The Great Sleep Debate

Every night we have the same argument.

“But, Mommy. I don’t want to go to sweep.”
“Why don’t you want to go to sleep?”
“I don’t like sweeping.”
“Well, sleeping is good for you and you have to sleep every day.”
“No I don’t. I’ll just go to sweep when you go to sweep.”

Even though I remind him that we do the same thing every.single.night he still argues. “But I don’t wike to sweep in my own bed. I alweady told you dat, Mommy.” It doesn’t matter to him that if he doesn’t sleep in his own bed he won’t get a sticker. It doesn’t bother him that when he refuses to even fall asleep in his own bed he (gasp!) won’t get any treats the next day.

When he, for the first time in two weeks, fell asleep in his own bed, I was psyched. Thrilled. I thought maybe, just maybe, Zach and I could have our bedroom to ourselves.

He ran into our room by midnight. He got an awesome toy the next day because he at least spent a few hours asleep in his own room and it was a start.

Every single night we go through the motions. I tell him he has to go to bed. He tells me he doesn’t. I tell him if he falls asleep in his own bed, he can have a great! huge! awesome! reward! He tells me he doesn’t want it, he’d rather just sleep in my room. I tell him that if he doesn’t sleep in his own bed he will lose treats. Or television. Or! He tells me he doesn’t mind. We went days without television. We went over a week without treats.

Nothing works.

So, I have taken to singing him to sleep some nights. This only works on the days he doesn’t nap because he’s tired enough to fall asleep. Most days? This doesn’t work. And it doesn’t really matter. Because every night that I sing him to sleep he still ends up with us by morning.

In fact, he wakes up a few hours later and runs into our room.


He jumps out of his bed and loudly stomps his way quickly into our room, carrying his pillow and a blanket, and plops his little body right on the floor next to our bed where he falls asleep within ten seconds.

Bam. Done. He sleeps next to our bed every single night. (He slept in our bed a few nights and my goodness was it awful.)

“Mommy. I wove you. I wove you so so SO much. Mommy?”
“Yes, sweetie?”
“Tankoo for wetting me sweep on your floor. I weally wike to sweep on your floor because I wove you and I wike when you are dere next to me and I can see you and I can touch you and you can talk to me.”
“Okay, sweetie. Good night. I love you.”

He sleeps so soundly. If he has a dream, he whimpers, I shush and tell him I’m there, and he falls back asleep.

Last night, with Zach out of town, he ended up in my bed. I attempted to get him to sleep in his own bed for an hour and a half. That failed. I told him he was allowed to sleep on my floor, then. That failed. He refused to sleep anywhere but right next to me. “Daddy isn’t here. There is wots of woom in da bed, Mommy! You sweep on this side and I sweep on dat side. See? Dat’s a deal!”

I told him I was going to sleep on both sides of the bed, and that he wasn’t allowed in our bed. But in the end, he was there. He was next to me, under the blankets, and wouldn’t stop talking and winning my heart back. “Mommy? I wove you. How about a hug and then a kiss. A hug first and then a kiss… another one… one more hug and one more kiss… okay, one more…” “Mommy? Are you mad at me? Don’t be mad at me…I don’t wike you mad at me ’cause den I am sad and I wike you to be happy and smile. Mommy? I wove you. Good night…Mommy? I said I wove you and good night. Say it back. And den a hug and den a kiss.”

I want him so badly to sleep in his own bed. But short of locking him in his room and causing him to have a panic attack that will lead to an asthma attack, we have tried everything.

He’s lucky he is the cutest thing in the world. He’s lucky he knows how to make my heart melt. He’s lucky he knows how to stop my anger dead in its tracks. Because over two months of this would lead to a whole lot of anger, but instead it dissipates before it can even build up. I can’t stay mad at him.


6 thoughts on “The Great Sleep Debate

  1. OMG I wouldn’t be able to be angry at such sweet and adorable things said by my kid either!! How frustrating lol

  2. Aie yie yie. So many kids have so many sleep issues that sound very much like this (each with their own story & twist, of course, but so many similarities) – it makes me wonder if the only “evolutionary right” answer is the one some of my friends have gone with – complete sleep-in methods, where the kids are there with you full time.

    We don’t accept that as the case in our house, either, and our kids sleep really well once they are asleep. But Abby often fights bedtime, including the 900 repeats of the same rituals…and *SOME* nights ends up in our bed, but if she comes in and asks to join us and it is only 1 or 2AM? I tell her no (sometimes this leads to her screaming & crying, but not usually, fortunately for us) and walk her back to her bedroom, get her in bed, start her music, get her settled, and go back to bed myself.

    Usually it’s not too bad, and sometimes she’ll join us, and we’ll let her if it is 4AM or later. I feel bad for the fight you have with this – sorry he’s not a better “sleep in his own bed all night” sleeper… I feel for you. And I definitely know we are very fortunate to have such good sleepers in our own kids.

    Good luck. I bet you’ll eventually find that “one thing” (or several) that aren’t threats or rewards or anything of the sort, but *just the right thing* for him to just be comfortable sleeping in his own bed, and happy there, too.

  3. oh MAN. I don’t know what I would do if Maggie said all that adorable stuff to me. Somehow we dodged the bullet of having a clingy sleeper (has only ever been in our bed for 20 minutes during the thunderstorm, and hasn’t wandered from her room in well over a year) BUT! I do know that with other things we’re dealing with from Maggie right now (ATTITUDE, AHOY. OMG.) the removal of treats and addition of stickers as a reward has all fallen flat. It works for like a day, and then she’s all PSSSSHT and goes ahead un-bothered, no matter what we do.

    So last night (I have a blog post coming on all of this, btw) we’ve decided, it’s a WAR. LOL We will systematically take away every single toy she owns until she has nothing left and is playing with string, or until she changes her ways. Her dress up dresses are now on the top shelf of Dan’s closet. Last night, she didn’t get to watch The Grinch. Next up? THE POLLY POCKETS. THE PRINCESS ONES. She was devastated last night (which was so hard to watch!) but I really think it might finally sink in. So… maybe give that a shot? This toddler/preschool age is SO HARD. Babies are hard too, of course, but at least they’re simple. Feed, change, burp. Age three is hell. 😛 Good luck, girl.

  4. I don’t know if it will help to hear this, but if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t fight Alexis on sleeping in her own room. Looking back, it was an AWFUL lot of time spent fighting and really didn’t make a bit of difference. She’s sleeping in her own bed most nights now, but it’s in great part because she decided she was ready to do it. I think positive reinforcement helped, but really she’s not doing it because I fought with her for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours.

  5. Regarding burghbaby’s comment – that may be the best thought… remind that they have their own bed where they can be warm, safe, comfy, etc…and encourage the use of it…but just let it happen as it will. I’ve recently thought that we fight too much with our kids about “stupid” things – mainly, things that won’t change at all regardless of the fight, so why bother with the angst on all parties, and potential lasting effects on the kids? Try to find other ways to get what you think is right, and just have a good time in the meantime.

    Who knows…parenting is full of questions and guessing and second-guessing, and not a lot of firm answers. 🙂

  6. I’m so weak..Jonathan sleeps in our room or in his room, but with me in his room too. It’s been a long battle and one I haven’t helped, but Hubby isn’t here at nights to help me so by the time we get there I am too tired to argue anymore…So I crash wit him right next to me and Hubby will crash on the couch so he doesn’t get kicked in the head by the moving child!

Comments are closed.