Monday, October 27, 2008

The next step

Tonight went better than I thought it would.

Ultimately, we locked his door. We told him that we were going to put a lock on his door and if he stayed in bed, we wouldn't lock it. But if he got up, we would simply lock the door. We took him to the store and showed him what we were buying and he watched my husband install it (it's a new doorknob with a lock and we installed it backwards - so the locking part faces out). We explained it to him several times to make sure he understood, emphasizing that it was his choice - if he chose to stay in bed, we wouldn't lock the door; if he chose to get up, the door would be locked.

I also decided to try one last thing, in addition to the lock. At bedtime, I told him that if he stayed in bed, I would come back and check on him in three minutes and give him a hug and a kiss. I didn't really think that would work, but I was willing to give it a try, in the interest of trying everything to avoid actually locking his door.

Unfortunately, I was right and it didn't work. I told him several times that if he stayed in bed I would come back and check on him, but if he got up I'd lock the door. He was out of bed before I could even get to the door - and the distance is only a few feet. So I locked it.

I was literally sick to my stomach while I was putting him to bed, worrying about what he would do if I had to lock the door. I imagined him screaming and kicking the door for hours on end, finally collapsing in a heap on the floor from total exhaustion. What happened was not nearly as bad as I'd feared. He did scream and kick his door, but not for very long - less than 10 minutes. I don't know exactly what he was doing in there, but I did hear him moving around his room, crying loudly and yelling things for a bit after that. But then, it got quiet. Not completely quiet, I could still hear him crying, but it was softly. I think he'd crawled in bed and laid there crying for about another 15 minutes. And then all was quiet.

It took me a while before I would say it out loud to my husband - "I think he's actually asleep..."

Honestly, he was asleep earlier tonight than he has been in a long time. I hope he sleeps fine all night and gets some good rest; goodness knows he needs it.

I'm relieved that it wasn't the horrific disaster I'd feared, but still pretty amazed that it had to come to this. I really, really thought that the "silent return to sleep" was going to work. Isn't that supposed to work for every kid? This has been a good reminder that there isn't any one thing that works for every kid. Some kids need to be put back in bed over and over to set that clear boundary - mine needed to be shown in no uncertain terms that he would not be seeing us again after bedtime, so there's no point in getting up.

I don't know what to expect tomorrow and the following nights. Nothing would surprise me at this point. Tomorrow might go great; we might not even have to lock the door. But I wouldn't be surprised if he threw a mega fit tomorrow, just to see if we're still serious. I have no idea. I wouldn't have predicted anything about the last month, so we'll just have to wait and see. For tonight, I'm just thankful he's getting some much needed rest and I have the slightest bit of hope that maybe we can see a faint bit of light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.


Erica said...

thank the good Lord above for a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel!!!

I bet that 10 mins will turn to 2 mins which will turn to 0 very soon.

Jessica (squawky) said...

I think that was a good solution. A while back, before she could open doors with door knob covers installed, a consequence for DD was to have a door knob cover on the inside of her door. When we went through a rough patch a few months ago, I considered putting a locking doorknob on her door like you did for D's. I'd forgotten about it until I read your blog. Anyway- YAY for a better night. I hope this the end of the worst of it. ((HUGS))

Stephanie said...

Claire -- you are doing a great job!!!!

He WILL get it:) it WILL work!!! You and DH are AMAZING parents and DS will be well rested:)