Thursday, January 21, 2010

sleep training

over the past several months, andrew has been having a very difficult time sleeping...both falling asleep and staying asleep. on average, it was taking him about 2 hours to fall asleep. during these 2 hours, he would be in and out of his room...calling down to us...saying he needed this, that or the other...asking us to cuddle with him...etc. not wanting to start any poor sleeping habits (as if they weren't bad enough!) we denied his wishes previously mentioned. we tried ignoring his screams, which would then lead to him coming downstairs. when we would tell him to go back up, he refused. when we took him back up there, he would scream, slam the door and throw things around in his room. might i remind you, that he has a baby brother sleeping next door to him, in a space that is separated by a mighty thin wall! this bedtime battle would go on for hours on end some nights. then, once asleep, it was typical for him to wake up during the night, come into our room and refuse to return to his room, unless one of us cuddled with him!

like many children his age, andrew would have bad dreams, some quite vivid and frightening. about 3 weeks ago, andrew woke up during the night and after attempting to get him back to sleep on his own, derek decided to lay down with him. he told derek that he'd had a very bad dream. he actually called it an "open eye dream" because he was not fully asleep. he seemed quite upset and it took some time for him to tell derek. i have to say, that as i am typing this, my eyes are filling with tears. you'll realize why once i tell you about andrew's "open eye dream", which he has now told us, he's seen several times. here how he tells it....
"we are grilling out on the deck, and the grill catches on fire. then mommy catches on fire. she tries to stop, drop and roll, but can't put the fire out. mommy died. the carnell's (our next door neighbors) are there and mr. carnell calls the ambulance. they come and take mommy to a hospital, but it's not a regular hospital. it's a hospital that tries to save dead people. they can't save mommy." now you know why the tears roll down my face when i talk about this. i've been putting off blogging about this because i was so troubled by it. however, as you know, writing this blog is somewhat like therapy to me and i felt this was the best way to get my feelings out on the subject.
the worst part for me wasn't even hearing him recount his bad was when he drew a picture of it for me. at first, he didn't feel comfortable talking to me about it, so he drew a picture, and then told me about the picture. we brought the picture to andrew's therapist, who has since been working with derek and me on helping andrew with his sleep troubles.
she says he definitely has anxiety over sleep...whether it's being alone, scary thoughts, or whatever...he just can't calm his mind easily. this week, she recommend that we try something different. one of us reads a book with andrew in his bed...we then sit in the room with him until he falls asleep. it is quiet time and we are not in bed with him. the goal is to give him a sense of security, in knowing that one of us in in the room with him while he's falling asleep.
so...tonight was night #4. on average, andrew has been falling asleep within about 45 minutes. that may sound like a long time, but i'll tell you sure beats the endless hours of arguing back and forth with him about staying in his bed!!!
while this has seemed to help him fall asleep, he is still waking up at least once every night. he calls for us from his room and he's been pretty good about going back to sleep quickly. tonight, i told him that i want him to try and fall back asleep on his own, before calling for us. we'll see how that goes!
all in all, i feel like i'm sleep training a baby....teaching him that he can in fact fall asleep on his own. we'll see what happens when we move to phase 2 of this...which i think will involve us leaving his room before he is completely asleep.
will keep you posted...and i'll leave you with some of my fave sleeping pics...

Monday, January 18, 2010

"the project"

while you may think this post, entitled "the project", is going to be about my recent dejunktification project...indeed it is about quite a different "project!" as many of you know, i tend to refer to jacob as my "easy going" child. in comparison to the many issues i've faced with andrew, jacob is typically a go with the flow kind of kid. those of you who have spent any time at all with jacob, also know though, that when he is not happy with something he let's EVERYONE know it, with his VERY LOUD shrieks and screams!

jacob and andrew started parent/child swim lessons last weekend. thinking that andrew might be a tough cookie about getting in the pool (as he's been in the past), i chose what i thought was the easy way out...taking jacob to his lesson. apparently when i made this decision, i had forgotten how much jacob despises being in the water...even the bathtub! as you can imagine, jacob pretty much cleared out the pool with his screams of discontent. i stuck it out though (as did everyone else!)...even though the 30 minute class seemed to last hours! i even had a complete stranger approach me in the locker room to tell me that she didn't think my child liked the pool...really lady...thanks for being so perceptive!!!

so...week should've seen the faces of the other parents when we arrived poolside. i'm not sure if they thought we wouldn't show up for week 2, or if they were just hoping it wouldn't be as bad as week 1. once in the water, one of the moms introduced herself and her son. i honestly think she felt really bad for me and was trying to be nice. well, the success of week 2 depends on who you ask. i thought it was a success...jacob cried almost, BUT NOT the entire class. he was calm enough to sort of participate in an activity with the group. if you ask the parents and the instructor, i have a feeling they would say that this week was not much better than week 1. in fact, the instructor told me that jacob is her "project!" she will get him to like the water by the end of the session...which is 7 weeks btw! the complete stranger from the week before, must have agreed with me on the outcome of this week's lesson...her comment this week..."he didn't seem to scream as much this week!!!"

i'll let you know how the "swim project" progresses! in the meantime, i'll leave you with a cute pic of jacob in the locker room. he was all smiles once we got out of the water!

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