9 June 2010

Bedtime woes follow up

Thank you so much to everyone who offered support and kind words after my last post. I've been feeling very fragile about the whole thing after the little showdown between Noah and me two nights ago but thankfully Grant is home every evening this week and has been handling bedtime. I've been reading Harry Potter upstairs with Daniel. It's been a nice change to be able have time with him at bedtime instead of just sending him up to bed and having to deal with Noah for hours.

(They used to share a room but Daniel moved into the guest room when he got fed up with Noah's shenanigans at bedtime!)

I have spent time with Noah during the day when we are both calm and tried to talk to him about bedtime and he just says he's "not tired". I know he is tired at bedtime, he is showing all the signs, but what I think he means is that he's not sleepy or relaxed. I've tried to help him relax his little body by reading to him and lying with him and stroking his head or back but I think my presence just wound him up even more and he couldn't switch off.

Yesterday I moved a little hi-fi into Noah's room with the plan of playing a "Relax & Unwind" CD that I have. He has always been attuned to music and I really hoped it would help him relax. Well, he pitched a fit and didn't even want the hi-fi in his room and refused to let me turn it on to show him! (This was before bedtime.)

When bedtime rolled around he refused to have the music on and was absolutely impossible. I went upstairs to read with Daniel while Grant sat on the landing to keep Noah in his room. The whole time I heard Noah screaming for me. I know Grant wasn't hurting him, Noah just knows I am a softer touch than his dad who has more patience. It was really hard on all of us. It was especially hard on me to hear my baby screaming, "I want my Mommy!" and not go to him, but I knew he wasn't in real distress, he was just wanting his own way. I didn't step in because Grant had said he'd handle it to give me a break, and I didn't want to be disrespectful to him. After a while Noah calmed down and was on his bed singing to himself and moving around. As usual he couldn't even lie still.

(I just want to reiterate here that we don't necessarily expect him to go straight to sleep; he's allowed to look at books and play with toys on his bed and even have a little lamp on, he just has to stay on his bed ... but he doesn't.)

After a bit he got out of bed and Grant asked him why he was off his bed and he said, "To turn the music on." So Grant put the Relax & Unwind music on and lo and behold, it really helped to relax him and he was soon asleep! My stubborn little boy. It just had to be his decision and on his terms.

Today I asked him if the music helped to relax him and he excitedly told me, "Yes, it did!" So hopefully he'll be amenable to having it on at bedtime after story book etc. I will also try a little lavender essential oil which has never worked before on its own but combined with the music might help him relax.

I've had a lot of input from you guys and also from a message board I posted on. I promise I have read with gratitude and spent a lot of time thinking about each and every message posted. I know myself very well and I know Noah very well and we just have to try the things that are right for our family, but thank you to everyone who took the time to post comments and email. I am grateful, even if we don't end up using your suggestion. The support when I needed it really touched my heart.

I am feeling less fragile and more confident now and ready to move forward helping Noah to be successful at bedtime. I am prepared to sit outside his door with a new attitude, if that's what he needs. I think some of the trouble with accepting this solution was the way I was raised in South Africa - adults made the decisions and as a child you just did as you were told. Theer was no negotiating or explaining. Although I don't necessarily believe that that is right, it is so ingrained in me that I had a real conflict inside at the concept that I'd have to sit by his room every night, it felt like he was playing me and that he was calling the shots. But I am working through my conflicted feelings and trying to be respectful to Noah's needs. Like I said, this is a solution I am willing to embrace if he needs it, with a new attitude. I'll see it as "me-time" and time to read my scriptures or a book and relax for a little while before going downstairs.

Wish us luck - and thanks again for the support. You guys rock.

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