I have really been looking foward to this summer since Tylee is another year older and is on the verge of doing so many new things. Except she is scared...of everything! I couldn't wait to go to Branson and take her on water rides at White Water...but she flips out when water gets in her face and won't even lay back in the bathtub. I am so excited to take her to the fair again where she can actually ride some of the rides that she wanted to ride so bad last year...but I will bet money she will be too scared. Since becoming a parent myself, I've been envious of those parents that could take their kids to the park and just stand along the edge, watching from afar. I thought this summer was going to be it! Boy was I wrong...Tylee won't even go down the slide. Yes, the same slide she has been down 50 times in her short little life - is apparently now deathly scary.
I asked her PAT's lady about it the other day and she reminded me of a lesson we did several months ago about children and fears. Apparently Tylee wasn't quite there at the time so I ignored it but we've definitely reached that stage now. Lisa said that Tylee is right around the age where a child stops being self-absorbed and notices feelings and emotions around them. She now realizes that there are risks, a chance of being hurt, and that there is a big-bad-world out there rather than just living in the security of home and her little bubble. I can see how that would be intimidating and a little scary. Lisa mailed the the pamphlet that we went over during the lesson and it says:
"All children experience fears in the early years of their lives. When your child was about 8 or 9 months old, her strong attachment to you may have led to stranger anxiety. At that point, she recognized that not every adult would meet her needs in the way her loving parent did. Now that she is older, she may express fears as the drive for independence surfaces and she becomes aware of her strong need for the security you provide."
I couldn't find this statement more true than if I had written it myself. That is why I love the Parents-As-Teachers program. You have a question? They not only have an answer but pamphlets, books, and studies to back up their findings! The only issue these new-found fears have really caused is with Tylee's sleeping arrangements. We went from a little girl that would go crawl in bed on her own when she got tired to fighting with her every single day/night about going to sleep. Giving her a new room has been the biggest parenting mistake that we've made to date. (I guess we have been pretty successful if that is our only issue thus far!)
Every single night is a battle now. It normally starts with her asking to sleep in our bed, us saying no, her crying in her room, me comforting her, and then more crying when I leave. She normally comes in our room 2-3 times asking for something she doesn't really need such as her diaper changed, a drink, she is cold, she needs another cover, ect. She finally falls asleep no less than an hour (sometimes 2 or 3 hours!) after we put her to bed but always wakes up in the night and comes and sleeps on our floor next to our bed. If it is storming, thundering, or even windy - we acknowlege her fears and let her sleep with us or make her a pallet on the floor before bed. I am not going to leave my scared 2-year old alone to fend for herself when she is scared - but there comes a point when said 2-year old is trying to play Mom and Dad and we are not going to do that.
It doesn't bother me to wake up with her on the floor - if she wants to come in and sleep with us in the middle of the night, that is perfectly fine. But I am really struggling with the fact that she won't go to bed in her own bed and what used to be such a simple bedtime routine is now an every night fiasco.
I hope this is just a stage but I keep getting angry with myself and thinking that she needs me to comfort her and I'm leaving her laying in her room hidden under her blanket all by herself because she is scared (of nothing!!) and it is only because I am selfish and want my sleep and my bed to myself. What kind of parent does that? I believe in attatchment parenting for babies whole-heartedly and I think a lot of Tylee's independence and confidence comes from the security we've given her when she was little. If I didn't believe in letting her cry it out when she was 6 months old - why would I let her cry it out now? Easy - because she knows better now! Parenting is hard, any insight?


house-of-boys said...

Insight into your situation? No, other than to say that I think every parent battles with bedtimes! I can promise that it will get better and probably worse again. You are doing great! Don't beat yourself up. :)

It took about a week, but Bennett is doing great about staying in his bed. He has slept with me for SOOO long that it was a hard habit to break. I'm sure everything will chance once baby arrives though!

Elizabeth said...

Ugh. I dont have any advice, other than you are NOT alone. We have been having the same sleeping issues. Nora has NEVER wanted to sleep in our room and suddenly all she wants to do is kick her dad into her room and sleep in ours with me... frustrating to say the least. My bed is NOT big enough for FOUR people =0)