Benjamin is not a good sleeper. He is almost 2.5 years old, and I really can’t remember a time that he ever slept really well. When he was in the NICU, he was on a strict 3 hour feeding schedule, and when we brought him home, boy did he stick to that. It was months before we got a single stretch of 4 hours between feedings at night.
Fast forward to now, and I think some nights he is even worse than a newborn. He generally gets up a few times a night over a 12 hr. stretch, but if he is sick, teething, having an asthma episode or a bloody nose, he might be up every hour. He just feels miserable and wants his mommy and daddy.
He has a bunny clock, and is supposed to stay in bed until his bunny gets up in the morning. Frankly, he doesn’t give a damn what the bunny is doing. He will get out of bed regardless.
His last two-year molar finally broke through in December, and he’s back on his preventative medicine to help control his asthma. His nose still bleeds a lot, even with a humidifier in his room. At any rate, it was finally time to take action.
I made him a weighted blanket, identical in design to the one I made for Luke. While it worked miracles for Luke’s sleeping, it didn’t do as much for Ben. He loves his weighted blanket and takes really good naps with it, but it doesn’t seem to do much for his nighttime sleeping, other than increase his nose bleeds when he overheats.
He wanted a black blanket with Mater & Lightning, but was also enthusiastic about Spiderman and Batman. Actually, he was enthusiastic about every bolt of material I proffered him at the fabric store, but that’s what we ended up with.
He loves the flannel side, and sticks it under his chin sometimes.
But he still gets out of bed at night.
After we had another few rounds of sickness, I decided to try the pass system that one of my friends had mentioned ages ago. You give your kid a few passes at night, and he gets to use them to get out of bed. He gets lots of praise for using his passes at night. If he still has his passes in the morning, he can redeem them for something.
Benjamin was really into the idea of giving passes to Dad at night. I was going to get some cute wooden shapes at the store for him to use at passes, but instead I just cut out a few strips of foam that we had lying around, and stuck on some more blobs of foam. I told him that they were jelly beans, and he could turn in each pass for 1 jelly bean in the morning. Three jelly beans up for grabs.
He was totally on board, lame passes and all.
The first week, he didn’t get any jelly beans, or earned only one jelly bean.
However, the second week (this week), he has been earning one to two jelly beans. Considering that this means he is getting up once at bedtime and possibly once or not at all during the night, I am thrilled.
We will see if he can make it to three jelly beans. I doubt it…he gets so excited to leave his room at bedtime and give us a pass.
Overall, I am quite happy with the jelly bean passes. Hopefully he can get into a good routine of sleep before the next round of sickness hits him and he is up nonstop at night.
Perhaps it will help. If not, we’ve tried pretty much everything in the book, so I’ll just have to come to terms with the fact that one child likes to visit…a lot…at night.