It’s 2AM and I’m up again. For the last two months, Thing #2 has developed this habit of night waking. Not just waking. But whining, and crying, and demanding drinks of water, to have his stereo on, a different stuffy, his blankets tucked (or untucked) on whims.
At first this was happening at 5AM, which was ungodly but manageable, and I’d get him what he wanted and we’d all go back to bed for another hour or so.
Then it started happening at 3AM, and again at 5AM. Which was horrid because once I’m hauled out of bed, it takes me a good solid hour to get back to sleep. If I’m lucky. So for the last six weeks or so I’ve not been sleeping much past 3AM. After usually only getting to bed in the first place around midnight. I’m one of those people that needs at least six hours’ sleep to maintain a grip on sanity. Seven is better. After eight, I’m a lovely person.
After three, I’m borderline abusive.
My temper is short. My impulses are erratic. My patience is non-existent. And I’ve had a terrible week – because now the whining starts at 11pm, before I even go to bed, and continues every two hours until I finally give up and start my day, bleary-eyed at 6:30, making a bowl of Shreddies and pouring out the first of endless cups of milk that will have two sips taken before getting left on the table to sour.
Thing #2 is two and a half. And I’m broken.
I love him. Right now and for several weeks, I do not like him. I’m not alone. Thing #1 burst into tears the other day after another one of his little brother’s tantrums and wailed “He’s not like my little brother anymore! He’s not right! I can’t like him!” And we just had an epic battle that ended with him sitting on the back porch in his pajamas. At 2AM. There was a spanking. There was a solid half hour of his screaming “I said YES MOMMY” at the top of his lungs because I refused to sit next to him and watch him go back to sleep. Hubby didn’t help me. He didn’t even get up. It was me and that kid and I’m not proud of the way I handled it at all, and now he’s asleep and I’m sitting up in the dark, telling this story I am ashamed of in the hopes that maybe, when I reread it tomorrow in the cold light of day, that I can figure out a way to deal with this kid’s moods and his stubbornness in a rational way that works.
Turns out when you have a hysterical two year old on your hands and nothing else will even get them to stop screaming long enough to draw breath, taking them outside at 2AM and saying “OK, if your bed isn’t to your liking you can sleep in the yard” will actually shock them into silence. I know that this isn’t effective parenting. I don’t know what is. He’s not in a crib anymore so I can’t just leave him in the crib until he screams himself to sleep – someone has to get up with him because he can open his door, and it’s not safe for him to be wandering the house at night. I can’t let him co-sleep because he’s one of those toddlers who kicks, and turns horizontally, and shoves, and pushes and thus no one in the bed gets any sleep at all (him included). I tried putting a little bed on the floor next to ours, because I remember Thing #1 going through this phase at around this age, and we had a deal that he could sleep in our room as long as he started the night in his own bed and didn’t wake anyone if he got up in the night and switched places. It worked. It’s not working this time. If I ignore him, he screams. If I tuck him back in and tell him “nighty-night”, he screams. If I say “please dear, everyone is tired and it’s sleepy time now” he screams “NO MOMMY YOU NOT TIRED ANYMORE” over and over again until I could get in the car and drive, either to Mexico or head first into a tree.
Please, I’ll take any suggestions. ANYTHING. I’m getting desperate. I feel very alone in this. Sleep deprivation from dealing with an infant is one thing – it’s a head grind, sure, but you expect it. Sleep deprivation from a very verbal two year old who bloody well knows that it is bedtime… it’s awful. AWFUL.