Mr. Jacob has developed a quirky habit. He screams whenever he has to go to bed or when he wakes up. Now if it was just one scream that would be okay(sort of ) but no it's screaming for anywhere from 5-75 mins. He's crying and screaming, and plopping himself on the floor, and spitting, and throwing his covers off his bed, and his books off the bookcase, coming out of his room, trying to come into my room, quite the ordeal I would say. How it started; I'm not really sure?! A few weeks ago he woke up in the middle of the night, I went to soothe him and he wouldn't let me leave, literally he clung to me and everytime I attempted to leave it was a scream. Now I have become tuned into the different cries and screams, the mad, the scared, the hurt, the whine. This is the mad scream. The "I'm mad at you, stay here with me dang it 'cause that's what I want!!" cry/scream. So that night, it was 2 hours, yes 2 hours of him screaming spitting, throwing himself off the bed, the whole ordeal. Finally he played himself out and went to sleep on his floor. So I figured out one thing that night, soothing him at this point isn't going to happen. Actually I learned a lot that night. I'm patient, more patient than I thought. I didn't get mad at him, I felt bad that he was in this state. I realized this is one time being a single parent is definately easier because if there were two of us for sure by the first hour we would be fighting about what to do to get him to stop. Instead I just kept saying "I love you, goodnight." After about the 4th time I realized this wasn't helping, everytime I made contact or got closer to him and then backed away he got more mad. So instead I just left him. I went back to bed and he eventually did too.
So my strategy for the next time it happened was to not even go to him if he cried. Sure enough the next night it happened and I didn't go to him. Within 5 minutes he was back asleep. Next night it happened again, and again I did not go to him, this time maybe 3 minutes of crying and then quiet.
So your thinking, well this isn't bad she beat this dilemma. Um, no. Then a few nights later we were camping in my parents RV and it was the 2nd night there. He started to cry, I was in a deep sleep, not thinking, yes not thinking (it's like a scary movie, your thinking don't do it!) You know it, I went to him to try and soothe him. Well an hour later of the full out tantrum I finally just turned my back to him and he went and sat on the couch silent. Then in the morning I found him back in his bed asleep.
Then we came home and every time it is nap or bedtime he has a tantrum. Sometimes its an hour sometimes its 45 minutes. I was at a loss. What do I do? Now don't get me wrong, I am secretly really happy about these tantrums. Why??? Well in my mind he wants me and that's what is causing the tantrum so this means that he has completely bonded to me.
So I tried putting him to bed and then me going to my room with the door closed. This didn't seem to help, tantrums still occurred. Finally two nights ago I thought I should try telling him what is going to happen next. Tell him what the sequence of events is going to be. Now this is a strategy that I used to use with 4 boys who had FASD and it worked so well. Then my sister in law used it with her girls for bedtime and she called me one day to tell me how well it worked. So the other night I told Jacob, it was going to be bath, snack, then bed. He said "Snuggle?" I said, sure, it will be bath, snack, snuggle then bed time. So that is what we did and everytime he asked about snack, I would repeat the sequence of events. It worked, yes there was some crying, but only 30 minutes. Then for nap yesterday I did the same thing, told him the sequence, well 15 minutes of crying. Last night again, snack, snuggle, bed. NO CRYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No, he didn't fall asleep right away but there was no tantrum! So I don't know if it was the letting him know the sequence, the extra snuggle time, or what but whatever it is it worked. I know that we will have setbacks but I think I've solved some of our nightly quirks for now.
Oh parenting is still the best job in the world, even when you have big bags under your eyes and the only thing you can utter is "coffee, coffee, coffee"