The Sleep Monster

Jax used to be an excellent sleeper. We’d put on his sleep sack, tuck him in his crib, sing a couple of songs, give big squeezes, and say good night. Sometimes, he would cry for a minute or two after we left the room. He was usually sound asleep by 8:00.

It was great. Steve and I would be able to to catch up on chores, watch some TV, and have a couple of hours to ourselves each night.

We kept him in his crib for as long as possible. We used an extra-large sleep sack to keep him from crawling out of the crib. (The sleep sack prevented him from lifting his leg high enough. It was awesome – I totally recommend it!)

But then, he got tall enough (and brave enough) to climb to the top rail of the crib (in his sleep sack) and jump off. It was most definitely time for a big boy bed.

We weren’t worried because Jax has a solid nighttime routine. We thought he’d do great.

We were so, so wrong.

Moving from the crib to a bed is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I’m actually not exaggerating when I say that. My patience has been tested in so many ways, I sometimes wonder if I’m cut out to be a mom after all.

The first night, we followed our regular routine and left Jax in the room to fall asleep on his own. He was quiet – success!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA – nope. He was just too busy taking every single book off of his bookshelf to make any noise. When we realized he was still awake, we tried to open the door but couldn’t because he had stacked all of the books right in front of the doorway. He was laughing his cute little head off.

We took all the books out of the room.

On the second night, he came out of his room approximately 850 times. We put him back in firmly and quietly. We eventually locked the door. He yanked on the door so hard, that the door handle came loose.

On the third night, he climbed to the top of his empty bookshelf and jumped off.

We took the bookshelf out of the room.

On the fourth night, he took all the clothes out of his dresser and used the drawers as a ladder to climb to the top. (Don’t worry, the dresser is bolted to the wall.) He hollered at us when we took him down because that’s where he wanted to sleep.

On the fifth night, he climbed the built-in shelves to the top of his closet. 

Since we couldn’t take the built-in shelves out of the room, we knew we had to start staying in the room with him until he fell asleep.

He tore the curtain down. He yelled for more water and a Kleenx. He screamed because he needed MORE BLANKETS (even though he had 8 of them on his bed). He ran around the room one million times and then finally crashed into a sweaty heap in the middle of the room.

It took him two hours to wind down.

We came up with a new strategy. We’d stay in the room with him while he fell asleep, but we would not engage him at all. If he tried to talk to us, we would look straight ahead and ignore him. (We did give hugs when he initiated those.)

That worked, sort of, but we needed another strategy. We decided to restrict him to the bed. (Yes – I am aware that we probably should have taken this step sooner.) The only way he will stay on the bed is if we physically hold him down while he screams bloody murder in our ear. After a while, he usually stops screaming, but it’s still taking him one to two hours to fall asleep.

No more chore time. No more quiet time. No more TV time. NO MORE TIME FOR MOM EVER.

Don’t even get me started on nap time…

Please, for the love of all things having to do with my sanity, tell me this gets better!

Naptime shenanigans. Don't let that innocent face fool you!
Naptime shenanigans. Don’t let that adorable innocent face fool you!

Author: Andrea M

Oh man, what an adventure! I went into labor unexpectedly when I was 23w3d pregnant. Jaxson was born weighing 1 lb 8 oz. A tiny little peanut, but boy was he feisty. He still is! We love it now, but we probably won't when he is a teenager. I write about our journey and all other things that come with it, including a brain tumor. We look forward to "meeting" you - come hang out with us...we're pretty cool.

8 thoughts on “The Sleep Monster”

  1. I am living your very same NIGHTMARE still to this very day. Oh how I feel your pain. I felt like I just wrote this post. Calvin had been doing this exact same thing for 6 months now. We had to transition him to a big boy bed cause he was climbing and flipping over the edge of his crib. Just like Jax he was an angel sleeper and we could just walk away when he slept in his crib. We have tried just about everything from essential oils to now going to the Chiropractor, which seemed to work at first but we are still struggling. Do they have rock climbing courses for toddlers, ha ha?! I kid, but kind of serious 🙂 It is COMPLETELY DRAINING and I wish I had answers or I really wish this phase would end. If you find a solution please let me know. You are not alone.

    Candace Kromer


    1. Oh boy – we are in the same boat! We finally had to resort to literally holding him down until he calmed down enough to relax. It’s terrible – he screams and cries and it’s not easy. But, it only lasts about 5 minutes and then he’s relaxed enough for us to let him go. We still have to lay with him until he falls asleep, but at least he isn’t bouncing around the room tearing things off the walls anymore! It’s a start…

      Good luck to you! Let me know if you find any solutions that work for you!


  2. Repeat after me, “It’s all a phase. It’s all a phase. It’s all a phase.” This too shall pass my dear. Consistency is key, you are doing a great job and your patience will continue to be tested FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! 🙂 He won’t be climbing to the top of his closet when he’s 18, but instead find other ways to test boundaries. You you are DEFINITELY cut out to be a mom. We had to take toys out and lock the door. The girls got it eventually. Now they are dream bedtime ladies 7/10 nights. 🙂 Love you, GOOD LUCK!!


    1. O.M.G I don’t even want to think about when he’s 18 – LOL! If he’s anything like his parents were, we will be cursing karma every day. 😉 This too shall pass…


  3. It will end. When Allison was 3 I had to lay with her every night until she fell asleep. We finally had to reward her with a prize to break that habit…you do what you got to do!


    1. Yep – we lay with him until he falls asleep, too. I don’t mind that. It’s good snuggle time. At least he’s not yelling in my ear the whole time any more! 🙂


  4. Do you think he would stay in one of those sleep tents that you can put on a single bed? I think they go on like a fitted sheet, or maybe attach to the bed frame, and zip closed….. maybe he would think it was an adventure? (Might be a longshot, but maybe?) My son still sleeps with his door open about a hands width. What finally kept him in his bed as a toddler was the knowledge that if he got out of bed, or kept calling out (since he never stopped talking – and still doesnt, lol) that i would have to shut his door. That idea drove him nuts. He wanted to hear us bumping around the house. He had a nightlight that he could take in bed with him if he needed it, his lovie, and a cd or ipod playing for music. Don’t know if any of those thoughts would help you or not, but hang in there! It really will get better eventually!


    1. Thanks for all the ideas! We’re going to try a weighted blanket and see if that helps at all. That’s interesting that your son wanted his door open! Glad you found something that worked for you guys!


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