Saturday, December 10, 2005

Feeling like the worst mother in the world

Bedtime continues to be hell. Last night was bad, tonight was worse still. Every night just makes me feel more and more like I'm no kind of mother if I can't figure out how to help my child get to sleep. Tonight I tried the "ghost spray" (some Glade air freshener I bought today) on a friend's suggestion - J wanted nothing to do with it (even though he seemed excited about the idea of spraying the ghosts away earlier in the day), and didn't even want to go into his room tonight. I tried asking him what he didn't like about his room, what happened to make him not like his room, everything I could think of. He just kept getting more and more worked up, howling that he wanted to sleep in my bed, wanted to go in my room, until he was nearly hysterical. Finally he came into my room with me, and he's so tired that he passed out on the floor of my room, still screaming. He's asleep there now - I just covered him up with blankets. I can't pick him up off the floor when he's sound asleep, and if I wake him up trying, who knows how long it will be before I get him back to sleep. But now he'll hardly go in his room at bedtime (he doesn't seem to have a problem with it the rest of the day), and he sees ghosts all around the house (my room, bathroom, kitchen, outside) and outside the house (we went to Little Gym today and he said there was a ghost on the truck next to ours in the parking lot).

I have NO idea how to proceed next, but I know something has got to give. I've made the room brighter, made the room darker, laid down with him (we used to do that and he'd go on to sleep in his bed), sat next to the bed and held his hand, had a warm bath before bedtime. I'm running out of ideas. I can't keep sleeping with him in my bed - I'm not rested, and the longer I go and the more tired I get, the shorter my temper gets (not good for me or him). He's not resting well, because he's tired during the day (but won't nap), and that's not good for him. And I can't let him sleep in the floor every night - I'm not sure he'd do it intentionally if I made a little pallet for him and asked him if he wanted to sleep there instead of actually *in* my bed, and I don't want him to just scream himself to sleep every night. And it just hurts me to see him so worked up, almost scared to go to sleep.

I know children are supposed to be more sensitive to paranormal phenomena than adults, and all of the going on about ghosts makes me wonder if this is more than just a phase and he just can't articulate what he sees, and it just happens to show up most in the form of not wanting to sleep in his own bed. I'm baffled, and very, very tired.

It seems to keep getting worse, and I have no idea what to do. I feel helpless and frustrated, and the fact that I'm tired and getting more tired by the day makes it worse. Bedtime shouldn't be this kind of a fight, and I don't know how to make it any better. It seems to me that this goes beyond just being afraid of missing something, just your run-of-the-mill fighting sleep, and it seems to me that it's more than him wanting to sleep with mama. I don't know what it is - bad dreams, paranormal phenomena, something I haven't even thought of - but there's some reason for this, and some reason it keeps getting worse. I just hope I can figure out what it is and address it before J and I both burst into flames.

And if this is all I seem to write about, it's consuming my life. I'm tired, yet nighttime doesn't necessarily mean rest. (Yes, I know, I should have/could have gone to bed when J passed out at 8:15 tonight, but I have things to do that didn't get done during the day because mama was J's favorite plaything. The dishes and the laundry won't do themselves.) The thought that, "Oh, crap, bedtime is coming up" lurks in the back of my mind all day. I'm not sure who dreads it more, me or J. And it SUCKS.


JamDaddy said...

You need to start sleeping in his room. This should allow you to get some sleep and show him it is safe. It will also let you know if the problem is simply an attachment to you.
Also, you should not really be his number one plaything. Invite his friends over more often. Kids play much better together. One of the things I learned when my kids were young was that two friends are much easier to watch than a single child. They keep each other company and two entertained kids are better than one crying child.

Lisa said...

Do you mean sleeping in there with him, or without him? I can't sleep in there with him, because I can't even get him in his bed. And I'm hesitant to leave him in my bed alone, because the top of the bed is about three feet off the floor. Not that he can't fall off with me in there just as easily as he could without, but it would make me nervous. I may try it, though, just out of the need for sleep.

And I'll see if one of his little buddies can come over from time to time. That's a good idea, and whoever comes here, sometimes that little friend's mom can return the favor and have my kid over there! :)

J is still asleep on the floor, so perhaps tonight will at least be an improvement in quality of sleep, even if he isn't in his bed.

Nell said...

Boy, I am usually full of assvice, but
I am lolst on this one. I always lean more towards forcing kids to face the fear and in turn "get over it" but I can see where that just may not work here.

I did some googling and found this:

Ask him to talk in detail about "the ghost" he saw. Write down what he says and try not to interrupt. Then ask what he thinks the ghost was trying to tell him. Often an imagined ghost or monster represents an unexpressed fear. Getting to the root of the fear in the conscious light of day can take away nighttime fears. "


JamDaddy said...

Sleep in there without him. I often slept all over the house with the kids when they were young. I would just wonder if he would feel safer in a place that was Mommy approved for sleeping. You can always tuck pillows around him on your bed. And heck, as a kid I fell off of plenty of bunk beds and survived, that must have been 5 or 6 feet. Well, I guess I would be the last to know if I lost IQ points.

A Mother's Serenity said...

Hmmm ..I too usually have some advice but this leaves me quiet! Have you thought of calling the pediatrician to seek advice about how to proceed? Just a thought....even maybe ask his teachers. We *usually*have tons of ideas up our sleeves for OTHER people's kids! LOL I never have the right answer for my own though! I agree with the playdates though! I often recoomend this to my parents in my classroom and it is something different for the kids!

I wish I had magical words for you to get some rest. Also, if you end up needing J to sleep with you...there are some rails you can get from BabiesRUs that fit under the mattress and clamp down on the sides of the bed that we have on A's big bed and they are awesome!