It appears my son has a new hobby: screaming each night for up to an hour when we try to put him to bed.
It started almost a week ago. My husband was off playing cards with his buddies, so it was just me putting the little guy to sleep. We went through our usual routine. I read him several of his favorite stories (his choices), sang him a song, talked about his day, said good night to all the things in his room and then sang him another song before blowing him kisses at the door. All was fine, until the door closed. Then the crying started. It wasn’t the cry of pain. It was basically a mini tantrum full of “Mommy, I want you! Mommy come back!” And when I didn’t, he wasn’t happy. He cried for about 20 minutes off and on, but then went to sleep.
The next night my husband was home and we again went through our routine, this time starting with a bath. Low and behold, the same thing happened. He was fine until the door shut and then the crying started. To make matters worse, around 11:00 when I went to check on him, he woke up, saw a bit of light and freaked out again. This time it took him about 10 minutes to calm and go back to sleep.
Friday, however, was the worst night we’ve had since the night we brought him home from the hospital—before we knew he wasn’t getting enough to eat and that he was really hungry. We’d driven up to my parents’ house for a family shindig the next day. Due to some rotten traffic, we didn’t get there until almost 7:30. My son was more than a little hungry, but was so excited to see my folks (or more likely my dad’s train sets) that he wanted to play. We finally started dinner around 8, which is his normal bed time. He ate well and seemed in a good mood, but by the time he finished dinner, it was 8:30 and I knew I needed to get him to bed. I gave him 10 more minutes to play and then we went through our routine.
I wasn’t exactly surprised when I heard him crying five minutes after I walked out of the room. I sighed, but kept working on the computer. In the 2 years or so he’s been sleeping through the night, I’ve learned that unless he is crying for more than 30 minutes, I’ve gotta leave him alone and let him wind down. So, 30 minutes later when he was still crying, I decided to check on him.
He stopped crying the moment I walked in. I decided to lay down on the bed next to his toddler bed (the one I was going to be sleeping in) to calm him down. Usually when I do this, he falls asleep within 15 minutes. Not this time though. I fell asleep and woke up nearly 30 minutes later to hear him talking. Since it was now 10:30, I gave up, and went to put my pjs on. I was tired anyway. I crawled in to bed, told my son good night and figured we’d both drift off. Boy was I wrong.
First my son wanted to crawl in bed with me. When I told him no, he got upset and started telling me “yes.” I finally gave in and helped him get up on the bed. But, he didn’t want to sleep. No, he wanted to talk to me. When I wouldn’t talk, he decided to start messing with my hair. When I told him to stop, he did, for about a minute. I threatened to put him back down on his bed, so he stopped, but then he wanted to put pillows on me. I threw it off the bed. So he grabbed the stuffed animals.
Finally I walked out of the room, nearly in tears. It was a little after 11. I was tired and could not believe he was still awake. My father went in to try to calm him down. He was in there for a long time, so I thought I should check on him. My father said he was almost asleep, but I didn’t buy it. Still, I crawled in to bed, hoping he’d go to sleep.
No luck! He was right back up to his old tricks. He was up trying to climb on my bed. Then when I told him to get down, he’d laugh, tell me he was sorry and get down. I tried letting him back up on my bed, but it didn’t help. Pillows came flying! I was so very, very angry! I once again got up and left the room. Not that it helped. When I calmed down and went back in, he was awake and waiting for me.
This time I tried some warm milk and songs. Not that they worked, but I tried. I put him back on his toddler bed and figured one of us had to sleep. Finally, around 2 am, I no longer heard him. Of course, he woke up at 7. When I told him it was too early to be awake, he did crawl into bed with me and go back to sleep until 8:30. I guess that’s something.
I thought once we got home it might be better, but I was wrong. Saturday night was awful! He cried for over an hour, even though both my husband and I went in there several times to check on him. He didn’t need anything, except one of us.
Sunday was the same thing, only the crying died down after 30 minutes or so. Then he woke up around midnight and cried–this time only for two minutes or so.
Last night though…well, last night was bad. He cried for about 30 minutes, which was better than it could have been, but he woke up twice, both times crying. The first time he stopped in under five minutes, but the second time, well, he just kept going. My husband went in, changed his diaper and told him to go to sleep, but it didn’t help. He just cried, “Mommy! Daddy!” It had to go on for 20 minutes. Just as I was about to give up, get up and go in, he stopped.
This morning I had to wake him up at 9:15, which kind of threw our day off. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’ve got to find a solution. We can’t spend an hour putting him to bed (like last night) or an hour up in the middle of the night getting him calmed back down.