March 29, 2007

Sound Advice.

Ezra has figured out how to climb out of his bed.

I'm convinced that a more unholy sentence has never been typed.

This kid has always been an amazing sleeper. Every night (at 8:00 sharp) since he was tiny, we sing him a song and say our prayers with him and put him in bed and he always drifts right off to sleep- never making a peep until 12 hours later. And at naptime- I could always just plop him into bed and know he'd be out for 2 or 3 hours without any snafus or complications.

That all changed the other day when he discovered that (surprise!) his bed was only 12 inches off of the ground.

I knew this day would come... I kindof hoped for it in a way. I had visions of Ezra creeping out of his little bed at 8:00 in the morning and playing with his toys in his room until 8:30 or so when he would quietly sneak into my room and wake me up with a gentle, loving kiss kiss (and perhaps he would be carrying a hot cup of half coffee, half milk with 2 scoops of sugar in his hand for me.)

Was this so unrealistic?

Bedtime hasn't been affected at all, of course. He still goes right to sleep and then cries in his bed until I drag myself up off my pillow and go in and get him. It's naptime that has become the power struggle. He wiggles his way out of bed the second I close his door and he tiptoes around and reads books and spins in circles. I know all of this because I can see his little feet when I peek under his door. Oh, and he sings to himself all quiet like. Pretty darn cute. So, one or two days this week, I've just left him alone. I figured if he was playing quietly in his room for an hour, he would still be rested and then I could still have my hour to tiptoe around and read books and spin in circles, too. It's only fair, right?

Both times I tried this approach, however, Ezra morphed into the grumpiest little troll you could ever imagine by the time the clock struck 6:00PM. The other couple days this week, I may have strategically planned to be driving around in circles at about the same time he would be getting sleepy. This worked out wonderfully because I could just transfer him from his carseat to his bed without ever waking him up, and he was asleep so he didn't even know he was only 12 inches off the floor! HA HA! This may have been the easy route, but I knew this approach wouldn't help him in the long run. I knew I just needed to bite the bullet and teach him that when it's naptime, he's not allowed to get out of bed.

So, today I spent a good hour trying to get him to chill out and stay in his bed, and he finally fell asleep. What I did was I told him it was naptime, and I put him in his bed. Then I just sat by it and closed my eyes and didn't interact with him or respond to him. When he tried to get out of bed, I calmly said "No, Ezra. It's night-night time.", and then I put him back in bed. He, um, hated this, but I did it three or four times and then I said, "Okay. Night night!", and I left the room. And it actually worked! He's asleep! In his bed! And I'm twirling and blogging and tiptoeing! Glorious.

I got this idea from the one time I watched that TV show "The Supernanny". She had a mom on there do this technique with her son who kept crawling out of his crib to come sleep in their bed with them everynight. She just kept gently putting him back in bed- not once giving in and letting the kid control the situation- and after a week or so, the kid was drifting off to sleep on his own and he knew that he needed to sleep in his own bed.

So, okay... not all the stuff you see on TV or read in books is bad. (obviously.) There is some really good advice out there that might actually work for you and your kid. I think parenting is mostly just the struggle to find that balance between your heart and your head. Just like all things in life seem to be. I'm learning to listen to my heart while also filling my head up with sound advice and counsel from sources that I trust. Children were never meant to be raised completely isolated and shutoff from other's input. Communities used to raise children.

Thanks for all your helpful advice and comfort on my last post. I feel much better about the whole situation, and I am planning on checking out his ears just to make sure everything is OK in there. If it all checks out OK, then I can just relax and let the boy find his own voice in his own time. (Thanks especially to Megan's mom... if that was Megan's mom [?] .... for the sound advice.)

(no pun intended.)


Cheatwoods said...

that really is unfair but super cool that you get a kid that sleeps that much!

And you know I was thinking more about the talking and I looked at the picture, and do you think that he might not talk as much becuase he has half a face?? Just a thought!!

Misguided Mommy said... son won't stay in any bed more then an hour. not even at night. Sigh.

and also, you are the bajillionth person to refer to the bugs in my cereal as protien. I have to then explain that since I am a vegetarian I simply can not eat bugs, since afterall i don't eat anything with a mom, or a face, and bugs have both!

Andrea June said...

Oh, Emery, I'm SO glad that you were able to get him to sleep in his bed! Hooray! I know I've said it before, but you're an AMAZING mom and doing a fabulous job :) Keep up the good work!

Cristina Mathers said...

ellie climbing out of her crib is my biggest fear right now. however shall i contain her?