Thursday, June 19, 2008

So... Go Take on the Nap

(snort) I wish...


One problem I have with Dr. Laura is that she only had one kid.

Not that I have a huge issue with only children, really, it's just that she dispenses all of this parenting advice having been successful with her one son. Her one-personality, one-kind-of-reaction, all-attention-given-to son.

Um, in case you haven't noticed: kids are different.

I, while full of parenting flaws, am actually pretty consistent. We've done pretty similar things with each kid: sleep training around 5 months, insisting that our kids eat well-rounded meals, using the not-listening chair as a Time Out system, instituting a fairly successful chore system etc.

Of course we react to each child differently based on their birth order, their sex, what's going on in our lives at the time, but not hugely.

And guess what? They are totally different in how they behave.

The reason I'm bringing all of this up? Seth is a bad egg.

Okay, not totally bad. But we've never had a kid give us a run for our money like this one does.

Case-in-point:
He is now in a big boy bed. And he won't stay in it. For the first few days, we nicely put him back, blah blah blah, but lately we've had to pull out the big guns.

Can I chronicle for you previous children and their reactions to this scenario?

Child #1: My second most headstrong kid. She and I went the rounds at a few naptimes and bedtimes between the ages of 18 months and 4 years old, but basically after I

  • consistently put her back in bed when she got out,

  • and then locked her door,

  • she would scream and cry,

  • I would ignore her

  • she would figure out that I meant business

  • after 2-3 times, would stay in her bed

Child #2 and 3: Watched Child #1 take a nap/stay in bed at night and just figured that's what we do, and really never challenged the concept.

Child #4: Same household, same example, same expectations= VERY DIFFERENT RESULT. In the last two weeks, we have

  • warned,

  • placed gently (and not so gently) back in bed,

  • held the door shut, tied the door shut,

  • switched the door knob so it would lock

  • locked it

  • ignored yelling/crying pleas: "Mom, I'm peyoopy! Mom, I need a tiss (kiss)! Mom, I'm taking my diaper off! (and our personal favorite) Emma, Gabe, can you open dis door?!"

and you know what? after weeks of this--he stills gets out of his bed almost every night and we do it all over again.

And nobody likes it (the kids all groan from their rooms when I head up to turn the lock), and we are getting sick of the game. We are kind at a loss.

So there, Dr. Laura, what do you have to say about that?

49 comments:

Kendra said...

Hahaha that is too funny. It is so amazing at how different they can each be. I was just telling my mom the other day how it surprises me that mine are even related! :)
Good luck with keeping him in bed. I know how challenging that can be.

Jill said...

Oh, how frustrating!! I would ask Super Nanny...I like her better than Dr Laura!!

Lorena said...

Ahhh...I am an advocate for the switching the doorknobs around. It was the first thing we did when we moved into this house.

I'm sure Seth will figure it out someday...hopefully soon for your sake (and his!)

Elizabeth Caldwell said...

One child is SOOOO much easier - I can assure you. That is why I only have the one!

I am with Jill - I clicked the comment button thinking of super nanny - she has some fab bedtime routines! And I love the way she says "You've been very naughty".

Of course you already know (but I am happy to validate for you) that you MUST be in charge and consistent. This is a battle in a larger war and one you simply cannot afford to lose...

then of course there is always benedryl (que evil laugh here)

And Dr. Laura doesnt listen well.. so she annyoys me latley.

Bridget said...

I have never listened to Dr.Laura but from what I hear about her she would drive me bonkers. I agree. ALL kids are different. My last child gives me grief my other two have not. I don't get it either. Good luck. I get very grouchy with children after bedtime. I don't like to see their faces until morning.

Annemarie said...

Oh man...hang in there. I LOVED this post. I have been having VERY similar thoughts about my #3 kid. Raised THE SAME WAY as the older two, but responds totally different. I am at a loss right now.
And the bed thing..I had the same issue with my twins. It was like a night time circus. I was NOT entertained or amused AT ALL!!!!

Paige said...

I have the same issues with ONE of my twins. Guess which one. Honestly, the only time she stays in bed is when Jeff yells at her, but we know how much he's actually home for bedtime.

