"Night fears in children"...that's what I just googled.
I'm currently "researching" how to combat night fears, fear of the dark, and how to get your child to sleep in her OWN DAMN ROOM.
Bedtime is anxiety producing ... for both the children and the adults in this house.
One of our twins (we'll call her TWIN B) seems to have developed a fear of the dark, a fear of night, a fear of her window(?), a fear of ... .... BEDTIME.
And it's killing us. Literally.
If you could be killed by lack of sleep, my husband and I would both be close to death by now.
As if it isn't bad enough that our four month old still gets up two times a night to eat...
We are now dealing with a five year old who has a tendency to come into our room and ALSO wake us in the middle of the night.
The baby, I can deal with... at least he sleeps through his feeding and goes right back to bed.
Not so much.
She wakes us up and asks to sleep in our bed(which we allow to avoid an argument... I know...shame on us.)..and then doesn't SLEEP in our bed. She stays awake. She cries. She refuses to go back to her own room. She's loud. She carries on.
And I hate to sound insensitive...but it's DRIVING US CRAZY!!!
Just the thought of bedtime makes me cringe.
The leading up to bedtime is now getting all of us anxious because we know the song and dance routine that is going to go on.
The teeth are brushed, the books are read.... everyone is getting settled into their beds and my husband and I get "the look" from TWIN B. The look that says...
"I'm about to flip my lid because I don't want to go to sleep."
She shares a room with her sister. You would think that would be comfort enough. But it's not.
When the fears first started, we told her she could sleep with the light on.
But now? Her twin, TWIN A, can't sleep with the light on.
The poor thing gets up in the morning with bags under her eyes... looking like she hasn't slept a wink.
So we battle every night...does the light stay on? Does it go off?
Do we dim the light? Is it too dim? Is it not dim enough?
We have enough night lights in the room to light a freaking runway...but that doesn't seem to be enough.
We've suggested separating the twins - putting one in a room as bright as day and one with the darkness she requires...and that goes over like a ton of bricks.
They don't want to be separated.
It's so bad that when TWIN B gets up in the night to sleep with us... TWIN A wakes up, sees her sister is gone, comes looking for her and then wants to sleep with us too!
Cue the circus music!
We've talked. We've asked TWIN B to explain what she is afraid of.
And she can't.
She doesn't know what she is afraid of exactly.
We've learned that she thinks someone might climb in her window.... so we've tried to calm that fear by allowing HER to set the house alarm at night.
That's not helping either. Especially since the other night, we didn't set it and she woke us up at 2am to ask of if the alarm had been set!
As a mother, I'm torn between wondering if she really IS afraid of something and wanting to soothe away her fears... and thinking maybe she is just being the dramatic child she has a tendency to be...always wanting to be center stage...always needing more attention than the others.
I've started researching and from what I've read, I'm beginning to feel like a failure in my responses to her.
At first I was reassuring and calm and understanding.
But as the nights go on and the struggles continue...
I'm less calm(read that as frustrated and pissed off), less reassuring, and more
"suck it up and GO TO BED".
My husband and I are both ridiculously tired and becoming extremely resentful of this little person who is making bedtime and nighttime in general... a NIGHTMARE(no pun intended)
So now what?
The research doesn't give you the,
"So if all of these suggestions DON'T work...try, X, Y and Z"
They don't have alternate suggestions.... like shock therapy (I'm really just kidding)
But part of me really thinks that these people who write these articles have never had a child with night fears or had a child AT ALL.
Because if they had, I don't think they'd even try to give you a "how to" instruction manual.
Because there is no right or wrong...and sometimes... NOTHING works.
Sometimes you end up not getting any sleep...you end up with a kid or two in your bed... you end up raising your voice... making idle threats and empty promises.... and that's ok too because we're all only human...and we're TIRED humans.
Tonight, I'll try and keep my cool... I'll go in to her room at bedtime armed with loads of sensitivity, patience and a can of Bad Guy Spray(my dental hygienist told me about "spray" to keep the bad guys away)
I'm sure I have a round of musical beds to look forward to at 3am....and all I can say is...this too shall pass.
I just hope it passes soon.
Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW