Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sleeping Trauma 2 - a Daddy post

I have a very different story about Hyrum's sleeping than Joy. She takes care of him during his days and I take care of him (mostly) from when I get home to breakfast time. So the sleeping I concentrate on is his night-time.

Joy mentions in the next post how the napping policy started affected his night time sleeping. Normally, this kid is the antiDerrill - falls asleep quickly, stays in the bed all night, not a problem in the world. Amazing kid. Nothing like me. But when we tried to get him a nap, he would stay up a few hours, mostly crying, before getting to sleep.

Then for a few days, he had a MISERABLE time. He would stay up until 10pm or so, finally get to sleep, and wake us up at 2am with these piercing screams of pain and torture. I'd go in and find him reading a book, crying "Sleep! Sleep!" So I told him to go back to sleep. And he did. And went to sleep! Until 3, when he called out again, "Sleep! Sleep!"

After a couple nights of this, I started to have a chat with my son. This was not working and I couldn't imagine what had happened to my son. Who are you and what have you done with him? As part of the conversation, I asked him why he couldn't sleep. He actually answered! I wasn't expecting this. You may have gathered, Hy is not much of a talker and we spend a lot of time every day prompting vocal responses and teaching him to respond when people talk to him.

"Books," was his answer.

That gave me some pause. "Do the books keep you awake, Hyrum?"


"... Would you like Daddy to take the books away so you can sleep?"


Wow. So I took away the books. We turned his toy shelf to face the wall so it wasn't a temptation. He slept like a Hyrum again! (Babies wish they slept like a Hyrum.) Nary a peep!

So now at night, while he's fast asleep and we're getting ready for the night, I open his door to let in the cool/warm air (depending on the season), but put up the baby gate that he respects, and put a stack of books and a couple toys on the washing machine next to his door where he can reach them. He gets up between 5:30 and 7 and plays with the books and toys very happily and quietly until he thinks it's time for us to come and get him.

Compare this to his nap time ritual with Joy: he says "Books books books books" to her, (but he's not crying, Joy adds) because he's excited to read his books during quiet time. He wants em and he wants to see them spread out on the floor for his perusal and pleasure. During quiet time and sometimes in the morning, by the way, he also enjoys looking through the crack between the door hinges to see when we're coming so he can call out to us that he's ready to come out. We're pretty sure the one day he put himself in the corner in nursery, he was trying to look through the door crack for us to come get him.

Then he started another conversation with me. "Dad, we need to talk," he did not say. What he said was "books" when I put him in the bed. "Yes, Hyrum, there are a lot of books in your room. I'm going to take them away." Just the kind of 'yeah yeah, whatever' parents often give their kids. But then one night I listened, and I thought, and I asked, "Hyrum, when you say books, do you mean you want Daddy to take the books away so you can sleep?" "Yes." "Okay, I will take the books away."

This week, Joy was very nice and set up some train tracks for him out of masking tape on his floor. "Tracks!" he told me happily when we went to his room. I asked him some questions and he filled in a few details about how he had played with them. It was clear that he loved his tracks and was very excited by them. We sang and said prayers. Once he hopped in bed, he cried and told me again about the "Tracks." I asked, on the third time or so, "Do you want me to take away the tracks so you can sleep?"


What a wise child I have! He may not say much, but he understands and he knows himself. I sure love him! I would probably be a better person if I were more like him.

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