A little background. I have 2 dds - 4 yrs and 22m. The 4 yr old never slept as an infant (except when on our chests or being held or in our bed). I let her CIO at 7 months and I think that made it worse....I will always regret that choice. Looking back, I should have accepted cosleeping as an acceptable parenting tool, but didn't and had plenty of family to keep motivating me to fight my urge to have her sleep with us (she was manipulating us, we needed alone time and grown-up space, blah blah, blah - you all know how wretchedly manipulative beings those infants can be :olleyes2: )...and i would get the tsk tsk whenever I admitted she slept with us (cause we all know parents don't deserve to sleep EVER). So anyway, to this day, we have issues with her sleeping. We have tried every method in the book to get her to sleep soundly through the night (seriously, everything). We have even resorted to a TV in her room that only plays DVDs - this works sometimes, but is still no guarantee. She had lots of issues with night terrors as a toddler and still has very regular nightmares now (At least 1 a night, sometimes we are up every hour with her - thank goodness dd2 sleeps like a rock - I don't know what I would do with two terrible sleepers). She is a very intelligent little girl - always above average when it comes to milestones and understanding of the world. I know she probably has a hard time 'turning her brain off'...I'm like this too.
So my question is...should we just give in and let her sleep where she is comfortable, which is in our room at the least and in our bed at the most or is that 'giving up'??? I should also add that she knows she is going to have bad dreams and is terrified of going to sleep in her room by herself. I don't htink she is being manipulative, even now...I truly think she is terrified to fall asleep by herself. And we have a LO on the way if that makes any difference.
I also wouldn't have minded if dd2 had wanted to sleep with us, but she will have nothing more or less than a dark room with the door shut and no one touching her (she wouldn't even fall asleep on us as a newborn - she fussed until she was put down and became content). I will not be against co-sleeping for this baby either. I BF and know its easier and never want to inflict this type of handicap on anymore of my kids...I feel so sorry for my 4 yr old.
05-08-2007, 02:30 PM
I think if you let her sleep with you, her fears will go away. I don't think that's giving in, I think it's more like giving what she needs to feel comfortable and safe. Each child is so different and has different needs, and she obviously is different than your younger one. She seems like she needs to be close to internalize that safe feeling, and I think that once she has charged her 'safety battery', she will sleep better and be more independent. I bet if you let her sleep with you as much as she wants, she won't want it so much anymore. Good luck, mama!:hugs:
05-08-2007, 02:38 PM
I think kids need to know what to expect and what is going on. In the dark, all of that is taken away.
So, would it be so bad if she slept with you for a while? Probably not. She needs to know that you are there to rescue her from the yucky stuff; her yucky stuff just comes out at night.
If it were me, I would probably talk to her and tell her that she was going to get to sleep with mommy and daddy, but there were some conditions to it; such as relaxing before you go to bed, reading a story, etc. (whatever you work out so that she is relaxed before sleep). Let her know you will be there if she needs you. You don't have to talk about anything beyond that.
Later, when some of these issues have resolved, you can graduate her to her own bed in your room, or putting her to sleep in her room while you read a book; whatever keeps you close enough for her to feel comfortable. Eventually, she will feel confident enough to go to sleep in her own bed.
My daughter sometimes sleeps with us still (she is 6 and just got her own room in the move). She would occasionally in the middle of the night be talking in her sleep; you could tell she was not having a pleasant dream. I was right there to talk to her for a minute in soothing tones, which usually drifted her right back to a sound sleep.
Some of the things we talked about before she went to bed were about how much love we have, how much we enjoy our family, how we love kitties and ponies...etc. Then when she would have a bad dream, we would talk in the morning about how whatever (in her case, monsters) did NOT like love. So, in her dream, all she had to do was yell out "I LOVE KITTIES", and the yucky didn't stand a chance against someone as POWERFUL as her!
Anything you can do to help her work out her fears and assure her you will be there to help her, even in the middle of the night can be enough to at least turn the tide for her a bit. It is not an overnight fix, but it certainly does give her power over the situation.
I may be oversimplifying this, but it is worth a shot.
05-08-2007, 02:54 PM
I'd let her sleep with you if you think it will help. I don't think it's "giving in". That makes it seem like you are adversaries and that someone has to win and someone lose in the situation. I think letting her sleep with you is coming to a positive solution where everyone is happier. I know a lot of people (not on DS, but irl) will think she is manipulating you, but that doesn't seem to be the case. People always assume kids are constantly trying to "get away" with things, and if you give in a little, they will be running over you--they see kids and their wants/needs as an opponent to beat. I think your dd just needs some reassurance and if you can give that to her by cosleeping, then I would do it.
