Thursday, June 02, 2005

And this

Isaac has been climbing out of his crib for awhile now. The first few times he tried, he fell and hurt himself. Not badly enough to worry me, but badly enough to discourage him from trying again. So really, the perfect amount of pain. Then about a month ago, he started climbing out again. Only now, he can do it without hurting himself at all.

On some level, this is a good thing, I suppose. At least I don't have to worry about running him to the ER.

But mostly, it's just annoying. Isaac is a child that really needs sleep. When he misses his nap, we all feel the pain. Now that he can climb out of the crib as easily as he opens the front door, he often spends naptime in his room playing in the dark.

I don't know how to deal with this. Fortunately, for now he does not leave his room once he escapes the crib. So I still get a break, even if he's not sleeping. But he can't really handle skipping a nap, at least not without several afternoon melt-downs, so the "quiet time" playing in his room doesn't work either.

Right now what I'm doing is checking on him after a few minutes, and sternly putting him back in his crib if he's out. I also take away his bears, and turn off the radio. This works about 1/2 the time.

Recently I started threatening him with a spanking, and here I hang my head in shame--because I actually did spank him the other day. I was so frustrated with him, and I lost it.

"That hurts, Mommy", he said. And I was so ashamed. I do not want to be a spanker. Spanking goes against all my parental instincts.

But I find myself getting so frustrated everyday. And to be honest, the day I spanked him, after I apologized and hugged him and promised not to do it again, he went right to sleep. I can't seem to find anything else that works.

Awhile back I read that "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" book. At the time I was trying to get Vivian to nap for longer than 30 minutes a day. According to the book, sleep begets sleep. It makes the case for getting your child some good sleep, claiming that overtired children don't learn well, can't focus, are accident-prone, etc.

Vivian was about 4-1/2 months old at the time--old enough, according to the book, to have two solid naps a day. According to the book, if I would just let her cry for a few minutes, she'd fall asleep, and get used to napping. This is not what happened. Until Vivian was 6 months old, she had a few 20 minute naps a day. She couldn't nap longer than that, no matter how I tried to force it. Around 6 months she settled down into more of a routine. Of course, until that time, she was frequently crabby, and I was about to lose my mind. But finally longer naps became the norm instead of the exception, and as she grew, so did her naps. Not because of something I did, but because her body clock determined the time was right.

So I have learned: you cannot make your children sleep, whether they need it or not.

I guess I've just answered my own question. I'll just let him play quietly in his room and deal with the meltdowns. At some point he will either outgrow the meltdowns or decide that napping in the crib is not so bad. Right?


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