January 24, 2012

The early bird...

doesn't catch the worm. He evokes a tired, crazy mommy.

Do any of you remember this post from when Toby was a toddler (it's basically me celebrating him finally sleeping past 5:30 am)? Well, guess what...he's at it again. And when I say "again" I mean waking up at the crack of dawn has been going on for months now. At first it was only 1 or 2 days a week he would come running into our bedroom and yell "Is it time to get up?!" Now it's becoming 4-5 days a week. And mom's patience is pretty much gone. Wait, that's a lie - it was gone a long time ago.

This boy never ceases to amaze me with how well defies all parenting books and well-intentioned advice. I have tried the following to get him to sleep till 7:00 (his normal wake-up time): darkened his room, put him to bed later, put him to bed earlier, added more blankets on his bed, put his favorite toys next to his bed, took away his afternoon nap, laying next to his bed, letting him cry in his bed until 7:00. The latest tactic actually worked for a while: I put a digital clock in his room and did a "Rewards Chart." Every day he woke up at 7:00 he would get a star on his chart and after 5 days he got to pick out a NERF football. For almost two weeks he was sleeping till 7:30 and sometimes 8:00! Just when I was about to do my victory dance, he regressed back to 6:00. I started the "Rewards Chart" again but it lost its luster. He doesn't care about the stars or the rewards for sleeping well. Then I started taking away toys. I thought for sure this would work since yesterday he asked for his Transformer toy back about 918 times. Nope. This morning he came running in my room just after 6. If he wasn't having a ridiculous amount of melt-downs and constantly complaining about how tired he was, I would just accept this as his normal wake-up time. But since I saw a much happier Toby for two weeks when he was waking up later, I know he needs that extra hour or two (and so do I!). And as I type this, he is in the time-out corner screaming because he could not decide what he wanted for lunch. He keeps yelling "I want mac n' cheese! No, I want spaghetti! No! I don't want that! I'm so tired!" To which I impatiently respond "If you would just SLEEP, you wouldn't be so tired!"

Well, I've got one last trick up my sleeve. I found this night light online called "The Good Nite Lite." Basically it's a glowing moon at night and then it turns into a sun in the morning (there is a timer on it to control when the sun appears) so he will know when to get out of bed. The draw back? It's way overpriced - $35! But the desperate mom has emerged and I'm willing to do or pay anything if it means more sleep for Toby (and me!). But...before I click that "Submit Order" button, I would like to ask if you have any other ideas that have worked for your kiddos? I just want to make sure I have exhausted all options before I buy this thing.

Thanks for reading my little rant. It always feels good to unleash some of my frustration into cyber-world (and I'm sure someday my blog will be good entertainment when Toby is a teenager and sleeping till noon). :)


The Andersons said...

OH my gosh. must be a phase. cause sophie has always been a GREAT sleeper. lately she's been getting up a good 3-4 times a night and wakes up at like 6 or 630. when she does I tell her it's still night night time and put her back in bed. if she gets out again I take one of her "special" toys off her bed. and i do that everytime she gets out. it works for her. but then she comes in my room and looks at my phone to see if it's 7 and if it is she gets excited and knows she gets to watch cartoons in my bed while I sleep...till 830. which is when Noah wakes up. ;)

Aleta said...

Have you tried switching up the reward? Something other than a NERF football? We've had to do a number of things with Holland - and it seems like when we figure something out, we have to switch it up again so she'll go along with it. We did the taking away toys thing for awhile - which at first was very motivating. Eventually she just said "here" and would hand us the toy, like she didn't care if you took the toy away.

So if you haven't already tried something other than a NERF football, that's what I would go with keep the chart, but have a couple different rewards maybe that he could pick from - the trick is to find something that he really wants to work for. Chuck E Cheese worked for Holland (although we've been twice, so we're thinking of switching that one up so she doesn't get bored with it). You've got to find something rewarding like an arcade, or going to see a movie, or going out for ice cream, or a different toy - just hopefully something that's motivating, but not too expensive :)

I totally feel bad for you - Holland's not as bad as Toby, but I understand the frustration when they fight sleep (we've had a little issue lately since we just switched to 1pm church - right during her nap time....last week involved her pooping in her undies during nursery - yes, even though she's been potty trained for a year. She clearly has issues with poop and no sleep since the first time she missed a nap was when she decided to paint the walls with it. *sigh* parenting - such a roller coaster).

Oh, we've also used the child-proof door handles (we give her a warning first that if she comes out of her room, we'll put it on) and she can't open the door with those on, so that's also motivation and we rarely end up using it. She only cries for about 1 minute, but it seems like Toby might freak out a little more than that (which probably wouldn't help you sleep longer). But just tossing another idea out there.

Well, sorry for the insanely long post. Good luck! Here's hoping for a more well-rested Toby in the future and a more well-rested Debbie too :)

Jessie said...

Oh ugh. My kids get up around 6am too and it makes me nuts. Luckily, they're getting older and usually remember not to make noise if others are still sleeping. If I'm being honest, I think they don't dare come into me anymore (they know they'll get no good response, just "It's too early to be awake, go downstairs and be quiet!" So now they're pretty good about going downstairs and turning on the TV themselves, but there are still times they start fighting and yelling instead of watching TV quietly. Little stinkers.

We used to leave a sippy of milk in the fridge and tell them that if they wake up when it's still dark, to sneak down and get their milk and stay quiet. It worked only sometimes.

Reward systems NEVER work on my older two. Never. They hate rewards. Weirdos.

I love that moon/sun clock! I may splurge and get it too. I don't want a real clock in their rooms because I don't want them to know when I put them to bet early, or to obsess about what time it is (which they would) - so the moon/sun thing is perfect!

Calvin went through a 5am stint at about that age, and it was torture. Luckily Louie is more of a morning person than me, and would go off to another room and keep Calvin quiet for another hour or two. But then Louie started to have an earlier work schedule, and that didn't work anymore, but it was sweet while it lasted.

Good luck!

Colleen said...

Oh man, I'm so sorry. We've had our share of sleep issues over here, but thankfully it's getting them to sleep, not early wake up times. Good luck, and $35 is well worth your sanity!