fall asleep faster, and stay in their room throughout the night. I say give it a try!

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posted October 21, 2009 at 1:47 am

I kept a sleeping bag on the floor of the master bedroom for years for night-waking kids. Because as much as I believed in the family bed for little ones, I didn’t relish being kicked in the head by a four-year-old.
And here’s a random (and gross) potential cause for night-waking: Pinworms. Ick and yuck and gross and sleep-disturbing.

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Your Name

posted October 21, 2009 at 6:56 am

is he sleeping too much during the day??

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posted October 21, 2009 at 9:03 am

With five kids and believing in the family bed, I can honestly say I have been there…done that.
We instituted the sleeping bag on the floor. Emilia is old enough for that. If she insists on sleeping in your room…then the sleeping bag it is.
Jasper is a little more tricky. If I were you, I wouldn’t kick him out of your bed yet. I know. I know. But he’s still so little!
An option for the future is getting a double bed and having them share a room. It may end up being a cozy, wonderful time for the two of them to cuddle in bed.

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posted October 21, 2009 at 9:25 am

Jasper is actually sleeping less and less during the day. One nap, generally, and ordinarily not a long one. So. Too much daytime sleep is not the problem.
Mandy – I’ve seen 4 years and 5 years and 6 years cited for bunk safety. But Emilia is a tall girl, and very, VERY limber and dexterous (has been climbing since 6 months) and with a high barrier around the top berth, I’m not too concerned.

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red pen mama

posted October 21, 2009 at 9:45 am

You’re not crazy. You need to get some sleep. I can’t imagine how you are doing it. When I am not getting sleep, I am barely functional. And I yell a lot more.
So, yeah. I say try it. We put the girls into the same room, and while it was not all smooth sailing — and they have relapses, so to speak — it has helped.
Good luck.

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posted October 21, 2009 at 9:52 am

Nicky, our 3 year old, has been up nights lately too. I think maybe nightmares and/or an active imagination are to blame. With just him we usually have been pulling him into bed till he falls asleep and then putting him back, but with two that won’t be possible. I do like the sleeping bag idea though. We might try that.
As for Jasper, the big boy bed might be the answer. Nicky was a climber, so if you’re thinking of bunk beds, maybe consider whether he’ll be climbing up to the top, and if you’re ok with that. (I’m guessing they’re sharing a room.) Some bunk beds can come apart to be two twins or a bunk bed. That might be a good option for now, and then when he’s ok to climb you could bunk them up.
But whatever you do, you need more sleep! I wonder if Jasper might even be ok to sleep on a cot in your room or a sleeping bag instead of in the bed with you when he wakes up.

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posted October 21, 2009 at 11:44 am

I think that it can’t hurt for them to share a room, and as for a bunk bed, try a loft bed from Ikea (lower, made for younger children), and stick a matress on the floor (or on a platform about three inches off the floor for air circulation) for the bottom bunk. Our oldest slept sooo much better (but not perfectly, sorry) once he was out of the crib at 18 mo. And the two youngest quit migrating to our bed, much of the time, once they started sharing a room.
Good luck! Lack of sleep is awful and debilitating, and I hope you get a full night (or seventy-hundred nights of sleep in a row) soon.

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posted October 21, 2009 at 11:54 am

I would definately try it. It can’t hurt, right? I think having them in the same room might help them to sleep better, since they are not alone. Emilia probably doesn’t want to sleep in her bed because Jasper gets to sleep in your’s. If the bunk beds don’t work, the sleeping bag on the floor might. GOOD LUCK!

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posted October 22, 2009 at 7:43 am

I’m not always a fan of Super-Nanny, but her back-to-sleep technique worked for us, once our kids hit toddler stage. It can be exhausting for a few days, but the pay-off was sooooo worth it.
I don’t think I’d put both kids in the same room until Jasper figured out his thang. You don’t need the stress of him possibly waking up Emilia when you’re trying to get him on track (it might be noisy).
My almost-5 year old goes through periods where she wakes up frequently at night. My latest trick, which (miraculously) worked, was to suggest she would get a smiley face if she didn’t wake me up at night. They have a lot of sticker charts and rewards like this at school, and she picked right up on it. Since I’m up before the rest of the house, I just scrawl a smiley face on a piece of paper and leave it in her place at the table with a “Bravo!” or something. Now she looks forward to it.
I’m all for co-sleeping if everyone is happy with it. It would never work in our house (I’m too selfish when it comes to sleep!), so getting my kids in bed, their own bed, and staying there has always been a bit of a pet project for me :)

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J from Ireland

posted October 22, 2009 at 7:52 am

Haha my 2yr old daughter was the exactly the same at night, in our bed, a pain in the arse. On tuesday I got her a toddler bed and put her in the room with her big sister. By some miracle, for the last 2 nights she has sleep all night long. I am so happy and less tired, although my 9yr old son said now there is room for him in my bed!! He can f*%$ off!!

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posted October 22, 2009 at 12:12 pm

I’ve never been one for the family bed, so we worked very hard to make sure our kids slept in their own rooms. Having said that, we moved them in together when they were 6 and 3 and have never regretted it. They’re 10 and 13 now, and neither is squalking for his own room.
For your two, how about a trundle bed? They’d be next to each other, and if one falls out, he/she simple falls into the other bed. I also agree with the sleeping bag idea. Whenever my boys were sick and wanted to sleep with us, I put them on the floor on a bunch of fluffy comforters. They were fine with that and still do it sometimes.
I think when I was debating the idea of having them share a room, a friend of mine showed me a study that kids sleep BETTER when they sleep with siblings. I say give it a try; you have NOTHING to lose at this point. Good luck!

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posted October 22, 2009 at 11:23 pm

I’d do it if I were you. If they are getting up at night after that you shouldn’t react or give in when they want to get in bed with you. Just calmly state that you love them and they must sleep in their own bed and do not speak further as you lead them back and kiss their heads. You might as well get used to the idea that they will do this until they get it through their heads that you will not change your mind (which will mean work on your part to be consistent). Right now there’s no reason for them to quit doing it since, up to now, they have learned to get what they want when they are up at night. I’m not against co-sleeping, but this is obviously a problem for you that is making you unhappy so it’s time to change the game right? You’re a good loving mom, but you deserve to sleep and it will make you an even better mommy and partner when you start to get some. Good luck!

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