The Frustration of Kids Getting Out of Bed
Why do you keep getting out of bed?! Don't you understand that if you don't go to sleep you're going to be grumpy all day tomorrow and then I'm going to be grumpy all day tomorrow and then you'll have to go to bed even earlier? I want to take this knowledge and insert it into my child's cranium with a thumb drive so they can process the consequences. And yet, every night I feel like I am waging the age old war of the toddler who keeps getting out of bed.
I don't have a solution per-se. Our methods work on and off. But, I do have a story for the moms or dads who want to rip their hair out because their baby doesn't treasure sleep the way that us adults do. Welcome to one of the countless nights that my 2 year old kept getting out of bed.
Calm before the Bed Time Storm
Flashes in the Distance
We stayed up later than usual and I didn't fall asleep until around 12:30 in the morning. At 2:00 am my 2 year old daughter walked into our room. "Mama? Dada?" I woke with a headache.
To my dismay, it looked like she had gone into my 4 month old son's room to let him join in on the fun. He was awake too. My husband was down for the count. I quickly put my daughter back in bed, after taking away her baby (as promised) and then fed my son.
It was 2:30 now. That was rough, but my bed was calling me. My eyes were just drooping enough to partially sedate me when I heard the door open again.
Torrential Rain, Tornado Wind, Flooding Molten Lava
She kept getting out of bed again...and again..and again...and again! I wanted to cry. I wanted to swear. I wanted to strap her to the bed with a couple of tie downs. Instead, after about the 8th time of putting her back in bed, I towered over her and said loudly, "This is not okay. It is time for bed." It was the sternest voice I could muster without screaming the way I wanted to.
I stripped her bed of all toys, blankets and happiness and then stood outside of her bedroom door like a rabid dog about to attack the bunny rabbit inside. Anger flowed out of me like the never ending spit up of my infant son. Could she not see that her mama was at her wits end? Did the darkness mean nothing to her? If I broke down and started sobbing in front of her, would that make a difference?
I had let my anger get the better of me and suddenly I felt very childish. I was raging against a two year old. She had reduced me to her behavior. This had to stop. I had to regain control and act like an adult. But since I had no idea how to do that, I silently said a prayer that I would be able to let go of my anger.
I listened intently at the door, still irritated but the blood boiling, all consuming rage had subsided. The furnace was blowing hot air throughout the house and I couldn't hear into her bedroom very well. Finally it stopped and I could hear deep breathing coming from the room through an extremely congested nose. I considered leaving her there, but I couldn't bear the thought of her sleeping the rest of the night (what little was left of it) without a blanket. As angry as I was, I couldn't shake the thought of a shivering, little girl in her room.
My daughter did have jammies on that night. This is a picture of her a different day but still sick.
I cracked the door open. It woke her up immediately. She sat up, looking sad. I grabbed some blankets from the closet and put them on top of her. "Thank you for staying in your bed," I said.
She tried to snuff her nose but it was still very congested.
"I'm going to go get you some medicine."
Tears of gratitude and in a tone that expressed that I finally understood what she wanted, she said, "Okay."
Sun comes Out
I wanted to cry now. My little girl was just sick and needed help feeling better and that was why she kept getting out of bed. And in my anger, I couldn't see it. All I could see was how angry I was that I still wasn't asleep, that my husband was still asleep and that I was traipsing around the house in less clothes than I would have liked, trying to deal with my misbehaving child.
But if I had just taken the time at the beginning to ask her why she had gotten up in the first place, I could have saved myself 2 1/2 hours! That's right, it was now 4:30. I got her some Ibuprofen and her bunny and her favorite blanket.
After she got her medicine, she immediately laid back in her bed. I gave her her bunny and blanket. "Baby? Baby?" she asked.
"No. You still got out of bed and so we can't have the baby. But when you wake up in the morning, you can have your baby."
I kissed her goodnight and finally laid back in my bed. This time, I knew she wouldn't be getting out of her bed. And I could finally rest my eyes without waiting for her to get up. I was right. I slept all the way until 6:30 when my son woke up, ready to eat again.
While my night actually had some legitimate reasons behind the nighttime wakings, there have been plenty of nights that were just frustrating until I finally 'fell asleep' with adrenaline still flowing through my veins.
We’ve all been there.
Mamas, dadas, we've all been there. And if you haven't, just wait. And for those of you who feel like you are all alone because you don't know anyone else who has gone through this, you can know that this mama has.