Sleep Wars

We finally bought Tornado A a bed a few weeks ago.  He needed it.  I’m not sure how he didn’t figure out how to climb out, but the end was coming.  He was about to figure out.

And we argued over where the bed should come from.  Their father wanted one off of Craig’s List.  While that was a good idea, except I had no time to check out beds at different house to make sure they were well crafted, I wanted a new bed for Tornado A.  Tornado A is the youngest of three.  His crib, dresser, bookcase, changing table, and rocking chair were all hand-me-downs.  Most of his books, clothes, and toys are hand-me-down.  All hand-me-downs are once or twice or, in the case of the changing table, fourths.  For now and forever, the majority of what is his will be cast-offs from others.  So for the love of God, this kid needs something new and utterly his beyond a toy or t-shirt here and there.  We got him a bed at a children’s furniture store.  Dark walnut, simple, and well-made.

My father and I took down the crib and built up the bed.  My mom gave me a bed rail, and I placed a set of sheets from the cupboard on the bed; while, I wait and search for the perfect set for his room.  Mismatched furniture and a bed.  It was a boy’s room.  A child’s room.  My baby was growing up.  I refused to put the crib on Craig’s List.

That night I remembered the advice handed down from mother to daughter.  “It only takes three times.  Three spankings.  Three nights.”  Hold the line for three times, and the line is scratched in stone.  I remembered it took three nights with Tornado E  and then with Tornado S.  The first night it took two hours of putting a boy back to bed over and over and over.  The next night it was only an hour.  The final night it took only 30 minutes.  The fourth night and on was fine with the occasional rebellion to check that scratched in line.

I was prepared for the first night.  Two hours of putting Tornado A in bed over and over and over.  As I texted Kat.  As I read up on Facebook.  As I read articles.  It was a bitch, but it was done.

And then the next night happened.  It took an hour and forty-five minutes.  Are you kidding me?

The next night took an hour and a half.  What the hell?

The next night took an hour.  At least it’s decreasing.

The next night it took an hour and forty-five minutes.  Well, f- me.

At this point, I started to wonder was this epic battle because he was older than his two brothers when he got his bed.  They were only 22 months.  He was nearly 2 and half years.  Or was this youngest of mine much more stubborn than his brothers?  God, I hope not.  Those boys are stubborn.  And I have proof.  Their teachers tell me so.

The next day he didn’t fall asleep in the car on the way home from picking up Tornado E  from his half day.  (Remember the week I didn’t write at all?)  That took an hour.  That night the battle raged for an hour and half.

That night Tornado A had his first bout of insomnia in his bed.  I was praying that it would wait until he had settled into his bed and that he realized his mother was much more stubborn than a two-year-old.  As poor luck would have it, Tornado E had come to my room to sleep with me.  For two and half hours, I sent Tornado A to bed or put him in bed or cuddled with him or do everything possible to get him to sleep.  For those two and half hours, poor Tornado E was awake too because Tornado A adores Tornado E and must have him up.  It was f-ing hell.

Oh and the next night, it took an hour and 45 minutes to put Tornado A down.

It took ten days.  Sort of.  The naps are going well.  But I still stand in the hall outside his door.  At night, the battles are fought for 30 to 45 minutes.  Now that I think of it, we are not out of the woods.

He’s had two more attacks of insomnia.  I think.  They come once a week.  He had one last night, which lasted three hours, which may be why I can’t remember more of the Sleep War.  I’m still fighting it.

When Tornado A has insomnia, he’s awake.  He doesn’t want to cuddle.  He wants to play and roam around.  He wants to hang out with his brothers.  And I’ll admit if I’m woken up, I’m not a problem solver.  Even as I type this, I’m thinking of solutions, which will be forgotten under the hazy of sleep deprivation at 3am.  I know I can’t stand at his door for three hours putting him back in his bed.  I don’t have the stamina.  He doesn’t cuddle and fall asleep.  But what if I read to him or pile books for him.  I could get a baby gate for the boys’ big room.  I could give him milk.

I don’t know.  I should have a check list of solutions.  I should do research.   I should go take a nap.

A First for the Book

Last week I was reading Naptime Writing, a brilliant, insightful, and often funny blog, (To check out more of these kinds of blogs, just go to my blog roll {How’s that for a plug 😉 }) she wrote about Firsts that should be in the baby book.

Friday, I was tempted to write her an email about it.

Because we had a first that wasn’t in the baby book.

And I am personally holding Nap responsible for jinxing me.

Tornado E’s first time sent to the principal’s office.

A proud moment for any mom.

I stood with the other moms, talking, as the kids were let out one by one.  The teacher would spot a parent and call the child out to hug his/her mom or just to thrust the papers at her before running off the play tag in the court yard.  (We can all thank Tornado E for that development.)  I waited, waited, and waited, noticing that moms were receiving hugs.  I was early that day, so I was a little surprised that I was waiting for so long.  Then I remembered I was waiting for my fidgeting son.

After all the moms had a child, the teacher crooked her finger at me.  I looked around and made a mental marker at where Tornado S was and proceeded to the teacher.  I thought that Tornado E had had another accident.  Awesome.

But, no.  The teacher told me Tornado E has “a rough day,” then preceded to tell me that he was sent to time out and then to the principal’s office.  For the stuff we were working on for the last year.  The not listening.  The touching other kids.  The usual Tornado E stuff.  Only that day Tornado E wouldn’t settle down, wouldn’t listen.  I asked the teacher what I could do to help.  She just told me to keep working on his issues and that she told him she would be talking to me.  Yeah, I can’t imagine that being much of a threat.

So when we got to my parents’ house, where I was making dinner for everyone, I sat Tornado E down and asked him about his day.  “Fine.”  Ok, how about this?  Why did you get in trouble?  Between what Tornado E told me (dumping out a box of toys during clean up time) and what the teacher told me, we had a long discussion over how to act in school.

