Our Wisdom Wednesday blogger, Sarah Bernhardson put out a cry for help on Facebook recently. Her preschool-aged son, previously a great sleeper, was now giving her a run for her money at bedtime and it was wreaking havoc on her household. I could totally relate as we experienced the same type of thing with Max a few years ago and it lasted 6 months. 6 whole months of taking over an hour to get to bed at night, then waking up in the middle of the night, then waking up for the day at 5:00 a.m. (sometimes even during the 4:00 a.m. hour). It was awful. It was heartbreaking and it nearly set me over the edge. Before that, he had been an early riser but at least he went to bed easily at night and slept all the way through.
It got me thinking about those times in parenthood when kids throw a wrench in things. When you’re feeling confident that you’ve mastered something like bedtime or healthy eating, then one day POOF! everything changes. Like when you are used to sleeping through the night, and your kids start waking up. Like when you are used to your children waking up at a certain time, then they start waking up an hour earlier and want to crawl in to your bed every.single.morning. OR, when your kids finally start sleeping past 6:00 a.m. for the first time ever, and you realize that you now have to change the morning routine that has been running smoothly for the past 3 years because you now wake up a half hour later. It’s a strange problem to have…something you’ve wished for is finally here and you realize it’s not all you thought it would be.
We are also dealing with some new fears in Max that we’ve never seen before and I’m not sure what to do. For instance, he’s recently become afraid of bugs. Until a few months ago, Max was fearless…sometimes to a fault. We used to joke that he’d go with anyone he saw, one time walking up to a complete stranger at a store and giving him a hug. We were totally convinced when he started preschool (which meant a larger climbing structure) that he’d walk right off the open edge because he had no fear combined with a depth perception vision issue. But now, all of a sudden, when a bug crosses his path, it’s a full blown melt down. It’s mostly flying bugs so I suspect it has something to do with the buzzing sound, but still, I have no idea how to help him and because it’s something we’ve never had to deal with, I find myself getting frustrated. In fact, yesterday at the playground, the cicadas were buzzing the far off trees, and he walked around with his hands over his ears (something I plan to discuss with his pediatrician). It was sad that his playtime was interrupted by this new fear.
He’s also become more fearful in the water. Swimming is always something he’s loved. Last year on vacation, he spent hours independently jumping off the dock into the water at a pond. This year, there is no jumping off a side of the pool or raft in the water. At a vacation this winter in the Bahamas he was jumping over and playing in waves that were pretty big even for an adult, and this weekend at the CT shoreline with hardly any waves he was very hesitant.
I have no idea what to do with these new fears. After almost 5 years of parenthood you’d think I’d learn to roll with these things and just switch gears not problem. When newer moms talk about how their babies aren’t sleeping as well I know it’s developmental. They are probably just getting ready to crawl, walk, talk, I always tell them. But with older children, I’m not so confident. I’d love any advice you have on dealing with changes in routine or new fears in older children preferably in time for our vacation in a few weeks where there will be lots of waves, and likely lots of bugs.