Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Roll Of Duct Tape Doeth Good Like A Medicine

Sophie has always been our Little Girl with the Curl. When she's good, she's very, very good. And when she's bad, she's horrid. There is no in-between with Sophs. No so-so. No sort of. It's all or nothing. Add to that aspect of her personality a hearty dose of mule-headedness, and there you have it: A child who either is the sweetest blessing ever - helpful and determined (in the best possible way). Or one who makes you shoot whiskey in the closet.

Our latest issue has to do with bedtime.

The reason Sophie remained in a crib until a few months shy of her fourth birthday is because I knew how she would react to her emancipation. Since birth, Sophie has always been a child who when she can't get out of bed (or thinks she can't), doesn't try to. She stays snug as a bug, snoozing like a little blanket-sniffing angel the whole night through. On the flip side, when she knows she can get up, she does. Sometimes sneakily. Sometimes blatantly. Over and over. Until her mother and father are just this side of mental.

When I say we've tried everything to curtail this behavior, I mean we've tried everything.

-She's lost privileges.

-She's had her favorite blanket and buddies taken away.

-She's participated in discussions about how God would be displeased by her disobedience.

-She's had her fanny tanned.

-She's been put back in the bed, without us saying so much as boo to her - no attention, even negative, extended. Just marched silently back to bed.

-She's even had a very unpleasant date with some cayenne pepper. The "bad association" thing worked for a few weeks, then it wore off. Now sometimes when she gets out of bed, she has the audacity to request the cayenne pepper. Last night when she appeared before us for the trillionth time, she said, "Um, maybe you should just cayenne me." (Jen, it reminded me of Katie's "I eat salsa!" comment.)

On the other hand, we've tried positive reinforcement for nights spent in the bed. (There haven't really been any of those lately.) Short of duct-taping her to the headboard, I'm pretty much at a loss.

(*Look at the dark circles around her eyes!  She's exhausted, for Pete's sake!)

Admittedly, it bothers me more than it does Russell. For one thing, that's just the way I'm built. Maybe it's the Drill Sargeant in me; I'm more frustrated by bad behavior than he is. But really, it's that I just despise spending the ONE quiet, kid-less time of my day wrangling a child back to bed. Getting all angry and sweaty and pop-a-vein-in-my-forehead-y, when I should be relaxing on the couch. Spending time with my husband, watching my fluff tv on the DVR and drinking a cup of hot cocoa.

It's the principal of the matter. Submit, child!

Russ is more laid-back on the subject. On most every subject, for that matter. He agrees that we need to nix this belligerence in the bud, but really, he's able to tune most stuff out. And, when he goes to bed, he goes to sleep. BAM. Lights out, about three seconds after his head hits the pillow. Complete oblivion to anything that might be occurring around him. Booming thunder, tornadoes, children shredding toilet paper in the bathroom - zzzzzzzz.

I'm a light sleeper, always have been. And try as I might, I just can't relax and drift off knowing Sophie is trolling the house - turning on lights, opening doors, gathering up pillows and blankets from every room, rearranging the cans in the pantry, and "gluing" broken things back together with Chapstick and toothpaste (you think I'm kidding).

I'm not able to zone out and pretend she's in bed when I know she's not.

So, what do I do? Take some Ambien and, SURPRISE!, behold with splendor the new wing added onto the house in the morning?

Seriously, do any of you have any Night Creepers, and if so, do you have any advice for keeping them safely PUT during the night? We've tossed around the idea of locking her door (and then unlocking it as soon as she falls asleep), but her room is attached to a bathroom with a slide "pocket door", which doesn't lock. We'd have to barricade that exit with something heavy, which would probably cause us (and by "us", I mean Russell) to pop a hernia every time we had to move it back and forth.

Aye-yi-yi, I'm tired.


Anonymous said...

I know it sounds like bribery but have you tried giving her a reward she really wants if she only will stay in bed. Something like if she stays in bed for seven nights in a row, she gets to pick one of her very favorite things to do that you very rarely let her do? Even if it does involve toothpaste or chapstick. This works wonders with my stubborn eight year old son. We have yet to find what works for my even more stubborn four year old daughter. So we kept putting her back over and over and over. Good luck!

Kritter Krit said...

