Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Scared

This is Bryce's most commonly uttered phrase these days. It's "I scared!" at everything it seems. It's "I scared" when I put him in timeout in the middle of the day on the steps. It's "I scared" when I climb the steps faster than him. It's "I scared" when we put him to bed at night. And often, that "I scared" is combined with a whiney cry.

Now, I do believe that there are times when Bryce actually is scared. I remember him uttering that phrase to me when we were going through intake at the ER when he broke his arm. I also believed him last night at bedtime when he'd yell out, "I SCARED!" and run CRYING down the hall as fast as his two feet can carry him. And I believed him some of the times he YELLED it out last night in the middle of the night from his bed. BUT, I think it's now become something he thinks he can say and get a response from his parents.

Last night, was tough. We've been working to make bedtime easier with him since he is so demanding, loud, and whiney at bedtime. So far, not much has worked but then last week I read something about the importance of a child knowing you'll come back. So at bedtime, we tell Bryce that we'll come back and check on him a few times and miraculously, it helped. It wasn't 100% successful in stopping him from calling out for things, but it really seemed to take things down a notch. But last night was weird. He would call out for us and before we could barely answer (or ignore) him, he'd be YELLING "I scared!" and crying out in fear. (Now here is where I have my suspicions about a certain blonde almost 5 year old's hand in this....) We would go up and he would be so upset - HUGE tears rolling down his face and truly scared about something. We'd ask him what he was scared of and he'd tell us something about a monster or something and then we'd assure him that there are no such things as monsters and even if there were, he was safe in his house. We also talk about all the funny monsters out there (Elmo, Grover, Cookie) and then about how his shark, Max likes to eat monsters, so Max would eat them up if he saw one. Each time, he'd be okay when we left (after adjusting his blanket perfectly so he had the tag right where HE wanted it....ugh!). Then a few minutes later, a replay.

After almost an hour, we had to get more firm and make it known to him how he NEEDED to go to sleep. We also made sure Caroline knew she was NOT to get out of bed since we suspected that she may have been going in and making faces at him. (Bryce is a bit sensitive and somehow Caroline's faces will scare him.) Finally...sleep.

But, then he was up about 5 more times in the night - 4 more times than his baby sister. At this point, I'm thinking that his cold may have been actually waking him up at which point he was scared alone in his room. He has a fairly bright night light but clearly at midnight, it's DARK otherwise, so I can understand the fear.

I've gotten some advice from other parents about using "monster spray" or giving him a "monster light" to help him feel more secure and in control, but I'm worried that those items, while they will make him feel better, may keep him up longer playing.

As for Caroline, yes, she's my bedtime creeper. Once we put her in bed, we never know what she'll do. Some nights, she goes right to sleep while others, she gets into strange things. One night in particular, I went up and found her with her light on. I turned out the light and told her to go to sleep and she asks me, "Mommy, why was there hair in daddy's baby book?" Apparently she'd gone into our room and dug through Jason's bedside table finding his baby book and saw the remnants from his first haircut. Is nothing sacred??? Ha! And she's gotten better at being quiet about her creeping so we don't always hear what she's up to.

Let's hope Halloween doesn't give Bryce too much more fodder for his night time fears and that I can keep Caroline in her bed to stop taunting Bryce. I know she has a real fear of a lot of Halloween masks so I know for sure she wouldn't want someone scaring her!


Lisa :) said...

Poor Bryce. Or shall I say poor you and Jason. That is a real chore trying to get small ones down to bed and keep them there. I seem to recall having this problem with our youngest. When I mentioned something to our Dr., he suggested that instead of a nightlight (which can produce large shadows on the walls, etc) to get a low wattage light buld and use it in their light at night. This will help with the shadows. Just a suggestion and of course as you know, this may not be the answer to your problems and you know Bryce and what will help him. My youngest is 14 and she still will sleep with a tv on or she will plug in a small night light.

Amanda said...

I have been dealing with Hannah and the bedtime issue for a long time. It finally clicked and now she is staying in her bed.

Gracie says it cary me(it scary me). I love Gracie talk.