On vacation we've been letting them go to bed late and they go right down. Not gonna happen at home.

Here's my advice: Ok I got nothing, but good job being consistent!

Meg said...

Oh I have been there SO many times! Thankfully, my fourth is a happy sleeper at night (but WILL NOT take naps...since he was 2 1/2 yrs) Maybe baby number five's cuteness will make up for all this craziness! We have a three strike rule for bedtime (which may not work for Seth since he is younger...it doesn't really work for my 4 yr old yet.) But for the older kids when they get out of bed, I tell them they got a strike...doesn't matter what it's for (drink, "I have to tell you something", question, have to go potty). When they get strike three, they lose a privilege for the next day that works for them (dessert, tv, game privilege.) It might be worth a try...

Also, have you tried taking his stuffed animals hostage? (I am such a mean mom...but this works for some kids really well.)

Kara Jayne said...

Your not going to like my advice. I keep my kids in the crib with the crib tent (see my post on the fabulous contraption) as long as possible.

Depending on when they are done with napping, you could leave them in it until that point because usually they are so tired that they don't put up much of a fight. My oldest two napped until 5 though, so that may not be plausible.

I've also found that my kids didn't stay in bed as easily when they didn't share rooms. If you are going to be doing some room changing when the baby comes, now be a great time to start. Somehow having someone else in the room is comforting (yes and sometimes distracting) to some kids.

I obviously am NO EXPERT on this, but just figured I'd give you some options on the subject! Hang in there and find what really pushes his buttons...and push away!!

rubberbandgirl said...

Let this be a lesson to me...I will keep Bryce in his crib longer than I originally intended to.

Anisa said...

We've failed on both of our kids so far, so I can't help you.

Shally said...

My Jax is gives me daily dose of anger...

He is a great kid, but holy cow he knows how to push my buttons!

I wish I had some advice-- lucky for me, my kids have done okay in the staying in bed department.

Now, potty training-- THAT is ia whole different matter...

Lauren said...

You are to be praised for being so consistent!

We got one of those crib tent things because Adam started crawling out of his crib at about 18 months. I was scared he would somehow unlock the front door and end up outside (that was probably an unrealistic fear but, I tend to worry). We also used it when Brian started crawling out of the crib...and once he graduated from his crib he kept getting out of bed and I wanted to re-institute it. I felt like I was keeping him in a cage but, I didn't know what else to do.

I wish I had some sage advice for you. I think that locking the door will help. I have a friend that just kept locking the door...she would find her little girl not in bed, but asleep during naptime. Supernanny says not to say anything to the child...remain emotionless and keep gently placing the child back in bed, over and over and over again. On one show I think it took like over 20 times...that is no fun but It may work.

It has to be hard with his adorable little pleas! He is so cute...I know it may be driving you to distraction but it seriously so cute that he is trying to enlist Gabe and Emma in his cause of gaining freedom.

Erin said...

Oooh boy, I got nothin' for ya. Except to say that I can't stand Dr. Laura. ;) You're being consistent and, otherwise, you've used all the other tricks we keep up our sleeves. Good luck.

Seth is definitely always good for a cute/funny story!

The Parkers said...

Dr Laura never had a church calling, never had to nurse a baby while changing another one's diaper, never had to go to a child's class with children #2 and #3 in tow, and all the movie stars listen to her. 4 very good reasons to ignore her advice and write your own book, making tons of money. Then people with 12 kids can say, "She only had 5. She has no idea what she's talking about."
Other than that, good luck. I'm having the exact same fun with my two year old right now. I've never met a kid like this.

G and G Nut said...

The picture is not proving your point. Could any little boy who looks that innocent asleep really be such a troublemaker? :)
xoxo

gab said...

Really. The good thing about having your hardest kid first is that everything is downhill after that. (So far, anyway.)

The bad thing is that for the first six years of your motherhood career you feel like a complete failure and people talk about you and your crazy child behind your back.

But I'm not bitter...

Nancy said...