Yeah, we've tried that, too. Offering a reward, like a trip to Locomotion or her favorite park, after so many days of staying in bed.

She usually makes it an hour or two, then POOF...there she appears.

I seriously may rip my hair out. Thanks for the suggestion, though. I know it's a common problem at this age. Wouldn't it be nice if there was an easy solution??

nectarine_girl said...

My son is a night creeper. I find him asleep in the middle of the living room floor, the closet, etc..When Josh is gone the bedtime battle can last beyond midnight. Spanking doesn't work for us. This trip was different. I told him if he stayed in bed, he could sleep in my bed (then I just put him in his room after he went to sleep). Have you tried changing a location, like letting her sleep in the closet if she wants? For some reason that reward worked with Evan.

Also, things got MUCH better once he stopped taking a nap...he just wasn't tired until after 11:00pm if he took a nap. But I know naptime is precious time...and congratulations on not shooting whiskey in the closet. I'm impressed.

Lindsey said...

We locked the door... it was for his safety.. I mean, otherwise he might try to dangle from the chandlier! It was great... We did it for about a year, and then as soon as we started un-locking it, he started waking up at 5:00 a.m. because he knew he could. Now, we are renting a house that has no lock on his door. We have just proofed the kitchen and he can open ONE closet that has things he CAN eat in it... Oh well, just do what you can live with

Kritter Krit said...

Nectarine Girl,

Sophie's kind of an odd duck. Even when she was teeny, she just didn't get tired until really late (crazy late...like 1:00, 2:00 in the morning). With or without a nap. We've tried it both ways and it doesn't seem to make a difference in her night wanderings. She'll be zombie tired, still trolling around.

We've comtemplated taking everything out of her room - just basically having a bed and dresser in there. If she's bored, for lack of a better word, she drifts off a lot faster. The problem with that is that we would have to turn another room in the house into the Play Room, to house all of her toys. And, man, I hate the thought of turning our guest room or bonus room into a junk zone.

Thanks for the suggestions!


I agree, it is a safety issue! I keep envisioning her roaming the neighborhood in the night (especially since she has ZERO fear, of anything). If we can figure out what to do about that pocket door, that might be our best answer. Thanks!

Lora Lee said...

Wish I could help you there, but DeLane didn't sleep in his big boy bed when we first got it. Wo I would lay with him in the living room floor(so we could watch tv) until he fell asleep. He eventually moved up to the couch and sleep timers are wonderful. He moved to his bed 3mos before he turned 5, when we told him he had to sleep in his own bed if he wanted Santa to come. We also got him a TV for his room. Yep I'm one of them moms, that let her kid watch lots of TV. I can understand your paranoia about not going to bed until she is asleep, DeLane doesn't have to be asleep when I go to bed but I don't rest easy unless I know he is in settled and in bed for the night. :) Good Luck!

Hey just thought of something, why don't you let Russell flick her on the head with his knuckle like he use to do Adam and Tina, that would put them in their place.

Love ya'll

Lora Lee

Kritter Krit said...

Lora Lee,

Cracked UP at the head-flicking comment. =)

OMG, if only it were that simple!

Anonymous said...

Is there any way to add a metal latch to the outside of that other door so that you don't have to keep moving furniture every day? Or, am I not envisioning the kind of door that it really is?

I was a little nervous about locking my son in his room in case of emergency...so, we actually took the door handle out and raised it several inches so he couldn't reach it.

Kind of a lot of work, but it worked. It might not be that easy with Sophie...she may just pile up all the furniture she kind find and get it opened...unless all the furniture she has is too big for her to move.

I am so sorry. I love my sleep and I hate getting woken up by kids in the middle of the night by little people...
Hope you find the answer soon!!

Shayna said...

A certain brother o' mine was a night creeper, and since this involved climbing out of his crib, which could be dangerous, I believe there was an attempt at covering the top with a fish net... I can't remember if it worked, though! My mom could tell you. From the things they tried, I think they were as frustrated as you. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

You CAN lock a pocket door. Just screw a hook on the door and the eye on the woodwork and you will be able to lock it!!!!! Problem solved!

Marge Rousseau

floreksa said...

no advice just wanted to say your Sophie sounds like my Ally's twin, right down to the curly hair, duel personalities and constant puking (we're have our 2nd endoscopy on Friday)

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