I have a three year old (in Dec) son who has always been a great sleeper. He would actually announce when it was bed time and sleep through the night. On the rare occasions when he would wake up I would comfort him and he would go right back to sleep. Within the last few weeks however when he would wake up I would go to him and he would cling to me in terror and actually try to climb out of his crib, so I began to bring him to bed with me. I co-slept with my older children so this concept is not new to me, however he has always been an independent sleeper. Once in bed he will usually fall right back to sleep. It is now to the point he is waking every night and wanting to sleep with me. I dread it because honestly I do not sleep a wink and I have epilepsy so if I am in a sleep deficit or under a ton of stress it triggers my seizures.
Now his father (not together) would get him out of bed more regularly and lay him in his bed to watch cartoons (which I do not do) and it never seemed to matter overall, Eli remained a good sleeper so I did not complain. As of last night however, when he was carrying him to bed, Eli demanded to start out sleeping in his dad's bed which he has never done. Shawn called me complaining about it so I told him we would discuss our plan of action this morning. The conversation did not go well. He understands that if I have a certain amount of seizures I have to relinquish my license, and we live an hour apart. In trying to discuss the issue with him I brought up the fact that he was more prone to getting Eli out of bed and perhaps he should lay off the middle of the night cartoons, he then said it was my fault that my neighbors must be doing something to wake him up and I was remiss in not trying to get to the bottom of it. We have never communicated well, and it ended with him threatening to take full custody bc I told him if we didn't work together to resolve the issue I would be compromising my health and the result of that would be me losing my license, therefore he would have to do the driving. (we have 50/50) I did not approach him in a confrontational way, I never do bc he is so very defensive.
So I guess this is a two part issue, I'm sitting here in tears, beyond frustrated. First of all, what do you think is going on with my son, and what is the least traumatizing route I can take to help him get back into a good healthy sleep pattern. I've considered getting him a cool toddler bed and a baby gate at his door. Sleeping in my bed is really not an option, but in my room perhaps with his bed in there. ANY suggestions would be appreciated and helpful.
Second, does my ex have a leg to stand on with his threats in regards to my health issues? I always manage to muddle through and it has never compromised my ability to care for Eli. My apartment is baby proof to the max. I do have a medical neglect charge bc his ex pediatrician filed on me bc I chose to delay vax. A very traumatic time in my life during which I received zero support from my ex, had no representatiion and was completely alone. (I have no family) He always uses that charge as a threat as well.
I feel so alone right now, like I am falling down a hole. I want to help my son, and it looks like I am going to have to figure it all out on my own.
Thank you in advance anyone who has read this and wants to offer suggestions
Do your older children still live with you? If yes, can he sleep in a room with them, but in his own toddler bed?
Otherwise, I'd say to rock him and then put him back in his crib or bed once he falls asleep. You could set up a sleeping bag for yourself in his room and stay in there while he goes back to sleep, in his crib. He's old enough that you can explain that he needs to stay in his own crib but that you will be close by. Then you can go back to your own bed when he falls asleep. That would alleviate any safety concerns with the epilepsy because he'd still be in his own crib.
I don't have any useful input on the child custody issues. Don't ask the ex to help resolve the issue on your end, because he will only use it against you.
As for your son, he is old enough to understand there can be different rules at different houses and at yours you dont do middle of the night cartoons. What about laying in his room until he falls asleep and then going to your bed? Or putting a mattress on the floor in your room? Is there someone who can watch him so you can catch a nap when you get sleep deprived? What about going to bed right when he does? Don't get too far ahead of yourself...you've already jumped to the worst case scenario which is you have your son taken away from you because you had seizures because you didn't get enough sleep. You would have to also have a really crappy judge for that to happen. Take a step back. It is easy to get very worried and anxious when you're thinking of the well being of your children but it is unlikely all those dominoes would ever fall just like that. Take a deep breath, figure out how to stay rested for the moment, and realize this is probably just a very brief and easily remedied phase your little guy is going through.
IT sounds to me like your son is probably getting scared at night and needing extra comfort and safety from you. Do you think you can sleep if he is either in his own bed in your room or even in an attached side carred crib next to your bed? I think you should try yo find a solution like that more than locking him in with a gate because that will only escalate his anxiety and make it worse. It is good that he used to be a good sleeper but every kid has issues that arise at different ages so now it sounds like he just wants the safety of sleeping near you. I have always had ds in a sidecarred crib which works well- I would not sleep well if he was snuggled right up next to me. But the crib has him near but in our own space. have you seen sidecarred cribs? or at 3 he would likely do fine in his own bed next to your bed whre at least he could hold you hand if he wanted to.