Thursday, June 5, 2008

I've Got the Blues. The Bedtime Blues.

I love being pregnant.

Maybe I should clarify. I lovED being pregnant. See the difference? LovED means past tense. As in, NOT currently. Okay. Moving on.

I LovED being pregnant. There was only one thing I dreaded. Right around the seven month mark I would always dread bedtime. How do you possibly get comfortable with a basketball hiding in your pajamas, an internal heater cranked up to "inferno", a bed full of pillows (one for your head, one for your legs, one for your side....), and a feeling of insanity caused by your restless legs? Comfortable just wasn't happenin".

Well, guess what? I'm beginning to dread bedtime again.

Right now, this very moment, Connor is screaming in his bed. I think he finally might be there to stay at least. For the last 1/2 hour he has been getting out of bed and I have been quickly returning him. (I'm trying to use Super Nanny's, "don't talk to them, just put them back in their bed" technique. Which is very difficult to do by the way, when all you want to do is scream!) This type of behavior has been going on since the kids have been in their new beds. We did have a honeymoon phase of a few days where Connor went to bed like a charm, but those days are over. We went straight from the honeymoon to divorce court. It's getting ugly.

We've tried it all. Well, it feels like it anyway. Okay, so we are only on method number three maybe, but I'm getting desperate here.

When we first put the kids in the room together Kendon was worried that they would stay up playing and talking and giggling and getting into trouble all night. I looked forwarded to them chatting together at the end of their day, hoping it would be good sibling bonding time, but also worried that it would get out of hand. To combat this issue from the very beginning, I bought a cheap $2.00 kitchen timer. We set it for 15 minutes when they crawl into bed and they can talk, sing, giggle, whatever they want as long as they are IN their beds. After the 15 minutes it is quiet time. In the morning, if they obeyed the timer rules, they would get a sticker on their chart. After five stickers they would get a prize. The first night this worked like a charm. Connor climbed into bed, I set the timer and much to my pleasant surprise I hear him ask Sirri, "How was your day Sirri? How was t-ball? Did you hit the ball? Did you run fast?" It was too cute. I was so proud of my plan that night. Well, one round of that and Connor was done. The novelty of the timer and the sticker wore off. Goodbye stickers and timer.

So, I took the kids to Walmart. They each were allowed to pick out a bag of cereal. Whatever they wanted. This is a big deal cause at our house the only cereal we eat is basically Multi Grain Cheerios. I'm not a big fan of all the sugary sweet stuff. So, I figured this would be a big deal. On nights that the kids went to bed well, they would get to eat their "special" cereal in the morning. This was on Monday. Think Connor has gotten his special cereal yet? NOPE!

I am just at a loss. All day long I worry about bedtime and what to do and how it's going to go, and how long Connor is going to fight it, and whether I have enough patience to keep my cool, and why my poor boy is in need of attention so badly that he is resorting to this. I think that is the hardest part for me. The "why" behind it all. Does Connor need some attention so bad that he is resorting to this? It makes my heart ache and my brain so angry all at the same time.

So, HELP! Any suggestions?


Update: I wrote this a few days ago. Then Kendon and I had a good long talk about poor Connor and the idea that he must be wanting for attention. So we decided that we would both make a concerted effort to strive to give him more positive attention during the day and NO attention at night. So, last night Kendon and I decided to try ignoring Connor all together. When he got out of his bed we just acted like he wasn't there. If it was attention he was after, he wasn't going to get it. We went about our usual business, folding laundry, doing dishes, reading a book, eating ice cream, all the while Connor followed us around like little puppies. After about an hour of this, Connor finally went and crawled in bed and went to sleep. It was a success in as much as there was no crying and screaming and gnashing of teeth from Connor (or his mommy!) last night.

I'm still at a loss as what to do with him when he stays IN his room being naughty though. (Like the writing on the walls and sheets, the tearing apart of books etc.) What kind of Love and Logic do you use there? He is going to use his "Jensen Family Dollars" to replace the book and bed sheets he ruined. That I know. But I'm still in need of some immediate consequences.

Man, I miss THIS kid.


andrea said...

the one thing i have found is that kids can be as consistent as we can. you are doing some really awesome things, and as consistent as you are about doing them, he may be about fighting them. the most likely scenario is that this will be a phase, and you just have to wait it out. but how you do that will make a difference in the end. you could scream and yell at him every night, and when he grows out of this phase, he'll remember that. or you could do all the fantastic things you're doing, and when he grows out of this phase, he'll have seen patience, love, kindness and conisistency. those are the things that will shape his character.

mother theresa.

Rick and Annie said...

Hey dal and connor must be going through the same phase because your house sounds like mine. The only advice i can give is have patience because I know when i get upset with dal it just makes matters worse and he fight bedtime more. I say this knowing how hard it can be. We did the stickers and the cereal thing too among many other things.