Hopefully that will work.  God, I hope that’ll work.

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Battling Wills

My mom used to threaten us with “One day you’ll have a child just like you.  And if God is kind, it’ll be a child of the opposite sex, just so you don’t know what to do.”  She was referring mainly to my younger brother.  Those two are peas in a pod and went to battle ALL THE TIME.  My boys are too young to really see who they act like, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my share of battles.

A year ago, Evan decided he didn’t want to nap.  I NEED his naps, and he NEEDS his naps.  I wasn’t planning on taking no for an answer.  So after ten minutes, he came out of his room to tell me he wasn’t tired.  I escorted him back to his room.  Five minutes later he was thirsty.  I handed him his water cup and left.  Ten minutes later he was kicking his walls.  I thanked God that Sean was peacefully asleep in his bassinet in my room.  Five minutes later Evan declared it was time to get up.  I returned a kicking, whining child to his bed.  Ten minutes later he was whining for cartoons.  He tried to dodge me as I went to grab him. Over the shoulder and back to his bed.  Ten minutes later he was in the nursery and tried to climb the crib, giggling.  I dragged him back to his room.  After two hours of fighting, Evan conked out, just before I was about to let him out, and Sean woke up.  The funny thing is a week later I met a woman, with children the same age as mine, who told me her two-year-old refuses to take naps.  As I watched the cranky, tired child stumble around as Evan napped, I thought that’s a fight I would win.  But to each is their own, and Evan still naps, though we have to go to the mat every other month or so.

That was another thing my mom told me.  Children will always test their boundaries to see if the boundaries are still there.  It’s like Jurassic Park, when they were explaining how the raptor kept testing the electric fencing.  Actually now that I think about it, I bet I could come up with more than one comparison of raptors and children . . .

Yesterday was another battle.  Maybe you’ve noticed the tambourine activity that is new.  Well, yes, the boys did love it, but Evan preferred to throw the beans all over the dining room.  At first I felt it was my fault for bringing out the whole container beans and debated on putting out a warning, but my mom said even if it was a bowl, he still should not have done it.  True.  Evan was already a half hour into the punishment when I talked to her.  Yup, he was sitting in the middle of the floor “picking up” beans, which entailed playing with them and throwing them and laughing at Sean as he tried to eat them.  I called my back-up (my mom), who said put him in time out when he won’t pick them up.  For two and half hours we “picked up beans,” I picked up the ones Sean threw, tried to show Evan how you make a pile to go faster, and demanded to do it.  I tried everything: time out, go to your room (incredibly stupid because he played), wait him out, scolded him, stood over him, ignored him, slapped his hand when after almost finishing he started to throw the beans again.  As you could tell, I was at my wits end.  So finally I did as I used to when he was a young toddler.  I took his hand and used it to pick up the beans.  Now I’m sure I didn’t do something right here.  I’m not sure what it was, but the beans were picked up and Evan didn’t get any candy for pottying and didn’t get to play for two and half hours.  I pray he learned his lesson.

Then today.  The very first sibling rivalry fight.  Note the date.  Evan is 3 and 2 months, Sean is 16 months next week.  I had made pancakes for the boys, but Evan refused to eat his.  Fine, then nothing until lunch.  But I did leave the pancake out because sometimes Evan will eat an hour or two later when he’s actually hungry.  I was upstairs getting dressed when I heard the screaming and crying.  Racing downstairs, I see Evan whining for pancake and Sean crying.  I pick up Sean and asked Evan what happened. 

Evan: “I hit Seanny on the back.”

My jaw dropped. He admitted to hitting.  He’s telling the truth.  He’s actually telling the truth.  Wait.  He hit his brother.  Ok.  Calm down.  What to do?

Me: Why?

Evan: He took my pancake.

What?  The pancake?  The one you didn’t want to eat!  That pancake!  And of course, it’s just like Sean to see food and decide he hungry and he’ll have that.  And I look, and sure enough there’s a pancake on the floor with two baby bites.  Ok.  Think.

So I sit on the stair and motion Evan over. 

Me: I bet that made you upset.  But did hitting Sean get your pancake back? (Evan shakes his head.  Sean skirms out of my lap and walks away.)  I think next time Sean takes something that is yours you tell Mommy.  Sean’s too little to know it was your pancake.  He thought you weren’t going to eat it.  Next time say: Mommy, Sean took my pancake.  Can you say that?  (Evan repeats.  Sean comes back and wiggles his way to sit in between us.)  Look, Sean loves you.  He wants to sit by you.  Can you tell him you’re sorry for hitting him? 

Evan: Sorry, Seanny.

Me: Now I’m proud that you told the truth.  That makes Mommy very happy.  But we can’t hit Seanny.  Now give me a hug.

Evan: (hugging me.) Daddy tells me the truth.

Me: Yes, he does.  Now do you want another pancake?

Evan: No.  I want a waffle.


So it goes on.  As it is I just was summoned by a toddler who told me he can’t sleep because his bed is too hot. (Sorry, Dad, for all the times I used that.)  I took him back to his room, turned on his fan, turned over his pillow, and laid him back down.  And really, I guess I should be lucky that the boys waited THIS long.  Tim and I began the moment he crawled and took my pacifier away as I sat watching tv.  He didn’t even use a pacifier!  So this is family, wills trying to conquer one another and get what they want.  And it’s up to me to make sure things run as smoothly as possible.

Note: As I was putting the tags in, Evan is up again.  He can’t sleep because Seanny is snoring.  Sean does snore, but he’s a baby.  It isn’t loud.  They’re not in the same room.  And Evan has his fan on.  Nice try.  Try sleeping with your dad.  He shakes the whole house.