When I think of Lincoln and bedtime, I almost immediately think of Adam Mansbach’s book Go the FUCK to Sleep. It’s hilarious and one of the reasons I haven’t stuck pencils in my ears and forks in my eyes.
Moving to Massachusetts was kind of an adjustment for Lincoln and me (Aidan and Autumn slid right into country life). Me, because I now had to care for three children by myself with nothing within walking distance. And Lincoln? Where do I begin? Ah, sleep.
Lincoln as a baby was an awful sleeper. When we did get him to fall asleep (this involved buckling him into his car seat, my husband standing in the doorway, and swinging him. He eventually had to stop because Lincoln was so big and my husband was beginning to tear his shoulder muscle) he didn’t sleep for more than an hour, two if we were lucky. After hours of crying it out, at 11 months Lincoln was able to fall asleep on his own and sleep through the night. AWESOME! Fast forward to this past August when we moved and Lincoln all of sudden refuses to sleep, but he had reasons. There were reasons, according to Lincoln, as to why he couldn’t sleep. They were all valid and an absolute test to my commitment of being his mother.
Here are some of the reasons why Lincoln couldn’t sleep, according to him:
1. The “frickets” are too loud.
If you don’t know what a “fricket” is, replace the “f” with a “c”. Uh huh. Yup. The crickets were too loud.
We came from the city, where our house was 2 away from a major bridge, the Bayonne Bridge to be exact, so our white noise was cars and trucks driving by. NOT crickets. I personally prefer the latter. Lincoln, not so much.
I solved this problem two ways…
2. He didn’t like his room.
Uh, his room is awesome. I made sure the kids’ rooms were done within days of us moving up here. I worked by butt off during nap time and after they went to bed.
What the heck do you mean you don’t like your room?
It’s not BLUE.
Fuck me. Hard. I’m NOT painting the room over again. His next room can be blue. Promise.
3. EVERYTHING hurt.
His head, his stomach, his back. He was tired all day and just wanted to “rest”. After a couple of days of worrying that something was seriously wrong, I realized it was all psychosomatic (thank you college). Translation, his stress from the move was presenting itself as physical ailments. Heartbreaking. I know.
4. He didn’t like his bed. It wasn’t comfortable.
Solution, and this was his idea…
I was changing the sheets one day and Lincoln pointed out that HIS bed (mattress) was on Aidan’s bed. Oops. Sorry. I had those mattresses switched faster than Charlie Sheen can say winning after 3 lines of coke. He slept in his bed for
a minute a few hours. At around 11 o’clock, just as I’m about to go to sleep myself, Lincoln is standing at the top of the stairs hysterically crying (I was sleeping on the couch downstairs at this point b/c there aren’t enough bedrooms to accommodate us and it was important to me that the kids have their own space rather than me sharing a room with any of them). I put him back down. He was up 2 hours later, crying at the top of the stairs. Each time this happened, he would beg to sleep on the couch with me and I would say no, but lay with him in his bed and stroke his hair until he fell back asleep, which was never really long. After a few nights of this, the last being when he woke up Autumn and the two of them were in hysterics in the middle of the night, I finally agreed to let him sleep on the adjacent couch. He slept the rest of the night. The next few nights he went to bed in his room and, like clock work, would come downstairs between 10 and 11 o’clock. I would tuck him in on “his” couch, tuck myself in on mine, and we would fall asleep.
There were a few issues with this plan. 1- He wasn’t getting a full night’s sleep. 2- I wasn’t getting a full night’s sleep. 3- I didn’t like him walking down the stairs in the middle of the night. 4- My mother and sister wake up before 5 to get ready for work and school. Us being in the living room put pressure on them to not make a lot of noise as well as to keep as many lights off as possible. It didn’t work.
Issue number 4 meant that Lincoln was waking up when my mother and sister came downstairs. At 5 o’clock in the morning. Um, I can’t function before 6/6:30. After discussing all possible solutions to this god awful problem with my mother, I finally conceded to sleeping in the room with the boys. Yup, I am sleeping in a bunk bed (Lincoln is on a mattress on the floor that we store under the bed during the day). It’s like I’m 8 years old again and sharing a room with my brother.
Lincoln, most often than not, no longer wakes up in the middle of the night (if he does, I’m right there to hold his hand). And he’s no longer waking up the entire house before the crack the dawn, just me. At 5:30/6 o’clock every morning, he wakes up whimpering that he has to go to the bathroom (he hasn’t figured out that he can just walk to the bathroom by himself and go…we’re working on it). And then he’s up. For the day. Or at least until nap.
Needless to say, I’m exhausted…
and would really just like for him to go the f*ck to sleep, by himself.