I don’t know exactly when it happened, but sometime in the last few months, Charlie seems to have given up on one of my all-time favorite past-times: sleep. Around four nights a week (it could be more–my brain may be trying to protect me by blocking some of this out), he gets up in the middle of the night. It could be two in the morning, it could be four, but once he is up, he up. Specifically, he will scream his brains out until he’s allowed to watch TV. If it’s four or later, he would also like a slice of toast.
At first, it was a complete nightmare. We rock him, give him water, give him food, sing to him, try various medicines, and on and on until I was fairly certain my head was going to start spinning around like that girl in the exorcist movies. Or something. I know I seem melodramatic, but almost everything seems life or death at three in the morning with a screaming soundtrack.
And then we discovered the TV situation. Plop him in front of the TV and he’s happy as can be. Curls up in front of, plays with a few toys, and meanwhile, Dad and I are getting our much-needed rest. Granted, it would be even better if we weren’t listening to Rachel Coleman crooning “baby signing time,” but I’ll take it over the screaming any day.
Some nights, he’ll eventually call out to be put back in bed. Other nights he falls asleep, cheek pressed against the floor, a puddle of drool forming and you know what? I don’t move him for fear the screaming will return.
So, we’re not dying any more, but the larger question is, of course, why won’t he sleep? Has something changed that I don’t know about? Is there something I could be doing to guarantee he gets eight hours of sleep, in a bed, and not say, partially glued to our plastic wood floors? (My mother of the year award is in the mail, can’t you tell?)
We spoke with the neurologist about it and she said we could give him a *smidge* of medication if he did this, but really, if he doesn’t want to sleep, he ain’t sleeping. I don’t think a frying pan would work. And, also, both the neurologist and I aren’t wild about over-medicating a preschooler.
I’m not sure what to do. He seems fine–he’s just a lousy sleeper. I want to fix things, but I’m not sure where to start. Could it be pain? Could it be a regulation issue? Has he magically become The World’s Lightest Sleeper? Does he need a special mattress? Or night light?
I’m asking you, lovely people of the Interwebs, to hit me with your absolutely best thoughts on sleep. Do we just ride this out? Has this happened to you? How do you handle it? Would you handle it? I’d love advice from anyone on this topic–don’t have to have a special needs kiddo. Really, I’m desperate. If it worked for your ninety-year-old grandmother, I’m open to it. We’re not going to die, but I would like to say that I’ve tried to improve things. If nothing works, then at the very least, maybe I’ll feel a little less like Mommy Dearest.