Maybe this story isn’t fair, since my son isn’t quite 2 yet, but we’ve been fighting with him nightly to stay in his toddler bed for weeks. The freedom of being able to get out of bed and come looking for us was more compelling than sleep ever could be to him. I didn’t count, but some nights he was out of his bed more than 100 times; he wouldn’t even wait for us to walk out of the room before he slid out and followed us.
My wife and I thought we found a solution when we mounted a gate in his doorway, basically locking him in his room, but still able to see and hear us. This worked well the first night, he got up and cried a few times, but was asleep within half an hour… finally, back to normal, or so we thought. We expected much the same the following evening, and thought we were right when he finally got back in his bed on his own about an hour after we first tucked him in. Sure, it took a little longer, but the right things were happening.
2:30 am. A banshee wail tore us from sleep, and I ran to my son’s room. He stood at the gate, eyes half open, but mouth gaping wide as he screamed ‘daddy daddy, mommy mommy’, interspersed with ‘blanket’. We knew what to do though, knowing that to give in now would set us back to the beginning, we got comfortable outside his room and, in our most soothing tones (as soothing as our sleep thick tongues could be) said ‘go to sleep’, ‘go to bed’, ‘daddy is right here’. Let me tell you, he is persistent. I definitely laid down at one point, and thought I could somehow sleep through the screaming and crying, but, at 15 to 5 am, we decided to open the fucking gate and tuck him in bed.
As my son, no longer screaming or crying, snuggled into bed, he turned to me and, as if the last 2 and a half hours had never happened, pointed to the floor beside his bed and said ‘lay down daddy’.
I love you son, but fuck!