Friday, March 30, 2012

The Demon At Bedtime

Oh, good lord, I need help.

A little over a month ago, we transitioned our two-year-old (33months) to a big girl bed.  She was sharing a room with the baby, but she was being so disruptive that we thought it would be easier if she shared a room with Sissy because she's older, and could set a great example at bedtime.  Well, it has been a month of utter hell.

Peanut will NOT stay in bed.

Not. At. All.

Over the past six weeks, I have tried every possible technique I could find for transitioning a child to a big bed.

We have tried the Super Nanny technique, wherein you never speak to the child, or make eye contact, just put them back in bed and walk out...except she follows me out.  No sooner have I closed the door, then it is open again.  If she doesn't open the door and come out, she just gets up and turns the light on and gets out toys.  Since she is sharing a room with her sister, it is majorly disruptive, and sometimes Sissy will be in tears because she's tired and Peanut will not go to sleep.  We just kept not talking and putting her back in bed, and she just keeps right on coming out.  It goes on for HOOOOUUUURS.

We tried Ferber.  I have spent hours sitting on the floor outside her bedroom door trying to wait her out.  Last night, I was there for almost two hours, hadn't heard a peep, got up, went downstairs...and there she was, right behind me.  Tonight was much the same, but instead of following my husband downstairs, she went into the baby's room and turned the light on, waking her up.  The Ferber method seems a battle of wills between who can sit quietly the longest.  So far, she wins.

Because Peanut is little, she still takes an afternoon nap.  I thought maybe it was keeping her from being sleepy at night, so I tried eliminating it.  First, she's a perfect little shit without a nap.  A screaming, tantrum throwing tyrant, to be exact.  And inevitably, she'd just go downstairs and sneak into my bedroom and fall asleep on my bed at about  o'clock PM, thus making bedtime an even more distant dream.  So i just cut her nap back.  I let her get good and cranky and then, after lunch, I let her sleep for about 45 minutes and then get her up.  But, hey, guess what?  It didn't work.  At all.  She's just as much awake, right now, at 10:30 at night, as she was with a two hour nap, or no nap at all.

I have tried various bedtime routines, bath before bed, no bath before bed.  Reading books before bed, not reading books.  Lullabies, different pj's, raising the thermostat, lowering the thermostat... I still can't find the sweet spot for a sleepy Peanut.

And because I am not perfect, I will also admit I have tried other Awesome Mom methods like screaming, bribing, cajoling, begging, pulling my hair out, and...yes, spanking.  All to no avail.  I cannot, for the life of me, get this child to sleep.  Not in a crib, not in a bed.  We have changed the bedtime routine.  We have tried putting her to bed at the same time as sissy, and we've tried putting her to bed hours before.  None of it matters.  Tonight, Sissy is actually sleeping in Bubba's room because she has an early soccer game and she needs a good night's sleep!!  Also, I was curious if she would do better in a room on her own.  I guess, if worst came to worst, we could rearrange the whole upstairs again and put her in her own room so at least she isn't disrupting everyone else, but it seem she's going to do that anyway.  God forbid I have to pee while she's still up, because she will hotfoot it as fast as possible into all the other rooms, turning lights on and and waking up everyone else.

So, I need help.  I need the demon to sleep.  How do I get that precious, sweet, smart, adorable, angelic DEMON to GO TO BED?!?!?!   Please, PLEASE, fill my comments with your wonderful mommy suggestions.  I need them.  My sanity is rapidly waning.  And I'm tired.  I want to go to bed!