Jenny Hintze

"We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams." – Willy Wonka

Mikey and sleep, part 5….the final chapter? July 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jhintze @ 8:22 pm
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I realized that I haven’t posted a recent update to the Mikey sleep situation. The child who used to tantrum and throw toys for an hour and a half is now going to sleep willingly in his bed with no screaming and no baby gate! I can hardly believe it myself. He has been doing really great since my last post about the sleeping thing. We tried lots of different things before we found a combination that finally worked for him.

Here’s what we had to end up doing:

– Cut out his nap completely. This is pretty hard. He hits a wall around 3:00 and it’s very hard to keep him awake. And it’s really hard to be with him all day without a nap. If you have a two year old, you know what I’m talking about. His nap used to mean break time for me. But I had to let it go.

– Removed all the toys from his room. We put about 20 various plastic weapons in the attic. And we moved their toy bins into my office. We moved everything else that had to stay in the room out of his reach. Maybe someday the toys will be able to go back but for now, this is how it has to be.

– Got rid of the baby gate. Mikey hates being gated in his room. It really sets him on edge and just royally ticks him off. Instead, now we gate the hallway and I sit on the floor in the hall outside his room. He knows I’m there and it gives him comfort. After 10 or 15 minutes, sometimes more, I get on with my life. A few nights ago I had to sit in the hall for quite a while and I was able to think of a nice, long honey-do list.

And that’s it. The transformation is absolutely amazing. We used to dread bedtime. Instead of it being a calming time for everybody, it was just horrible. Mikey would scream until he physically could not scream anymore. And Phillip and I both felt totally hopeless. By the time Mikey finally fell asleep it was late and we were too drained to even spend any time together. We tried a lot of things that didn’t work. We considered advice from trusted friends and tried different things. Finally, at least for now, Mikey is going to sleep willingly and calmly and happy. And tonight, for the first time, both boys fell asleep in the same room at the same time.

Mikey’s Occupational Therapist helped us realize that we needed to set a goal for him. Our goal was for him to go to sleep in his bed without throwing fits and with no gate. I think we have reached our goal. I think if my son can make this kind of transformation, any kid can. But you may have to be willing to make some changes that you’d rather not make.


Mikey and sleep, part 4 July 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jhintze @ 9:24 pm
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I think things are getting better. Maybe a little. We’re not letting Mikey nap anymore. I put him to bed at 7:00 tonight. I told him we would try it without the gate. I sat outside his door and didn’t look at or speak to him unless I felt like I really needed to. After 1 dirty diaper and about half an hour I really thought he was out. And I thought he fell asleep in his bed. So I left my spot in the hallway. He found me and had another dirty diaper. After I changed that diaper, I found my spot again in the hall for another hour. Every few minutes I scooted farther away from his doorway. By the time he finally fell asleep, I was sitting on the floor in my office at the end of the hall. And he fell asleep in his doorway on the floor. I’m not about to move him. But I did risk taking a couple of pictures. I listened to They Might Be Giants Here Come the 1-2-3s 3 times, had 3 cups of coffee, and had to sneak to the bathroom twice.

I think it’s really funny that he just had to fall asleep with one of his body parts over the threshold, which is his boundary. He’s such a stinker. BTW, that bruise on his arm is from diving over the gate like a superhero last night.



Mikey and sleep, part 3 July 20, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jhintze @ 11:49 pm
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Tonight has been quite an adventure. Let’s see if I can sort of explain the time line for you. Let me just tell you that right now as I begin to type this it’s 10:40 and Mikey is playing with blocks in my office. Mikey had an hour and half nap today at my mom’s house. He can’t nap anymore. That’s just all there is to it.

7:30 – We put Mikey in his room with the tall baby gate firmly in place, told him goodnight, and turned his music on. He screamed for a few minutes but then he climbed over the gate. We put him back in and he climbed over the gate again and this time he hurt himself on the way down. We told him we would try to get rid of the gate.

For the next thirty minutes I sang and danced with him to his music. He had to stay in his room on his side of the threshold. I kept moving farther away from him until I was in my office at the end of the hall. Still singing and dancing. He stayed in his room during all that and thought it was pretty cool. I felt like a schmuck. Then I told him that I had to do some work on my computer and that he needed to stay in his room and go to sleep. He kept stepping through the doorway. So we put the gate back up. This time we put two gates firmly in place one on top of the other so they covered almost the entire doorway. We thought this would probably work. But then he decided to climb them both. We took the gates down before he killed himself. Needless to say, the gates are utterly pointless with him.

By this time it was probably 9:00….I don’t even know. He started to settle down and we thought he was going on to sleep. About 9:30 ish I thought he was out and went into the living room with Phillip. About 9:50 he started talking and playing again. I went in and laid him back down and turned his music back on. He laid there long enough to convince me that he was going to sleep. I went back into the living room. We heard very faint sounds and thought he was playing with toys in his room. Fine, whatever. As it turns out he had actually crept down the hall and was playing with blocks in the office. When I found him in there he was on the internet. There was a nice arrangement of precisely placed blocks on the floor.

Now it’s almost 11:00 and he’s surfing the web again. I think he’s trying to find a new hairstyle on google images. I think his current hairstyle is just fine.

I just took his pull-up off because it’s wet. While I went to get him another one he climbed his nekkid (I like spelling it like that, thank you) butt onto the table in my office and stood up. I don’t know what his next move would have been but mostly likely it would have involved jumping and/or throwing. Just a hunch.

I don’t know what to do. I know I’m supposed to be consistent and all that stuff but we can’t physically keep him in his room. We can’t spank him into submission. It will not work. We could spank him 50 times and it will not work. We’ve tried it, trust me. Yelling doesn’t do anything but scare him and stress all of us out even more. The last time I got into a screaming match with him I punched the wall and stormed out of the house with no shoes and drove to a remote location and took a 30 minute nap in the truck. Nice, huh? Keep in mind that he is 2 years old. So basically after three hours of doing everything we know to do, he’s now walking around a portion of the house with a baseball cap on playing and having a grand old time. Phillip has gone to bed. But don’t think poorly of him. I told him he should go on to bed. There’s no point both of us being played.

I know that many of you have your opinions and suggestions of things that we should be doing and are not doing right. I would too if I were looking at it from the outside. But being in the middle of it, I’m just at a loss. Right now he is just as wired and playful as he was when we put him to bed at 7:30. I just put the stupid gate back up and turned his music on again. There’s no reason it will work this time.

He is fantastic as doing the funniest things right at the moment when we’re trying to be stern with him. We know laughing certainly doesn’t help our cause but we just can’t control it sometimes. And I know I should be ready to beat the tar out of him right about now but the truth is I’m grinning from ear to ear as I type this stuff. And some may say that’s the problem. We’re not hard enough on him. He’s spoiled. We’re too amused by him. I understand where you might get that. Oh but you haven’t walked in our shoes.

I write a lot about the crazy and difficult things that Mikey does pretty often. And that may give some of you the impression that’s all there is to him. And some of you may read this stuff and think that you could never handle having a kid like this. Before he came to us I would have said the same thing. And yet, here we are. I am the mom of a child I couldn’t have dreamed up in my wildest imagination. We asked for God to bless us with another child. And it is such an honor to have been given this most courageous, strong, cunning, tenacious, beautiful boy. I will truly never get over him.

I think he might be asleep now. It’s 11:45.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11