I agree with everyone about Super Nanny. She has an amazing way of getting kids to stay in bed. I think the big thing with that is not saying anything after the first couple of times putting them back to bed. Good job being consistent. Since I don't have kids, I don't have any good tips.

Ilene said...

Ah, you obviously have not implemented my technique after repeat escapes...

Screaming.

It doesn't work, though.

Laurie said...

Okay, I'm reading that others recommend the advice from Supernanny, and I just have to debunk it. Our three-year-old did the pop out of bed thing and we tried the Supernanny technique--first time say "goodnight darling" (with a British accent), next time just take him back to bed, repeat as often as necessary.

Well, after 45 minutes and innumerable get-ups (literally, the second we closed the door), we opted for the "old school" approach.

Warning: Some of you may think we are evil parents for employing this method, but I totally agree with the effectiveness when properly used.

We told Nate, "If you get out of bed again you get a spanking." He got up (of course since he thought it was a really fun game), and he got one swat on his diapered bottom and was put back in bed. We issued the same warning. He only got up one more time and only got one more swat. Way more impressive results than Supernanny's method.

He is really good about going to bed at night still, and we've only had to issue this warning a couple of times since.

By the way, we have turned the locks and locked them, and it worked with the older two, but after Gabe destroyed the wall with a matchbox airplane, we just didn't try it with #3.

And I agree, having a CHILD is completely different than having CHILDREN. Good luck!

Meghann said...

I love how Seth tests his siblings, to see if THEY'LL open his door. That's hilarious. Precious little Seth, he is such a riot.

Lindsay said...

SAME STORY HERE! And it's with my fourth too...and we frankly are too tired to figure it out. Half the time we're not even awake enough to know he's roaming the house....please figure it out and let us know!

Erika said...

does is worry you what #5 is going to be like. because you sould be afraid. and... what are you doing in August? let's hook up.

jessica said...

I can totally hear Seth's cute little voice saying those things! Edee was our escape artist...surprise, surprise. We tied the door shut too.

Just keep at it...he'll figure it out and if not just get some handcuffs and ear plugs.

Melissa said...

We have similar staying in bed problems at our house. There is a new excuse every week. This week, one or the other keeps coming out saying "I forgot something!" When asked what that is, she says "I don't know." When the supernanny back in bed technique is obviously not working, I employ my treat jar method - get a little cup or bowl. Put it somewhere outside of his room where he can see it but out of reach of course. Put 5 m&ms or marshmellows or whatever in it. Tell him he can have this treat in the morning, but everytime he gets out of bed, you are going to eat one. When he comes out - actually eat one and see how long it takes for him to run screaming for his bed. Works for us, but I don't have any older kids who might be annoyed they don't get a treat for staying in bed.

Heidiram said...

Power through it . . . this hopefully shall pass. We had issues with Sarah. And she finally got over it. Good thing . . . because I was getting ready to sell her to the gypsies.

Kristin said...

Is he still napping? If so try keeping him up a little longer, long enough for the older kids to fall asleep and not hear anything. Make is special time, just for him. Than when he goes to be warn him about some major problems if he opens the door, (ie taking away fav toy, blanket, pillow) This worked wonders with #3 in our house. When he goes to bed, the other two brothers are already asleep in the room, so he knows he has to sleep and be quiet. Plus he is tired enough not to fight us.

stephi k said...

Such a coincidence... my 4th child makes me feel like a loser mom all the time! And I am a "seasoned" mother of 5. You check my beef with Dr. Laura and child #4 on my family blog link from my personal blog. It's called "Police Blotter".

elizabeth scott said...

Summer is so great for kids but it is sleep deprivation for me! Dawson and Mckennah are having so many late nights lately and the vacations are always late nights! I don't think I've had a night that I've been to bed before 12 in 2 weeks. And what is a nap??

AMY said...

Aidan, not the greatest napper. The kind of kid who could get by with 10 hrs sleep/day at age 18 mo, very frustrating. He also is not responsive to "nicely" being placed back into bed. But...you can see in Jack's eyes that he just wants to go to bed and nap. Hopefully I can feel like a nicer mother at future naptimes with him.

Melissa-Mc said...