05-08-2007, 03:01 PM
Thank you so much. I guess its silly to need to hear from another parent that its okay to take care of my children the way they need to be taken care of, but my heart is so much lighter right now. And I think you are absolutely right. I think she just needs to be re-focused. She needs to feel what safe feels like at night before she can do it by herself. I just hate that I have been fighting this urge for so long. I hope it isn't too late for her. I have always told my dh that she would have been a good co-sleeping candidate, but I guess its never too late to start doing what needs to be done. I really don't mind when she is with us in our bed and dh is gone 3-4 nights out of the week anyway cause he works graves. I just didn't want to be a cop-out since it is so much easier to soothe her back to sleep a)before her dream gets out of control and b)cause I don't have to get out of bed to do it (which is so not the easiest thing right now at almost 30 wks preggo). I guess all parents that co-sleep get that 'flack' I got when dd was born...time to step up and be her mom, huh? Thank you so much for the encouragement and the ideas! We do talk about nice things before bed, how much we love her, Disneyland, puppies, etc :) I just think, at 4, she 'knows (and understands) too much.
Can I ask another question? What do we do if this baby wants to cosleep? And even though we have a king sized bed, it gets awfully small with all those little limbs tossing around. I saw those big bumper looking things for cosleeping, and they look neat, but do they take up so much room?
05-08-2007, 04:32 PM
i have seen ( not used) the arms reach co-sleeper .. we only have a queen so when we have #2 we are considering getting a twin to sidecar to our bed for ds and then the cosleeper for while a new one (not yet concieved :giggle: ) is really little then moving them in the bed ..hth
and on your first post ..do what feels right momma :hugs:
05-08-2007, 07:40 PM
Go with your heart right now. My DD's (ages 2 & 3) go to sleep in there little beds easily now but I put a quilt and pillow on the floor beside our bed and they know they can come lay down there if needed. Usually we wake up with one of them on the floor. DD #2 use to always come climb in bed with us but we started using the quilt on the floor after DD #3 was born because I didn't feel comfortable with both of them in the bed.
BTW: DD #3 is 8 1/2 months and sleeps much better in her own room in a crib now. She slept in an Amby in our room for awhile and then I side-carred her crib until she kept trying to crawl off the bed and wanted to play at night. I feed her before I go to bed and then once during the night when she wakes up. Each baby is different. DD #2 wouldn't sleep unless she was touching me!
05-08-2007, 07:55 PM
:hugs: It already sounds like you know what you need to do.
As far as having the new baby possibly cosleep--what's your bedroom arrangement now? Do you have a crib? Do you have room to sidecar the crib to your bed? We did this with our second child and it was heaven. We put her crib in the corner of our room, took down the side rail, and pushed our bed up against it. I had to roll some towels and stuff them between our mattresses, but this way she had a safe space to sleep in while the rest of us hogged the bed. ;)
Or, maybe you could just start with your 4 year old on the floor? Get a special mat or sleeping bag or something to place on your floor for her to sleep on. This may not work if she needs to be closer to you at night, though. Good luck!
05-08-2007, 08:02 PM
I am pretty sure you don't need any more advice but I think it's a good idea to let her go ahead and co-sleep. You could always go through the weening process later IF you find it not working for all of you or if the time is simply right. To ween just slowly move her farther from your bed. With her bed right beside your bed (up against it) then slowly move it farther until it's time to just move it back into her room. GL to all of you. :goodvibes: :hugs:
05-08-2007, 09:42 PM
Thank you everyone! Wish us luck tonight! We have told her that she is able to sleep with us from now on till she feels comfortable on her own. In order to keep dh and I's limited alone time a priority, we have decided that she is allowed to watch a movie in her bed/room. We told her that once the movie was over or if she fell asleep and woke later in the night after the movie was over, that she can come snuggle in with us. This gives dh and I a chance to watch our DVR'd shows that are inappropriate for her, etc <wink, wink> :)
I am just so glad to hear that its okay to let her sleep with us for a change! G'night! I'll update in the am!
05-08-2007, 09:44 PM
I am just so glad to hear that its okay to let her sleep with us for a change! G'night! I'll update in the am!
I'm hoping you all have a wonderful night's sleep!!
GOOD LUCK! :goodvibes:
05-08-2007, 10:25 PM
I don't have time to read responses, but I'm fairly certain this has all been said. lol.
Let her sleep with you. I would do a bed or pallet(sp?) in your room. In your bed after a nightmare, if needed. Eventually, she'll be ready for her own room.
To get her to sleep happily in her own room maybe try some of this, if she is interested....
-Let her pick out a lullaby/bedtime calm cd. Something to help her unwind, and not think about things as much.
-Try 2 way moniters. One in your room, one in hers. That way you can hear her, and when you go to bed, you turn one on so she can hear you. So she can say "Mama, I'm scared." And you can speak right back to her. That might help her, just knowing that you can hear her immediately if there is a problem. And she can hear you back.
-Hang up things she likes in her room that make her feel safe. Pictures of her and family together, fairies from the ceiling, anything.
05-08-2007, 10:58 PM
It seems to me like we are made to feel guilty for just trying to be good parents. I don't know if other people have guilt of their own and are trying to make themselves feel better, or what. In any case, we still need to remember that we are here to TAKE CARE OF OUR CHILDREN, to protect and nurture them. I think you are doing the right thing! Your little one will be ready in her own time.