Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Sleep Issues

From the day we brought little Linus home, sleep has been an issue. When he was an infant we would work for a solid 2 hours to get 30 minutes of sleep out of him, only to have him wake again and we would start the process over. He barely slept. Oh, I don't mean the typical baby issues of sleeping a bit less than their counterparts. I mean he BARELY slept. I don't know how you can survive off such little sleep. I should know, I slept less because I had to get to sleep after he went to sleep.

It moved to the point he couldn't sleep without touching me. Not Daddy, not big brother, not anyone else in the family or outside the family ... me. I wore him during the day a lot, just to give my arms a break.

We finally moved to sleeping in our bed even if he wasn't touching me. I worked and worked with him, trying to teach him to sleep on his own.

We put him in his brother's room, thinking company would help.


We put him in his own room thinking he need to be alone.


We put him in our room to go to sleep and then carried him into his own bed.


We tried it all. We bought fun bed tents, sleeping bags, pillows, toys, no toys, special books, fun sheets, anything and everything to help him sleep in his bed.

His anxiety always won out.

We gave up for quite a while and just said sleep in our room. We were tired after years of trying. It wasn't getting us anywhere and I think we all just needed a break.

We worked on the anxiety and learned what caused a lot of it. We started to heal that. That was hard since it wasn't from a trauma, experience, or other situation where traditional therapies or meds could help. It was from food and that's hard to even diagnose, much less treat.

Finally we decided it was time to try again. But we knew just saying "stay in your room" would not work and we would doom ourselves to failure. We weren't sure how to proceed.

One morning we woke up to find our older son had pulled one of our camping cots out and had slept in the living room. He was just uncomfortable in his bed the night before, not sure why, and came up with this solution. It also gave me an idea for Linus.

I asked him if he wanted to sleep in the living room with big brother on camping cots. I told him we could work on getting him into his own room this way. I also offered a reward. I told him I would pay him $1/night for 7 nights if he could sleep outside of our room. He was all for it and big brother thought it was going to be a fun week of sleeping on cots in the living room. Win-win. We told him our bed was available if he needed it, but to try his best, that's all we asked.

Night one came and went ... no Linus in our bed.

Night two came and went ... no Linus in our bed.

Night three, four, and five, same outcome.

On night six I suggested maybe a bonus if he slept in his own bed. I told him $2 instead of $1 if he did this. He tried. He couldn't. I told him no biggie. He still slept in the living room so he got his $1.

Last night was night seven. He asked if the $2 deal was still offered for sleeping in his own bed. I told him it was. He said he wanted another chance. I think he just needed that extra day to really wrap his mind around this new change of bed location. I pulled the cots into the living room, but kept them folded against the wall. He could open them up if he needed to and sleep in there. He likes a safety net.

I will just say this, Both boys are sleeping and I am in the living room typing this post. Yep, he was successful and I am out $8. It's the best $8 I ever spent.

He doesn't know it, but the next offer will be different. He will get $1/night for 7 nights if he sleeps in his own room this next week. After that we will move to $1/2 nights, and then $2 for the whole week. We have used this type of reinforcement before with him. It's been successful when he's ready but still having a hard time with the transition. When things get uncomfortable, the temptation becomes strong, he has something tangible to help him move past it.

I am hoping for a good report when he wakes up in an hour or so.


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