"I don't want to sleep in here."

Well, it's happened. Millions of families have gone through this, and I thought we'd be immune. No matter how hard you try to keep a safe, healthy environment for your children, you can't control everything.

We've got monsters. My "fearless" little boy is afraid of the dark.

He's been getting increasingly timid for awhile now. Maybe too many games of hide and seek that involve us jumping out and growling at Jayden which always resulted in screams and laughter. Maybe cartoons with wierd creatures that helped develop his imagination. Maybe just a right of passage that would have been inevitable anyway.

It started out with the occasional difficulties getting Jayden to bed. He's always been very good at bedtime, so we did what it took to get him to sleep in his bed and hoped it was just a phase. We would sometime get a knock at his door in the middle of the night, we'd open it we'd find Jayden clutching his pillow with tears running down his face telling us "I don't want to sleep in here." It was heartbreaking and we'd always take him into our room until he fell back asleep.

Josh and I are tired. With a teething 6 month old that wakes up every TWO TO THREE hours, and a toddler that won't go to bed and knows to wake up only on the nights that Josh and I most desperate for sleep, we're tired.
Gavin's nightly ritual is baby orajel on his gums (against doctors orders), and cereal and Gripe Water in his bottle right before bed at around 7:30pm. We then proceed to go in his room 2-3 times within the next hour to settle him back down. He is tired, and he is ready for bed, but he fights sleep so bad that he wakes up crying a few times before he finally conks out. Then it's Jayden's turn.

Now our nightly ritual has gone from reading a few books, rubbing Jayden's back and leaving his room to a good half hour or more of talking him into staying in his room and waiting until he falls asleep, with the occasional "I don't like this room" muttered while his eyes are closed.

Now, not only am I sad for him. I don't want him to be scared. I don't like not being in control, and this is a situation I don't have much control over. But, I'm also sad because we've worked so hard on this house, I don't like hearing him say he "doesn't like it" for any reason. I've been scared of the dark most of my life, mostly while I was young because I walked in my sleep and would wake up out of my bed so often. My fears have mostly moved from the childhood fears of the dark: monsters and ghosts and things you can't see; to adult fears of unlocked doors, fires, and strangers. They're still there even if they're in a different form, I feel like I can still relate.

I've decided to take a different approach. Apparently telling him that monsters aren't real isn't working, so I think I'll just have to work with the situation. A popular method is "Monster Spray." So this morning we went down to Walgreens and picked some up. I went with some air freshner that has a picture of a window on it, since he has a window ghost. Not all that creative, but he insisted on going with me to the store so my choices were limited. We also picked up a ghost light from the Halloween section that the assistant manager (and fellow Remax Realtor) told me his granddaughter uses against monsters. We came home and sprayed down Jayden's room, and then the rest of the house for good measure. And we put his anti monster light next to his bed.

So here's hoping! This is another blog that's mostly meant as a reference point, so when Gavin goes through all of this I can look back and remember everything that I'm sure to black out at some point.

If any of you parents that have gone through this has any pointers, I'd love to hear them. I don't care how ridiculous they might be, I'll try anything. For now, wish us luck on the Monster Spray, if anything, we'll have a very nice smelling house!

6 Response to ""I don't want to sleep in here.""

  1. The Arnold Family Says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.
  2. Meghan Says:

    Aw, poor guy!
    I wish I had pointers, but my fear of the dark was short-lived and didn't come until I was much older... like, 7. And it was because I watched Unsolved Mysteries about ghosts with my brothers. :( So I just had to work through it.

    Your idea sounds verrry creative and I'm sure it will work!

  3. Shelene Says:

    Christopher has brought up monsters several times, and it has helped to walk him through the house so he can take a 'once over' look for himself that everything is okay, and he likes to watch me lock the front and back door, and our windows are always closed at night (allergies), and that seems to have cured it for us. I'll keep the spray and light in mind though for future reference if it comes up again. Good luck!

  4. Aunt Jenny Says:

    So sorry to hear about your latest struggles with monsters and no sleep. Wish I had some suggestions to help you. I really like the 'monster spray' idea. I think trying to 'fight back' as such could really help him feel less powerless over the situation. Just a few more weeks and you two will be able to enjoy 3 nights of completely uninterrupted sleep in a beautiful climate. Hang in there!

  5. The Arnold Family Says:

    So?

  6. Chelsea Says:

    Things are getting better. It seems best to fight fear with courage, so this is the route we are taking. Thanks for all of the pointers, I'll update more later!