This week, A and I have been attempting to fix a problem with R that started more than a year ago. It's completely our own fault. When we moved R to a big boy bed, the only way we could figure out to keep him in it at bedtime was to lay down with him until he fell asleep. Eventually, that also morphed into R waking up at some point during the night and requiring my presence. So, I've pretty much been sleeping in R's bed for many, many months.
Sometimes it's lovely. I get to snuggle with my sweet boy and watch him sleep and see his happy, smiley face first thing in the morning. But other times, it makes me grumpy. I want to sleep in my own bed where I'm much more comfortable because I'm not being kicked or elbowed or pinned down by legs and arms or given merely inches of space in which to occupy my body. And, I get tired of being needed all day and all night. I need some space for me. And, of course, sleeping in the same bed as A would be nice, too!
Mostly, though, I think the lack of good sleep has been affecting my overall mood and my patience level with R. He's really been grating on my nerves recently. I held it together most of the time that A was gone last week, but on Sunday, it all welled up and I had a bit of a meltdown. I hid most of it from R and tried to just escape to another room instead of screaming and yelling, but he still said, "Mommy, you're scaring me!" And, of course, that made me feel like a pile of dog doo. I think if I get some adequate sleep, I'll be better able to tolerate when he wipes his marker-stained fingers on my clothes or climbs onto the pollen-covered hood of the car for the 1,000th time or takes off down the street without A or me.
So, for the last two nights, we've worked on getting R to fall asleep on his own. He's done it before (well, a handful of times besides when he was in the crib), but he's had a rough time this week. Last night was awful. He cried (mostly fake, but some real) for close to two hours and sorrowfully whined about being lonely. We did go up and check on him and reassure him every so often, but in the end, he pretty much collapsed from exhaustion. He (and we!) did sleep without interruption until about 4 a.m. He yelled for me then, so I went in to check on him and gently refused to climb into bed with him but told him he could come in our room (which is fine with me), so he did.
It's been hard, but the end result has been very good so far: I've slept all night in my own bed, I didn't wake up with a sore neck and shoulders, and - miracle of all miracles - I was able to get up in the morning, take a shower, get dressed, and eat breakfast while A and R slept. Usually, as soon as I stir, R wakes up, cries as if I'm leaving him for a year, and I have to turn the TV on to entertain him while I get ready for work. (Well, I know I don't *have* to, but that's generally what works.) And, today I got to work on time!
We've also been trying to emphasize R's accomplishment at sleeping by himself. Because another big thing that bothers me about my sleeping in his bed is that maybe I've somehow led him to believe that he can't do it by himself, that he's not strong enough emotionally. So, we've been asking him how he feels in the morning this week - if he feels proud. I'm trying to push the personal independence and satisfaction. He doesn't go for rewards or bribes - we've tried that before - you know, if you sleep by yourself for three nights this week, you can get a new Lego kit. His love for a new toy does not outweigh his love for his mama or at least his desire to have a giant warm body next to him at night. But anyway...
Today has been lovely since: I walked to the train station this morning in the beautiful sunshine, I've been happy and smiling all day at work, and I've had time to talk to God.
Keep your fingers crossed for night #3 of Operation Snooze!