Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Sleeping Solution

I have a love/hate relationship with my kids' pediatrician. When Casey was born, his doctor told me that he shouldn't have a pacifier, so I rolled my eyes (behind his back of course) and gave Casey one anyway and then just hid it from the doctor when we were in his office. It was particularly tricky when I needed to give Casey the pacifier to comfort him immediately after he got his shots every few months that first year. The nurse would stick him with the needle(s), he'd start screaming his head off, the nurse would walk out and I'd whip out the pacifier and pop it in Casey's mouth. Then I would have to smuggle Casey out of the office without the doctor seeing us again -- it wasn't easy -- sometimes I had to pretend I was walking and breast-feeding at the same time so that I could drape a blanket over him while we were leaving.

When Casey stopped pooping for a week when he was potty-training, I called the doctor's office on day four and said, "Casey hasn't pooped in four days, is that a problem?" The nurse said, "Don't worry about it, he'll go. Just keep sitting him on the toilet." On day seven, I called again and said, "It's been a week, I'm coming in." When I got there, the doctor told me Casey's large intestine was two times wider than it should be and that I should have come in on day four. I wasn't happy -- mainly because part of the "fix" was me giving Casey enemas three times a day for the next two days.

I attribute Casey's smart mouth to those two days.

You'd have a lifelong excuse for eye-rolling and sarcasm, too, if you'd been subjected to that regimen.

With Mace, I confess I've been a little passive aggressive with the doctor (that was a long two days for me, too). I never hid the pacifier and when the doctor would tell me what all the grave consequences were for pacifier use, I would just shrug, look him dead in the eye and smile.

When I took Mace in five months late for his three year check-up in August, I told the doctor about Mace's strange sleeping pattern -- about how Mace would wake up in the middle of the night and come into our bed and start kicking us in head. The doctor said this (word for word, I promise), "What I would do -- and you don't have to do this, but what I would do -- is put a spot for him on the floor to sleep on in your room where he can see you when he comes into the room. Before putting him to bed in his own room, tell him that if he wakes up during the night, he can come into your room and sleep in his spot on the floor, but that he cannot get into the bed with you or wake you up." The doctor then said that Mace would eventually stop coming into our room at all because the pallet on the floor was not as comfortable as just staying in his own bed. HA.

If you have now, or have ever had, a three year old, you surely see how laughable this proposition is. Get a three year old to walk into your room in the middle of the night without waking you? Get real, man! It'll never happen!

I was so excited about proving the doctor wrong. I was sure Mace would never willingly sleep on the floor by the bed and that I'd end up fighting with him in the middle of the night to sleep on the floor -- what was going to be the point of that? Then I'd be awake -- I might as well take him back to his own bed. Still, I was a little worried the doctor would be right, so I waited over a week before preparing Mace's floor pallet in our room. But this is how it went when I finally set it up:

Nights 1 and 2 -- Mace slept in his own bed all night until 5 am and then came into our room, went straight to the pallet without speaking to us or trying to get our attention and fell back asleep for an hour.

Nights 3 through 8 -- Mace slept in his own bed until sometime between 1:30 and 3:30 and then came in our room, went straight to the pallet and fell back asleep until between 5 and 5:30. When he woke up each of those mornings, he informed me (in a whisper) that he was going downstairs and then left.

Night 9 -- Mace slept in his own bed until 3:30 when he got up, walked straight past our room to the stairs; at which point, I started hollering for him and he wouldn't respond. Joe hopped out of bed and ran after him as Mace walked down the steps (with Joe calling his name the whole way) and into the kitchen where he stood until Joe caught up with him and asked him what he wanted and said "Chocolate Milk" and "Blythe's Cup." So Joe got him chocolate milk in Blythe's cup (I'm sorry Shelya, I don't think you'll ever get that cup back), carried him back upstairs to his own bed where he laid back down in a deep sleep. I'm convinced he was sleep walking.

Nights 10 through 13 -- Mace has slept in his own bed for three nights in a row without getting up until 5:30 or so, when he comes into our room and tells me (in a whisper) that he's going downstairs.

At 5 or 5:30, when Mace goes "downstairs" you do understand that he's going to find Grandma, right? Grandma says that she's already awake at that horrid hour, but she is a giving, self-sacrificing sort and she may not actually be awake when Mace appears in her room at 5 a.m. Joe told her we could fix a pallet on the floor in her room too, if she wanted, and she laughed -- but it was a weary laugh. If we're going to do that, why not just put a pallet in every room in the house and we'll make it a game every morning to see where Mace ended up.

That might not be good parenting.

So now I have to actually thank the doctor for his good advice because it does appear that he was right about the pallet.

And judging by Casey's permanent teeth, I think he may also have been right about the pacifier:

Dang Doctor.


  1. My niece had a place on the floor next to my sister's bed when she was about 3. She was 7 before she stopped using it. Diane

  2. I love being mentioned in your blog posts... makes me feel famous. I forgot about Blythe's cup, but I'm pretty sure it's pink, because every cup we have is girly (except for the orange and blue one and that's here cause she would actually miss it!) Tell Mace he can keep it.


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