Rochelleht said...

Ouch, well, I'm not the girl to ask this today, because my children were lucky to make it to church alive today and I had some repenting to do before the sacrament came around. I failed parenting 101 today.

Bridget said...

Oh this is so hard. My only recommendation is a book called Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child. Christie introduced me to this book and it worked like a dream. Now I used it when my kids were babies so I don't know about toddler or preschool age advice but I know the baby advice worked. Good luck!

jessica said...

Oh, that's so tough! Hang in there.

Stephanie said...

ok, so I love the timer thing. I don't have the problem with my kids getting up ANYMORE..but you know what we did? (your going to think it's crazy..) But...

My husband, when he is home, and I take turns laying with 1 child during the time I want absolutly NO NOISE. (mind you, I have 3 boys in the same room.) So, we lay in bed with 1 child for 5 - 10 mintues. The rule is no talking allowed, but we have a great time hugging and kissing, and the boys loved their backs rubbed, and they love to rub our backs and it calms them down and allows us special 1 on 1 time with them, but still no talking!! 85% of the time they are asleep by the time we leave, but if they are not asleep, we still leave. If they continue to make noise and after quiet time we will skip their turn laying with them when time comes around.

So far,(in 6.5 months)we have only had to skip a child 1 time and they were upset enough not to do it again. Plus it showed the other kids we were serious.

Just a side note...99.9% of the time my husband falls asleep upstairs with the kids.
That's what we do.
Hope this gives you an idea.


Pam said...

"Mother Theresa" said it best! Just be patient dolly! This to shall pass! I love all the pictures, especially the one of Sirri running . . . check out the tongue!!! I love that genetic stuff! Some of your woes will go away if you come to Grandma's house this weekend. Are you coming?!?!?!? Love, Mom

NT Weekes Family said...

Lisa, I'm going through this with my 3 year old too. Not every night, but almost. it's getting less & less each night. maybe 3-4 nights out of the week he'll do the whole "show thing" I've tried the nanny thing by not talking to him, but I'm I have been getting better at not yelling & getting angry with him. I give him books to look at & then Tom & I start threatening him... like, if you get out of bed we'll turn the light off (our bathroom light on for a night light)or, we'll close the door.(he likes his door open.. to see the light from the bathroom. sometimes he gets the light turned off & then he gets it, other times he gets both. patience is hard! I think it is the most challenging thing a mother deals with ALL DAY!
Keep doing what your doing... consistancy is the best!

Lauren said...

We have had the same problems here, too. It is really difficult for us, as well.

I love your timer idea so they get some unwind time. That is genius!

One thing we tried was putting a CD player in the room to keep them company. We have tried saying, you can't get out of bed until all the songs are over...We used the Primary CDs and we also have some kiddie songs. Then we got stories on tape and they like that, too.

My son, Adam usually can stay up and listen to the whole thing though, and walks out once it is done so, that has backfired recently.

One thing Adam and Brian have been saying is that they are scared. So, I have been reading my scriptures and saying my prayers in their room at night. They are NOT allowed to talk to me because, I have to concentrate but, I am there to keep them company and it keeps them in their beds. Sometimes by the time I finish my personal prayers 2 out of 3 are asleep. Sadly, I have fallen asleep while reading in there (I usually lay on the floor with a pillow) and my husband has to come wake me up. I told him I was just feeling the peacefulness that comes from the scriptures ;)

Kim said...

Aunt Kimmy's solution??? Send him to my house! We will take him off your hands for a couple days! :)

I know he's a stinker right now but boy he's a cute one!!

Jessica said...

I've had total battles with Seth lately on bedtime and spent a half hour holding the door shut (no lock...yet) the other night, before I figured out how to tie it shut. And then he POOPED on the floor. I remained calm (big victory for me) but talk about physically and emotionally draining. And I had to do it again at naptime.

That said, he went to bed perfectly last night and had a good nap today, so maybe he just had to know I was serious??

Penny said...

Honey, don't be too hard on yourself. I remember the night times. You are tired, they are tired. (Has he started the nightmares yet?) That's a whole other story.

You have three small children; it won't be forever. You are a wonderful mommy, but it can be hard. Also remember, Connor is a boy, and they don't think like girls and mommies. Keep doing what you are doing and keep doing it with hugs and kisses. Like Andrea said, that is what he will remember. When he does turn 13, he will remember what he was taught (though it won't be easy then either) and you will miss the little boy. Like Kim, I wish I could take him for a few days, too. I'd bring Grace and Grant over to give him a little competition and friendship. :)

Love you, Aunt Penny

Grandma W. said...

This too shall pass! And, like Aunt Penny said, everyone is tired by that time at night and it seems much worse than it is! Maybe if you put him to bed just a tad earlier than the other two, he would learn to be a good boy so he could stay up with them. It is hard to know just what works with different kids! Hang in there!!
We love you!