Sleep… or Lack Thereof

09 Oct

I have always described Koren as a “crappy sleeper.”  It’s true.  Unlike his sister, who has been known to sleep through the house alarm, Koren is a light sleeper, whose sleep cycles seem to include multiple “Wake up” modes.  He didn’t sleep through the night until he was 3, and even then it was only temporary.  At age 4, he’s up 1-3 times per night, either making his way down to our room or calling to us from the top of the stairs.

He’s very fragile in the middle of the night, but most of the time he doesn’t really need anything other than to go potty – which he is perfectly capable of doing by himself.  His only reason for waking us up is more or less that he wants company – a cuddle before bed and someone to tuck him in.  Once we tuck him back in, he goes back to sleep without any resistance.

And while that’s kind of cute during the day time, I have very little patience for it at 11:45pm, 1:30am, 3:15am and 5:45am.

We’ve tried a few different ways to get him to sleep through the night, but as of yet have been unable to find a currency that will motivate him enough to change his behavior in this particular area.  Positive reinforcement only works sometimes, and even then only temporarily.  Lately we’ve told him he’s going to lose a marble* for every time he wakes us up.  We did specify that if he has a scary dream or is actually sick or hurting then that doesn’t count. Coincidentally, the frequency of “bad dreams” has gone up exponentially over the past week.  :-/

Last night it was the same old thing – I awoke in the middle of the night to tearful cries for “Mama!” at the top of the stairs.  After instructing him to go to the bathroom (WHY does it never occur to him to just do that first?  If he would just GO to the bathroom instead of bursting into tears at the fact that he’s awake, he could probably manage to get himself back to sleep.  But it’s like some kind of disconnect between the part of his brain that wakes up because he’s uncomfortable and the part that commands action to resolve the discomfort.)

After he had gone potty, quit crying, and been herded back to bed, I informed him in no uncertain terms that he had lost a marble and that waking everyone in the house up in the middle of the night for no reason was unacceptable.  That everyone needs their sleep, INCLUDING HIM.  This was not news to him.  We had this same discussion before bed.

As I was leaving his room, a small voice stopped me.

“Mama… do you know why I called you?”
“Why.”
“Because I love you.”

Ok, that?  THAT?????  IS NOT FAIR.

As if my ever-loving sanity wasn’t already hanging in the balance at this moment (sleep debt is not my friend, which is why I was pretty much half crazy and socially inept while my kids were infants), I JUST SCOLDED MY KID FOR REQUESTING AFFECTION IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND HE HAS TO GO AND GET ALL STICKY GOOEY SWEET ABOUT IT?

And yes, he did get an extra hug and cuddles because I am a sucker and he has my number.

Today marks two months since Xander went to be with the angels.  So while I sit here feeling sleep deprived and grouchy over the fact that I am sometimes grossly outmaneuvered by two little people (I am the adult, I should be better at this!!), I can’t help but think of parents who would give anything to be woken up in the middle of the night by their crying child who just wants to cuddle.

And it leaves me feeling kind of selfish.  Because as my mom says, “this too will pass.”  (Granted, she also said that when he was one, and it was a little more believable then.)  But whenever it does pass, I will probably long for those days when he wanted nothing more than to crawl up into my lap and rock for a while.

But rest assured that when he’s grown and has his own adorable crappy sleeper to deal with, I won’t pass on the opportunity to say HA!  IT’S YOUR TURN NOW.

*Our behavior/chores/rewards system uses marbles as a kind of currency.  I thought I had already written about it, but I can’t find it.  “Losing your marbles” in this house refers to the consequence for poor behavior… though if I ever do lose MY marbles, it might be closely linked to the kids losing theirs.


 
  1. Cyndy Kurtz

    October 9, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    at age 4: my little boy was up a lot with croup, and my little girl was up with similar koren issues (but she couldn’t remember what to do unless placed upon it by someone else). and you are right–however much sleep i lost, i will always miss the middle of the night whispers and hugs.