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Thursday, 28 May 2009

How do you solve a bedroom problem with 2 insomniacs?

Arg! Ethan has been sleeping in a portable playpen in our room since his birth in October. Duane did NOT like this idea at all but I reassured him saying "don't worry, the Baby Wise approach worked beautifully for Anika & she was sleeping thru the night at six weeks... I have no doubt this one will do just as well then we can put him in his crib in Anika's room."

And so the playpen was setup in our room with the understanding it would be temporary...

Now you guys know the rest! Ethan has never slept well at night and trying to solve the problem with him in our room is NOT working. So this week, because I do not have my big girls, I put his playpen in Melina's room in hopes that with me not hearing his every grunt and fuss between his actual wakeful times, I might get some slightly better rest.

The plan was successful. He has been waking at 10:30 (fusses & goes back to sleep), 11:30 (gets really upset & needs to nurse), 1:30 (fusses but eventually goes back to sleep), 2:30 (gets upset & needs to nurse) and 5:30/6:00 he nurses again and up for the day at 7:00/7:30. The nice thing with him finally being out of our room is that I am not awake the whole thirty to forty minutes it takes him to fall back to sleep between those feedings.

Trust me, at this point of sleep deprivation, every minute counts!

We get the girls back on Friday so last night I transitioned Ethan back into his crib which is in Anika's room. Anika stirred only once during his feedings; however, tonight, the two kept each other awake until nearly 10:00 pm (bedtime is usually 8:00 pm) AND Anika and Ethan are BOTH wide awake as I type this (passed midnight).

Here's my dilemma...

We have four bedrooms upstairs: master (Duane & I), Mina's room, Isabel's room (with extra bed for overnight respite worker) and Anika's room. Isabel still wakes in the night, too, although praise God it is not nearly as bad as it used to be!!! Not to mention, Isabel's room already has another bed for the nights we have respite.

Anika is my only good sleeper so I am not keen on her sharing a room with Ethan who is now keeping her up late AND waking her up in the night. Afterall, have you seen Anika when she is sleep deprived? She's almost as bad as me! Lastly, there is so little that Mina enjoys living out on the farm that taking away her one and only "space" seems cruel. But Anika & Mina are my only sleepers so shouldn't they be sharing a room?


The only other option would be to setup Izzy's sleeping space in the basement but that doesn't sit nicely with me, either... but what else can we do?

More than ever, our main-floor addition for Izzy's space is becoming more and more urgently needed. Either that or some answer to prayer regarding Ethan sleeping better at night.

You know, I did the math... Mina had colic til she was nearly a year old... she screamed ALL night long and most of the day. And then she had night terrors and would wake many times in the night until a few months before Isabel was born.

Then Isabel arrived and she wouldn't sleep at night either. She would be so happy and good during the day and then scream all night unless we had a movie playing. Finally, finally, finally, after eight long years, she started sleeping through the night waking only once for position changes every once in a while. So JUST before Anika was born, Izzy started sleeping.

I was detecting a pattern and fearing the worst with baby #3, but along came Anika and we applied the Baby Wise approach and were beautifully rewarded with a by-the-clock no-problems-whatsoever-with-bedtimes baby! Even today, when it's nap time, no problemo. When it's bedtime, no problemo.

Then came Ethan...

Other than the 18 months before Ethan arrived, I have not slept through the night in over thirteen years.

Isn't that just down right mean? What the heck is God thinking up there? What, he wants me to LOVE the ideo of ETERNAL REST? For the first time in my life, I look at death as an OPPORTUNITY to finally get some sleep... granted I'd never wake up again but even that has nice ring to it, don't you think?

So what would you do? Make the teenager share a room with her two year old sister while the other two non-sleepers get their own rooms? Or set Izzy up in the basement until the house reno can be done? Or leave Ethan in Anika's room and deal with two grumpy children all day instead of one? Or leave Ethan in our room and I get even less sleep?

Which is the lesser of all evils? Seriously, I'd love your input!


Jane said...

Hi there lovely lady,

My first instinct would be to keep Ethan with Anika a bit longer, give them a few nights to get used to it. People are always surprised that my three sleep in the same room & go to bed easily. The thing is, they don't really know it any other way. Each time we added a child to the mix it took a few days for them to get used to it. But it became normal for them.
Kids need time to adjust. It may be a long few days but would be worth if a few days later they are ok with sharing.
Hope it works!

Maureen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maureen said...

Hey there, my nightly entertainer,

I can hardly keep up with all your new entries, some of which I can only sympathize with, as I have never experienced them. Others have me nodding my head in remembrance.

Reid used to wake up from Reagan when she was first born (and that was in two separate rooms, Reagan was that loud!) But after a few days, and a high level of panic on my part, Reid learned to sleep through Reagan's screaming. I however, continued to have a heart attack every time she woke up at night (for nine months, if I remember correctly) from her volume and demanding tone.

Then Reagan did it to Reid again when we moved them into the same room to prepare for Callen's arrival. She wanted us to stay with her (lay with her) and we were opposed to that, and concerned about what that would mean for the future--having to lay down with our 13 year old until she fell asleep??? But she also knew that if she screamed, we would come running because we didn't want her waking Reid or keeping Reid awake. After a few weeks of this, we began to put Reid to bed in our bed, Reagan in her own room (where she screamed to her heart's content with only occasional appearances from us, reminding her that it was time to be quiet and go to sleep).

When we went to bed, we would gently move Reid, our wonder sleeper, to her own bed. (Picture me, 8-9 months pregnant, carrying a 5 year old Reid, climbing the ladder to her bunk bed and crawling to the head of the bed, to lower her down, and get her under the covers!)

It only took a few days for Reagan to figure out that we weren't coming in anymore when she screamed, and she stopped. We kept up the separate bedtime locations for a few more months, and then transitioned Reid back to going to bed in her own bed, at the same time as Reagan.

You could try to give it a few more days, as Jane, your first commentor said, or you could try what we did, with the separate beds until everyone was asleep.

Hoping for the best!

Anonymous said...

Hi, sweet under-slept daughter.

You have Isabel's room so beautifully set up for her special needs, although I don't care for the respite caregiver's bed much:).

Mélina will hate me for this, but I suggest you give her the whole basement space you recently renovated (along with a space heater). She is the eldest, the most adaptive and would have the privacy she craves especially if a room divider or curtain were installed beside the stairs so she would not feel intruded upon when you have to access laundry facilities, etc. Bite the bullet, Mina, help your folks out here!

Grandma Jacqui