When Buddy first came into our care, he would take quite awhile to get to sleep, but slept through the night. He would call out and cry and it was very difficult. He would have night terrors, flailing and calling out, but wouldn’t wake up during them or would be easily comforted with a rub of the back or belly.
Well, it was proving so difficult to get him down that my husband let him sit with him in the nice, big oversized recliner in his room and he quickly fell asleep. This seemed like an awesome idea at the time because it worked. However, now he wakes up several times during the night and wants to sit in the chair with me. While it’s comfortable, it’s not my bed, which means I’m not sleeping very much and am extremely exhausted.
Usually Spring Break is relaxing and a good time to catch up on sleep. However, my husband came home from surgery on Wednesday and Buddy had a stomach bug with bad diarrhea and vomiting. Then there was no daycare on Friday. Then, back to work on Monday.
I AM SOOOO TIRED!!!! Hubby can’t lift Buddy because he has a 15 lb. weight restriction, not to mention he’s hurting and exhausted from surgery, so we can’t switch off. Last night I decided enough was enough and after our bedtime routine, I told Buddy that he had to go to sleep in his crib like a big boy and I would sit in the chair and sing to him. He said okay, and then he screamed for me and put his arms out to be held. His blood curdling cry was too loud for him to hear my singing over. I tried to rub his back, but he just screamed. Eventually I left the room because I couldn’t take it anymore and went downstairs and ate an entire chocolate bunny dipped in a jar of peanut butter! Thirty minutes later, the screams stopped and he went to sleep.
He woke up at 9 and again at 10, but rubbing his back put him to sleep. Then at 4am, he woke up and was standing in his crib calling my name and wanting to be picked up. I tried lying him back down and rubbing his back, but he wouldn’t go for it. I tried sitting in the chair and he just screamed and screamed. I eventually just went back to my room. Forty minutes later he fell asleep.
I’ve tried giving him stuffed animals and a cuddly blanket, but he is just not attached to these objects. The way he self soothes is heartbreaking. He rubs a scar on his collar bone. It’s a burn that he got from a former foster home. They were good people who just moved into a new house with gas or wood burning stove that had a piece that got hot and they didn’t realize it. It was an accident, but it’s a sad way to soothe nonetheless.
There is no manual on what to do with two year old foster children with abandonment issues and sleep problems. So, I feel horrible letting him scream and cry like I did, but I’m not sure what else to do! So, I’m sending out a plea to everyone out there in blog world… Should I just relent and comfort him by sitting in the chair with him or should I let him cry?
UPDATE: I ended up doing a combination of things. Buddy likes Jake and the Neverland Pirates and got a couple of stuffed characters for Easter. I told him to pick one to come to bed with him and he chose Captain Hook (We’ll save his interest in villians for another post). After our bedtime routine, I put Hook in the crib with his head on the pillow, covered him with a blanket and rubbed his belly. I said, “What a good boy Hook! You’re sleeping like a big boy in the crib all by yourself!” I said to Buddy, we will sit in the chair for 10 minutes and then you have to lay down with Hook like a big boy.” He said okay. So after 10 minutes, I put him down in the crib with Hook. He started to fuss at first, but then laid down with him. He slept through the night! It worked all week too! He had some night terrors last night and his cough is getting worse for some reason, but this method has really seemed to work and I don’t feel like a horrible person for letting him cry!