As soon as I write about this, if I'm not already in my bed, I'm going to go back and find all of my bed-related posts regarding The Boy. Because I'm interested in remembering what we did each time and what was the undoing (cancer, anyone?) of each attempt to get The Boy to sleep in his own bed.
But for now, I'll focus on the present.
Last night was miserable. The Boy woke up asking for something or other, and to go downstairs, and to get water...and and and. We had a really hard time and tried to get him to sleep elsewhere out of frustration. First the spare room. Then his bed. Meatball was NOT happy about that. Then The Boy asked for the potty. And pooped. Thank goodness for small favors.
So, at 2 AM, both children came downstairs with us. Meatball nursed and went back to bed.
The Boy didn't seem to give a darn that he was keeping us up and that we were exhausted. So back to bed he and Daddy went after awhile. I stayed up. Then I slept in his bed.
Tonight I put Meatball to bed after their bath. I cleared some junk out of the van and returned to The Boy finishing up watching a movie with Daddy. Then it was time for two books (which he read on the iPhone), and I took him to the bedroom. It was initially pretty frustrating, because he whined and woke Meatball, who needed a new diapers and to be nursed back to sleep. Additionally, The Boy wanted to play instead of sleep, as now he is very comfortable playing in his room.
So...I decided to employ the "mom will be right back, stay put" technique. And, miraculously enough, The Boy neither complained nor followed me. I came back a few times, just to let him know that I would. I left for awhile, and Meatball was still whining. After I figured out that he still needed me, I went up to get him and, amazingly enough, The Boy was fast asleep, tucked away in his bed. Once Meatball FINALLY had his fill of milk, he went to sleep too.
I thought I'd be camping out in there for the next few days...maybe The Boy is really ready to sleep in his own bed. We'll see how it all works out.
It's not just the sleep, though, because the sleep itself is less of an issue. Yes, he needs to sleep on his own eventually but I would be less inclined to move him if the sleep issues and waking issues weren't a part of a larger, ever-present problem:
The Boy needs to start being a "normal" kid.
The feedback I have received from other families indicates that it will take awhile for him to understand that just because he is no longer the center of the universe and just because he doesn't always have every wish and want met in the blink of an eye, we still love him very much and want the best for him. Also, it will take him awhile to understand that other people's feelings are important as well. Of course, this is a normal 2-year-old problem, and it is a developmentally appropriate problem to have, but the issue is magnified by the issues brought on by his illness.
Another problem that I have just begun to address is the whining freakouts at little things. For example, if we put on music that we think he'll like and he wanted something else, he starts to whine. There are the potty protests and the desire to omit handwashing even though he knows that handwashing is a part of the process. Elmo said so. There is the complaining at the table. Again, typical two-year-old stuff, magnified by the fact that we'd been really working hard NOT to tick him off because of his high blood pressure. Since that is pretty well under control, a little cognitive dissonance is good for him sometimes. So I resort to a little bit of preschool-teacher coaxing: "We understand you and can help you get what you want when you speak like a big boy."
It actually worked.
Everything that we have to do with him needs to be done "Gradually, With Love" (come on...where's THAT chapter heading from...leave me a comment with the answer). It is difficult to keep our perspective sometimes when he's driving us batty, but we continue to acknowledge his opinions and treat him respectfully. Even if sometimes he has to be led away or picked up and moved.
Next items on the agenda for the relatively near future: completing potty training for The Boy, continuing with the potty intro for Meatball (he's gone in the potty about once a day for the past several days, and today he even peed on "cue."), and getting The Boy to eat vegetables again.
Wish us luck.