Saturday, January 12, 2013

Parenting 101

mentioned this post before, then thought of scrapping it because Quinn seemed to be back on track, sleep-wise. But I underestimated the depth and fortitude of toddler sleep regression. And the holidays happened. Then Chris left for a field project for nine days and I learned that being a single parent is pretty much the type of torture they outlaw at the U.N.  how I imagine it must be to tame a wild mustang, so ... not very easy at all.

But - hey! - at least I haven't had any time or energy to think about cancer. You guys were tired of hearing about that anyway, right?

We were pretty lucky for about a year. Other than a teething/double ear infection incident last summer that resulted in a sleepless night and a visit to a clinic in Canada, Quinn was a pretty solid 12-hour-a-night sleeper. He didn't always nap during the day, but we were willing to take that trade.

About a month three months ago, maybe two four, Quinn learned how to (very skillfully, actually) climb out of his crib. Chris and I were sitting at our computers catching up on work one afternoon when we heard the telltale "THUMP" and Quinn came running down the hallway going "woah, woah, woah," a huge proud grin on his face. With that skill acquired, he refused to nap because climbing is so much fun, mom!, so weekend naps disappeared. Somehow, they could still get him to nap at daycare most days. By the end of the day, though, he would be so wiped out that he made no effort to escape his crib at night. We figured we were safe for another few months before we'd have to make the transition to a toddler bed.

We might have been wrong.

Something switched for Quinn a couple of weeks months ago. It started with a 5:30 a.m. wake-up on a Friday morning and a refusal to go to sleep that night until after 10 p.m., three hours later than his usual bedtime. Saturday, he was up again at 5:45. WEEKENDS, KID - they're for sleeping in. We had a babysitter that night, and she texted me just after 7 to let me know how easy it had been to put him down for bed. I told her only half-jokingly that she was hired for bedtime forever.

This proved to us what we had suspected for awhile: I'm the problem in this sleep equation. Quinn is so utterly attached to me that he refuses to let me leave the room. And I suppose I'm a sucker because I'm not ready to lock him in his room and see if he'll chew his way out. I don't need those therapy bills.

Sunday night rolled around, and we thought we'd outsmarted him. I would do bathtime and read a few stories, but then I said my goodnights and left the house for Chris to put Quinn to sleep. Chris texted me 20 minutes later to let me know he was down and it was safe to come back in. We thought we were so smart.

We might have been wrong.

I had a hard time falling asleep that night, since I'd started my steroids for chemo on Monday morning. It was probably after midnight by the time I was out. Approximately an hour later, I heard the familiar thud and cry: Quinn was out of his crib and upset that his door was closed. We tried to put him back in bed, to no avail. The little escape artist would be up and over the railing before we'd even gotten out of the room.

We tried bringing him into our bed, and I think these people who cosleep with their toddlers must have beds twice the size of ours because I kept getting kicked in the face. We also tried me sleeping on the floor next to Quinn's crib, holding his hand through the slats to let him know I hadn't gone anywhere. My hand fell asleep as all the blood drained out and my neck cramped from the odd angle of my pillow on the hard floor. I was definitely not getting any sleep, and Quinn thought I was there to play. Every 10 minutes or so, he'd raise his little head and say sweetly to me, "Hi!"

We tried bringing his crib mattress into the floor in our room, thinking that would let him be close but not within striking distance of my head. He wailed to get back in bed with us, standing at the edge repeating, "Up, up, up..." like the world's cutest broken record. By 4 a.m., we were at our wit's end. By 4:30 or so, Quinn finally fell asleep between us and we were able to nod off for another 2 hours before Monday morning's alarm went off.

Not the best prep for a chemo session.

And this scenario has pretty much been on repeat since the 1st of the year, only this time Quinn threw bronchitis into the mix, I caught his cold, and Chris was gone for eight days. If I had any hair, I would have been pulling it out.

So, parents out there - any suggestions? I looked into crib tents, but they've been outlawed for suffocating kids, so I don't think we want to go that route. Have any of you had any luck switching to a toddler bed at 22 months? Do they make night nurses for almost 2-year-olds??? Where's Samuel L. Jackson when you need him?

1 comment:

  1. I had a 6 year old, a four year old and two 1 1/2 year olds. The menace being the boy 1/2 of the twins. I am sure you will not do what I did to keep him in! Nothing worked until I used a belt tie to my knitted sweater and tied it around his ankle and then to the crib bar. It couldn't choke him so I felt he wouldn't strangle. He had plenty of room to turn over and not hurt himself. Kept him in the crib and from jumping in his sister's crib and from doing other destructive acts to the room. It sure kept him in the crib.....His name - Richard Gerbec!! Probably damaged him forever....