When Nic was almost a year old we “Ferberized” him. Dr. Richard Ferber, a pediatric sleep specialist out of Children’s Hospital in Boston wrote a controversial book – “Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems”. The method is to follow a regular bedtime routine, then put the child to bed while still awake. One is advised to leave the child for increasingly longer periods until the child falls asleep on their own. Some feel it is traumatizing for the child, leaving emotional scarring. We tried a number of methods to get Nic to sleep in his own bed, but none worked. When we Ferberized him it took about ten days for him to be able to sleep on his own. Nic has had no sleep issues since.
Richard and I decided we would try this method with Emma so we dusted off our copy filled with pencil notations and charts from our time with Nic and put it’s concept to work. Emma seemed to respond well, within a few days she was falling asleep on her own. We both sighed a huge sigh of relief and shoved the book back on the bookshelf. After a few months of calm, Emma began getting up in the middle of the night again. We tried putting her back to bed and leaving. Within seconds her shrieks could be heard throughout our loft followed by the sound of her feet running over the wooden floor heading into our bedroom. Over the years we have tried a number of different methods, but nothing seems to last for more than a few months. Inevitably Emma returns to her irregular sleep patterns.
In the past year, if left to her own devices, Emma falls asleep between 9:00 and 9:30PM, waking at 5:00AM. We consider ourselves lucky when this occurs. We have had months of her falling asleep by 9:30PM only to wake at 2:00AM, unable to go back to sleep until 5:30AM. We then have to wake her at 6:30AM so she will catch her school bus on time. Meanwhile neither Richard nor I have been able to fall back asleep and are operating on about three hours of sleep. A couple days in a row of this and I, for one, am grumpy, jittery and relying heavily on increasing amounts of caffeine to get through a day at work.
Richard and I think Emma’s sleep pattern is exacerbated by the fact she still wears a diaper to bed and does not seem able to wake herself to pee in the night. We do not allow her to drink any liquids after 6:00PM, have her urinate before going to sleep and yet she still pees between 1:00AM and 2:00AM. Because she’s so big, our choice of diapers have become limited and so she pees through the diaper and into the bed every night. (Emma is toilet trained during the day.)
We have done some research and her condition appears to have a name: nocturnal enuresis, which apparently affects some 5 – 7 million children in the United States alone. Evidently a bed wetting alarm system has had the highest success rate in treating this problem.
Whether solving her bed wetting issues will also solve her sleep issues is questionable. We intend to tackle the bed wetting first and see what we can do regarding the sleep. (To be continued)
How about a little humor here? I’m all out, but if I think of something or hear something I’ll post it.