Sleep: Interrupted

The last time Matthew had strep throat (just before Thanksgiving), we let him sleep with us (and I mean me) in our bed (Chris slept peacefully in the guest room) because he was sick. And pathetic. And he begged. And it was sad. Before we had kids, we swore we would never, ever let our kids sleep with us – and Brandon never had problems with this, probably because he never thought we’d let him get away with it, so he didn’t ask.

Anyway, we didn’t make a big deal out of it when Matthew was sick. Then we were going to be travelling for Thanksgiving, so we didn’t make a big deal out of it until we were back in our routine. Then he started going to bed in his own bed, but coming to our room in the middle of the night. Sometimes I didn’t even notice, and in the morning I’d wake up and there he was.

It was really starting to get old and both Matthew and I both started using it as leverage: “Matt, if you sleep in your bed all night, we’ll have a movie night” or “Mama, I’ll sleep in my bed all night if I can clean up my room tomorrow.” Matthew’s leverage was more effective, I think, because even if he didn’t sleep in his bed all night, he got a delay anyway out of the deal. But more often than not, Matthew would inevitably find his way to our room at some point during the night. And I can’t afford to get special gifts for him every time he sleeps in his own bed, which is hopefully for the rest of his life.

Recently, his night-time awakenings have taken a different turn: he’s changing his clothes before he comes up to our room: one set of PJ’s into another set of PJ’s or a Spiderman costume, you know. This would not typically bother me, knowing Matthew’s penchant for clothes, but it also shows me he’s not afraid to do stuff around the house when everyone else is asleep. This does bother me, knowing his ability to destroy and cause trouble.

I really don’t know what to do with him. I’m trying not to make a big deal out of it right now, but I’m not sleeping good lately and I think he’s contributing to that. I’m worried that he might get up during the night and get artistic – then I’d find crayon works of art on the walls the next morning. And there’s always body art, as he’s demonstrated in the past. (Body art I’m not too worried about – but I’d rather be the one choosing the wall art in the house.)

So anyway, we’ve tried bribing, which works sometimes and in the long run will cost us too much. We’ve begged. We’ve threatened. Anybody have any other suggestions that don’t involve physical restraint or electric shock? ‘Cause I’m running out of ideas, people.


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