Update on Ben and Sleep

Update on Ben and Sleep

Oh last night was a bad one again. He screamed and screamed. I could do nothing right but he wouldn’t volunteer any preferences. Just screamed NO! at anything I said. Finally I had to carry him screaming out of his room and sit in the dark in my room on the bed next to him until he finally drifted off around 10.

Then Sophie woke up screaming in the middle of the night which woke Ben up and he screamed hysterically for a long time. Until I desperately took him out the door and refused to go back into the house until he stopped screaming. I thought the shock of being outside might break through when nothing else I was doing or saying could calm him. He did stop screaming and then fell asleep in my arms in the recliner. I had to wait till he reached deep sleep before moving him. I’ve made the mistake of moving him too soon before.

I’m starting to think we might need to go back to the pediatrician to make sure the antibiotics really kicked the ear infection.

Tomorrow we’ll get out the toddler bed from the shed and see if having a new special bed doesn’t help a bit too. I’m thinking maybe new crib sheets too with cars and trucks…. if I can find any that aren’t super expensive. Target and Amazon are both pricey.


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  • Oh, Melanie. Thank you for this. I don’t have these kinds of struggles with my children often, but I had one today with Sienna, and felt horrible afterward. Rightly so. I treated her so badly. I needed to read this tonight. I’ll add you and Ben to our prayers. Poor little guy.

  • “for now there is sleep to knit up the ravelled sleeve of care.”  Wow.  Beautifully said, but heart wrenching.  Praying for you and sweet Ben that your chasm closes soon.

  • How painful for you and Ben!  While I was pondering your situation it occurred to me that in someways it has similarities to a struggle that we had with my older son over dinner.  He was a very picky eater, and it got to the point that every dinner would degenerate to a wailing toddler and two frustrated parents going head to head with him.  I hated the way were all responding to the situation, but I also felt that it was important for my son’s well being that he learn to eat healthily.  The turning point for me was when I realized that having a fit at the dinner table was becoming an evening ritual.  It was almost a part of the meal itself.  My son would kick up a fuss about eating some one element of the current dinner (on which he might eat very nicely at another time) and we would then enter a power struggle/fit over whether or not he was going to eat it.  My husband and I talked about how we could disengage emotionally from the situation so that our son wouldn’t feed off our emotions, and we figured out how to interact with him to stop the bad behavior (which in our case involved disciplining him by sending him to bed early, among other things).  It was very painful, and it took a long time (like about a year) to work it out, and he still occassionally has rough nights.  But he went from having a fit every night to being slightly hard to deal with once every two weeks or so. 

    Every parent is different, every kid is different.  My situation might not resonate with you at all, and what worked for us might not apply in any way to your situation.  At the same time, it may be the unhappiness and the not being satisfied with any of your bedtime helps might be part of Ben’s evening ritual at this point.  You have been very patient with him and loving, and I think that is beautiful.  And it’s possible that he will just get over it with enough of your love and attention.  But if you feel that the situation is having a bad impact on the rest of your family and you, I think that another loving response might be to find ways to (for lack of a better word) discipline him out of it. 

    I actually am submitting this comment with extreme trepidation, because unsolicited advice can be annoying and distressing.  The reason that I’m going to post a reply anyway is that it seems like you are really working hard to make this situation better and that it is getting you down and making you underestimate your parenting.  From what you write about your faith and your family on this blog, I admire what you’re doing and am sorry to see you struggle!

  • Melanie, you and your little Ben are in my prayers. I am where you are right now-nothing I do with Philomena is right, and it’s so shattering. Hugs and prayers and lots of solidarity.

  • Calah, I’m sure Christopher being away has made it extra hard on all of you especially the kids. Praying for you guys. And thank you for your prayers. Us moms gotta stick together.

    Dwija, Yeah cribbing from Shakespeare is always effective. wink  Thank you for the prayers.


    I’ve pretty much been thinking along the same lines: that the battle of wills has become a part of the routine. Unfortunately I can think of no disciplinary measures that don’t just keep engaging the battle. We’re going to try a new bed and see if that doesn’t change things up enough to disengage the battle.

    Thanks Katherine and Lydia. Lydia, I was thinking of you when I wrote my post this morning. Yes, sometimes just one kid can be overwhelming. Prayers for you and Philomena.

  • Good luck with the new bed!  I hope it helps break the cycle for you guys.  Re: discipline that would break the battle engagement, I’ve found that with my kids moving the child that needs to calm down to a safe place that is away from distractions (like a play yard in a separate by nearby room) can help.  You’ve probably already tried this, but since you didn’t mention in other posts I thought I’d throw it out there.  We’ll be praying for you, too!

  • The only real possibility like that is the play yard in the other room where Ben often naps. It has the benefit of familiarity but the downside is it already has been a place of showdowns and so doesn’t really avoid the escalation. It wouldn’t calm him down to be put there. Instead I’m pretty sure it would amp up the tension and his being put there screaming would make things worse not better. So I think I’m still staking my hopes on the new bed.