September 18, 2014

Sleepless Nights


Do I need to say more? Because it's kicking my ass. Hard. In a way that I was neither prepared for or really able to navigate through. My sweet, loveable blue-eyed baby boy has turned into some sort of possessed monster. And good lord, I'm not sure how to deal with this.

The main culprit has been sleep in our household. Because of our move, Max never really got on a good schedule, and right when sleep associations were setting in, we were all over the place. This has caused some issues that we are working on dealing with (another post in the works for this one) and hopefully, within the next month, we can be on a good path.

Lucas, on the other hand, has been a mystery. Prior to moving to Germany, Lucas was, while not a PERFECT sleeper, had gotten into a good routine. Bedtime was breeze; every night at 8pm he went down without a fuss or a peep. Even after transitioning to his toddler bed, we rarely had issue with him getting out of bed prior to falling asleep, and never had issue with him getting up in the middle of the night. He would often sleep until around 7, and in my book, eleven hours of sleep was a success (he was/is also still napping 2-3 hours during the afternoon).

Cue the move. Late nights in a hotel room. Falling asleep whenever he could because of lack of routine (despite best efforts to get him on one) and a HUGE, massive change in time difference. We started off well -- having two rooms in a hotel made a big difference, because we could put him in "his" room while we were still able to stay up. But three hotels and a new home in less than two months has to be confusing for the kid, and as soon we got to our permanent living arrangements, all hell sort of broke loose. Epic battles at bed time. Massive tears. A sudden separation anxiety that still means we are sitting next to his bed at bedtime, because it's the only way he will fall asleep (an improvement from us being in bed WITH him).

Around the same time as the sleep issues surfaced, we started seeing some behavioral issues. The behavioral problems mostly stemmed from an extreme case of hyperactivity, followed by all that comes with it -- an inability to focus on one task for very long, not listening, more energy late at night than is normal for anybody. The initial thought was that maybe he had an early case of ADHD. He fit the bill, mostly, and while I know that toddlers are a handful, the things that he was doing were (and still are) above and beyond the norm for "the terrible twos." I made an appointment for his pediatrician to talk about it, but unfortunately we can't get in for a couple of weeks.

But then I did some research, and I found this article. I also talked with a friend on twitter who is dealing with some behavioral issues of her own with her son. And then it all made sense. OF COURSE his sleep issues would cause behavioral issues. That makes sense, doesn't it? When you don't get consistent GOOD sleep, you start to act a little crazy, don't you? I would imagine (and have witnessed) that it would be multiplied in a toddler.

To give you an idea of what we have been dealing with, Lucas will fight sleep until about 10 or 11 pm at night. Going to sleep on his own is no longer a thing, and he is up just about every single night in the middle of the  night. We resorted to the use of small amounts of melatonin last week, and even then, it might be a couple of hours before he finally falls asleep (and it doesn't keep him from getting up in the middle of the night). He's regularly up around 5am -- sometimes early -- and two nights ago was up at ONE AM and had no intention of going back to sleep. When he does sleep, he tosses and turns, so even when he is asleep, it's not QUALITY sleep. Some nights he only sleeps seven or eight hours, which for you & I is a good nights sleep, but for a two year old, not so much.

So our next step is -- I don't know. The pediatrician, definitely, and I'm hoping that we can get him in before October, because let me tell you -- a toddler that doesn't sleep paired with a baby that doesn't sleep, paired with a husband who is gone makes for some very, very, LONG nights in my house these days. I'm hoping that there is a simple fix to all of this, that doesn't require medicating my toddler for very long. We never wanted an ADHD diagnosis, and while I wait for the doctor appointment, i'm researching other options and ways to deal. Wearing this kid out doesn't work. I could run him ragged all day long (and I often do) and it doesn't make him sleep any better.

Any of you deal with anything like this? What were your results? Ways you coped or handled the situation? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Tsoniki said...

Oh man. :( That just sucks. I agree w/ behavior issues after little sleep, that's true that's how adults are so why wouldn't kids have the same reaction. As for the adhd, maybe it sounds backwards but try giving him some coffee. It's been years since I've done research on add/adhd, so maybe this is old school, but coffee helped the person out. Good luck, hopefully it's a phase that passes quickly.

Julie Danielle said...

I can totally relate. My oldest was a lot like that. We were in Germany too when he was about that age. We would stay at the park until 10pm at night because that was when it got dark. We would get home and he would still not want to sleep. Even after running around at the park for hours.

When he was 3 he was dx with a developmental delay but I also think he could possibly have a touch of ADHD. I am not sure though. He is now almost 10 and he is my easy kid these days. He is probably a little more hyper than other boys his age but he has never really had trouble in school and has been going to bed just fine since he was maybe 5 or 6?

I think it is really good you are going to have him seen. You never know what it could be but I really think moms know when something is up. It could just be a phase, because of the move, growing a little older or it could be something more.

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