We actually have 3 of those. With our most difficult, we finally had to give her a "pass." Some object to use as a pass to get out of bed. She could only get out of bed ONCE and then she had to give us her pass.

You are doing a great job at parenting!

Motherhood for Dummies said...

when it comes to bedtime.. I am strick believe in you stand your ground. My mom had to take extreme measures with me and my brother. She actually had to get a harnest that worked with the bed and wouldn't allow us to get out of bed. I think that was what finally get me to stay in my room. I managed to worked my way out of it a lot, but I would always stay in my room queitly so she wouldn't know I got out. Plus... I think she used good ol' spankings too :)

Natalie said...

At least he is cute:)!

bloggingchristy said...

This blog and comments made me feel alot better that I'm not the only one who has ever tied the door shut!! I thought I was the meanest parent ever!

Stacy said...

I've never been so close to corporal punishment than with Hannah and her HORRIBLE bedtime habits...I feel your pain...I promise!! (Maybe it's a 4th child thing - I'm scratching my head with this one, too!)

J'net said...

Hey, have you tried going and sleeping in HIS room and letting him just sleep on the floor or stairs or where ever? IF he is coming into your room during the middle of the night, just let him sleep on the floor by your bed and tell him, ONLY BIG BOYS get their OWN bed, so STAY here on the floor!
I don't have any kids STILL sleeping on my floor now, so I guess it worked finally?!
In 3 yrs. from now none of this will be a big deal,
so enjoy his cute-ness and count yourself GREAT
among mom's!
He wants to be around you!
Aloha

Hazen5 said...

Ugh!!! I can't even imagine being there again. Good luck. If it's any consolation, you are doing every thing I would do.

Jenibelle said...

My recipe for #5?
A completely empty room, locked door and ear plugs.

I know I am a bad mom and I am completely prepared to pay for the therapy.

Actually, he's the one that loves me most because WHEN he DID stay in bed all night, it was like he had won an olympic gold medal around here! We all whooped and hollered and made such a fuss. It was so fun EVERY day to get that, he cooperated.

Sharlene Enloe said...

I'm right there with you. None of my awesome parenting has worked on Olivia that worked with my boys. You are so right! Kids are all so different.

Tristan said...

Amen to that one! I do like what Dr Laura says a lot of the time, but I totaly agree with you! Good luck with that!

Brooke said...

Wow,
What fun!
love you guys,
Brooke

Tammy said...

You are doing the right thing! Stay strong, that is my totally uneducated, childless advice. Wow, I don't know what I would do short of strap him to the bed! Does he get too much sleep during the day?? I know you all nap, but maybe he does not need naps, and thus he has the energy to get out of bed in the night? If he was TOTALLY EXHAUSTED, maybe he would not try?? Can you try to keep him up all day with no naps and do the experiment? think of it as science.

Adrianne said...

Quoted from my husband "It is pure luck that Gabe is such a good sleeper, you should feel lucky because the others won't be like this"
My response: Gabe is a good sleeper because I TAUGHT him to be a good sleeper. Just look at Jessica's kids, she has 4 and they're all great sleepers!

Please fix problem ASAP so I don't have to eat my words. (and then let me know how you did it.)

p.s. Tammy clearly doesn't understand the necessity FOR THE MOM that the child nap during the day.

Matty said...

I hope your kids are not able to read your blog. That would be very unfortunate!

queenieweenie said...

You know what? I truly believe they all give it to you sometime, somehow.

I had to buy those doorknob cover thingies and lock my #3 in his room.
I felt like a bad mommy.

My question is, "What do you do with a 13 year old who won't go to bed?"

Rochelleht said...

I so agree. I am a sleep nazi & have always been consistent. No kids in our beds! We have reverse locks on all our kids' doors.

With all the consistency, Ethan screamed himself to sleep for the first 5+ years of his life. Several hours every night.

True story.

Christie said...

You poor, poor thing. We had one like that, but he did eventually learn. It took months. I am so sorry!

Carie said...

Yeah, the only thing I have learned about parenting is that every kid is different.

All I can say is: good luck!

diane said...

Umm, I did the family bed...no help at all.