Me: The Boy was singing to himself and getting so loud that I felt that I was going to have to say something. Then instantly…complete silence. He fell asleep so fast.
The Man: He’s in his room?
Me: Yep. Now, I just hope he will sleep there from now on.
The Man: Why don’t you just tell him he HAS to sleep in his room now?
Me: I would rather not traumatize him.
The Boy has slept in my room since his birth in 2007. For the first four years, exactly, he slept in my bed. When it got to the point that my back was killing me for being stuck in only a slither of space all night or I was being shoved out of the bed each night, barely waking to catch myself before I would be forced to roll out of the bed, I decided he needed to go back to sleeping in his own room. We had tried him in his own room at least one other time, when dad decided, for fear of him being a mommy’s boy, he was too old to be in mommy’s room.
It was quite difficult to get him to stay in his room to sleep but, he would do it if someone stayed in there with him until he fell asleep. I would get him tucked in and lay on the floor next to his bed waiting for him to fall asleep. I would inevitably fall asleep myself and wake at about 1:00 a.m. to go to my room if I could muster up the strength to get up. He would follow an hour or so later when his little sensors went off and he woke to find himself alone in the dark room. So, each night we would do the dance — Put to sleep in his room, I go to my room, he comes to my room, he sleeps in my bed. After about a week or two, and him getting sick, he was back to my room full-time.
When The Boy turned four years old, I decided that I could not go another moment without getting sleep. So, one day I told him that he had to sleep in his room from that moment on. I put him in his bed, kissed him good night, left the hall light on and went to my room to wait it out. He begged to come to my room. I said “no.” He cried and cried and cried, I said “no.” He pleaded, “I won’t kick you at night, mommy, I promise.” I said, “you don’t try to, darling, but you will and it is uncomfortable for mommy.” He cried, it was unbearable, I remember being afraid of the dark when I was a kid, it was terrifying. He quieted and begged, “Can I just sleep on my mattress in your room, mommy.” Of course he could. I understood his pain and really, what was I thinking that change would come instantly…since his birth my bed was his bed and my room was his room. We agreed.
The Boy has slept on his mattress right by my bed since October. We could have gone on like this for months except that I am tired of stepping over him to get out of my bed. I am tired of his bed and blankets and stuffed animal messying up my room. So last week, we started talking about him needing to start sleeping in his room. He was concerned because, “I am afraid of the dark, mommy.” Well if that is the problem, “then we will just have to get you a night-light.”
Why didn’t I think of this earlier? He loves to get new toys and gadgets and that was all that I needed to say to set him on a mission to sleep in his room. After all, sleeping in his room meant he got something called a “night-light”. We talked about it, why they are used and how I would get him one before he has to be in his room by himself. He asked every day if we could go to the store to get his night-light. “I have to sleep in my room, mommy.” Sunday, we finally went to get his night-light. Bed, Bath and Beyond had the most perfect light that would go with the theme for his room – a Solar System.
We decorated his room with his solar system decorations that had been waiting to go up since his birthday. We brought the mattress in and put it in his bed frame. We made up his bed, arranged his stuffed animals and practiced me kissing him good night, turning off the light and leaving. We decided that he did not like his door closed all of the way and it would be better for me to leave it half-open and then finish closing it once he was asleep. Three practice runs later, he was confident that he could do it and we went downstairs for a snack.
At bedtime, he brushed his teeth, put on his pajamas, picked out two books to read and joyfully climbed into bed. I read the books, which took a bit longer for all of his extra questions that surely stemmed from nerves.
Me: We practiced this, remember?
Him: (with a big smile) Yes.
I closed the door halfway and he sung himself to sleep. He did not wake in the night. He did not fall out of the bed. He did not kick his covers onto the floor. He slept comfortably while in the other room, mommy got no sleep.
(all photos are taken from: http://www.jascoproducts.com/products/pc/Jasco-Projectables-LED-Night-Light-br-Solar-System-54p893.htm where you can buy the night-light)
- To share or not to share…. (maidentomotherhood.wordpress.com)
- Tales of a Bedtime Nightmare (theblondemonstersblog.wordpress.com)
- The Family Bed (maidentomotherhood.wordpress.com)