There. No There. A Little to the Left. Too Far. Let’s Try Where It Was the First Time Again.

Lately Quinn has been a screaming, shrieking nightmare at bedtime. Literally.

He hates going to bed and lets us know this with a vehemence known only to toddlers. There are days we’ve had to hold him in the room with one hand and close the door with the other. We’ve had to lock his door with him inside. We’ve had to put furniture in front of the door.*

Don’t worry, we always open up his escape routes after he falls asleep, but I still feel a little like I’m scarring him forever. Like he’ll grow up with intense claustrophobia and not know why except for the fact that he has vague memories of pounding on a door blocked by a changing table.

It’s completely horrible. For him too. Ha ha.

I think that a big part of the reason he hates bedtime so much is that he is separated from his brothers, who share a room. I think this because before bed every night he asks if he can sleep in Sam and Jack’s room.

Being the problem solver that I am, I asked him if he’d like to move his bed into their room. He was beyond delighted. Sam was also delighted. Sam was so delighted that on Saturday morning he managed to drag Quinn’s toddler bed, mattress and all, out of Quinn’s room and into the hallway.

We eventually moved it the rest of the way and that night, all three kids went to bed together. There was some initial chatting and bickering, but then things seemed to be calming down.

Until, that is, Quinn came out of the room saying he was afraid. I told him he had nothing to be afraid of and sent him back.

About an hour later, Sam came out to tell me that Quinn needed me.

I found him in his bed, under his blanket, with his pillow over his head, and only a tiny smidge of his anxious face peering out from underneath. He was so hot he had sweated through his pajamas and I seriously thought he had spiked an astronomical fever.

I took his temperature (normal) and sat with him outside to cool him down. Then I let him sleep on the couch.

Needless to say, today we moved his bed back to his room. Because what’s a weekend without some furniture rearranging?

Remind me to find my noise canceling headphones before bedtime.

* It’s not as mean as it sounds. Please don’t call the authorities on me.

11 thoughts on “There. No There. A Little to the Left. Too Far. Let’s Try Where It Was the First Time Again.

  1. Poor guy. And poor you. Have you tried playing CDs for him at bedtime? I always used to put on “sleepy music” for my son, who was not a big fan of being alone in at night. I also highly recommend Jim Weiss’s “Sweet Dreams” CD — restful, kid-centered visualizations. Great stuff; you can listen to a couple of samples on Amazon. Good luck!

  2. That’s a great suggestion and we actually do use a CD for him at bedtime. We’ve used one since he was tiny, so whenever he wakes up in the middle of the night, we put it on and he immediately goes back to sleep.

    I think his biggest hardship is being sad about separating from his brothers.

  3. oh, that’s a tough one.

    jack’s used a noise machine for the longest time — and still does! at six! sometimes i wonder whether he’ll be taking the machine to college.

    maybe it would help quinn to see that there’s nothing interesting going on in his brothers’ room? that they’re going to sleep, just like he is?

    dunno.

  4. ahem…nothing wrong at all with noise machines/CD’s or the like. At, well never mind the exact number…but I still use something to help me settle in at night. (No, no, I mean music/noise! Not the booze…) Seriously. I’ve always been very uncomfortable in the dark unless I can hear music or soothing sounds. Before Nik was born I would use a walkman or a CD player w/a sleep function; now, I simply listen to the music which plays in his room all night…through the baby monitor!

    But the sadness about being away from his brothers? That’s a tough one.

  5. We play musical beds. Usually one boy ends up in my bed and either me or daddy end up intheir room. We have one who is petrified of going to bed and the other (moose) who wakes up screaming with night terrors. At this point, I’m willing to sleep outside if it means I can sleep more than two hours without anyone touching me.

  6. Moving Jack and Sam into his room. Robin, you are a clever one! Although we have had a couple of “sleepovers” that didn’t end well. Plus, S & J have a GIANT bunk bed that wouldn’t fit into Q’s tiny room. If he would just stay in his bed, we could leave his door open. But then he would wander around until midnight. Sigh.

  7. My son still uses a radio with “nature sounds” on a sleep timer. We also leave a light on in the room. Those ‘blue’ party lights are pretty dim, but brighter than a nightlight.

    And, here was the real trick for us a few years back: he was afraid of monsters. So, we made little signs that say “no monsters allowed” and put them in every corner of the room. Everyone knows that monsters can read ;-) and will follow the rules. In addition, every night before bed we did a monster check all around the room. Then we made an announcement that “no monsters are allowed here. Go somewhere else.” Finally, to be really sure that he was safe, his stuffed “Top Scarer” (from Monsters Inc) was put on guard duty every night.

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