The Dark Circles Under the Eyes? Try and Contain Your Jealousy

Just when we finally got Sage sleeping through the night (all praise the great God Weissbluth) Thalia is right back to not sleeping through the night. At least in any sort of way that would allow the rest of us some sleep too.

It wouldn’t be so bad that she ends up in our bed every night – or starts there, goes back to her bed, then toddles back at midnight or so – if she wasn’t so inclined to sleep on the diagonal.

When I try to get her into her own bed at night, I’m presented with excuses from “I don’t like the clock on the wall” to “I don’t like my bed.” And then last night: “My animals are not friendly anymore.”

Maybe because she kicks them in the head all night too.

I offered to move the animals out of her room. “But, but…” she stammered, blindsided by the suggestion, “I don’t like my bed. I need to sleep in your bed.”

And so she does. With visions of Nanny 911 dancing my head.


Sleep-deprived and posting at 5:57 AM


52 thoughts on “The Dark Circles Under the Eyes? Try and Contain Your Jealousy”

  1. Oh, sleep. Does it ever get easier? Only temporarily, it seems. My daughter’s new trick is to wake up screaming at 5AM. She used to wake up happy at 6. Not sure what changed, but I’m not a fan.I had to laugh, because I sometimes have visions of SuperNanny, as well.My guess with Thalia is that she’s probably testing boundaries. I would be willing to bet that if you commit to being a 100% hard-ass about staying in her bed and all of that, she’d figure it out within a week. The hard-ass part sucks, but it seems effective, and relatively quick.I do like the supernanny technique with the verbal kids (i.e. not infants). The first time she comes out, you bring her back into her room with a “Thalia, sweetheart, it’s bedtime, time to go to bed.” Second time, a more stern “It’s bedtime.” Third time and after, no talking, no engaging, just return to bed.Anyways, just a big good luck. I hate the sleep stuff!

  2. After trying many many methods, I gave up and let whoever wanted to be in our bed to come. It was easier that way. I just went to their bed. And actually had a few great nights’ sleep there. Then bragged about it – “dude, your bed is soo coool and comfy and your dad doesn’t scare me with his snoring! I decided not to sell it, it will be mine from now on, sleep wherever you want” (the “selling the bed” was the threat technique and it didn’t work). My first son (who was then 5ish) slept in our bed for about three weeks, then went back to his own bed. My younger son (who went thru the “i want to be in your bed” phase when he was 4) lasted for two months! the deal was, he would go to sleep in his own bed, and if he wanted to, he could bring his pillow and water to our bed during the night and I would move to his bed. Believe me, they will stop at one point. The decision to make is whether to pick this issue as a battle if it really bugs you, or just go with the flow. ps.: take naps.

  3. If you do call Jo, can I come too? I LOVE that show!! I’ll pretend to be your housekeeper or something. K? I love it when she watches the video of the poor family and says, “I’m on my way.”Hope you get some sleep or some good concealer soon. You’re too cute to be sporting bags, honey.xo

  4. Thalia is 4-ish, right? We went through a phase like that. (A phase? Actually, it lasted about two years.) For us, it simply didn’t work to let all comers into our bed. I can’t sleep that way. We tried lots of things: Indulging every possible 3-year-old idea of luxury in bed: a princess lamp and butterfly nightlights and a dream catcher and Hello Kitty sheets and a pillow and and and. When she’s really scared or lonely, we allowed her to turn on the light and look at books. And, finally, we did a sticker chart. Mostly, what worked is that she got a little older.Here’s what not to do: Let the whole situation escalate to shouting and harsh discipline measures in the middle of the night. Yes, you will hate yourself in the morning.

  5. Start a paper circle chain.Tape one chain to the ceiling above her bed.Every night when she sleeps through the night in her own bed, add another paper link to the chain.When the chain reaches her bed, she gets a little “surprise”. I don’t know…another animal to kick.Some kids fall for this trick; other don’t.Otherwise, it sounds like the old heightened awareness of mortality phase. Any books with monsters (or mobsters) or talk of dead squirrels lately? Or maybe its the more vivid dreams stage, perhaps. Something is telling her to stay close to the larger humans for protection of some sort. Not sure how to work it through or address her concerns, but I always like to give the fear/emotion some sort of validation (in the light of day) without giving the reason for the fear any validation along with cuddling her back into her own bed.Or maybe a sleeping bag or cot at the foot of your bed will work for a while as she struggles through this stage?Good luck. I still occasionally go through this at age 41.

  6. My son is almost 5, and still doesn’t realize he’s allowed to leave his bed without permission. My daughter, on the other hand (almost 3) hasn’t been as easy. <> At the moment<>, she’s sleeping all night. But with her, you never know when she’s going to start waking up and demanding that she doesn’t have the right book in her bed.Try a baby gate. (Of course, our daughter learned to scale that pretty quick and we had to resort to locking her in, but she’s sleeping great now!)

  7. The facilitator of the toddler group we go to says that you should have a nighttime “saying” and use that each time you want them to go back to bed. She says eventually you’ll be able to call from the other room using that saying to comfort them back to sleep. She also says to gate their door.I haven’t tested these yet though, because thankfully mine still sleeps in a crib. But, today he had one leg on the top rail…my days are numbered!:-(

  8. I have no advice. Dawson has been sleeping in our bed since he was 22 months old. I’m weak. I don’t want to force him to sleep in his own bed, because he might resent it. Yes. I’m weak.

  9. Been there. Have you tried making her a “nest” right next to your bed? If she gets up in the middle of the night she can sleep there, you can even hold her hand while she is on the floor. Though I like the advice to be a hard ass. Sort of like pulling the band-aid off all at once. But I am a wuss.

  10. You do not want advice from us– the couple that used to laugh at my sister’s ‘family bed’ theory. Last night, Jamie slept perched on 6 inches of mattress while BOTH children stretched across our king-sized bed. I finally went and slept on the floor in the nursery. Once the tots get in the big bed, it is very, very hard to get them out. Please let me know if you get any tips that work…

  11. Um. Are you living my parallel life? Same thing happened here. I am in total agreement with the Super Nanny technique to just keep on bringing her back. (I am CONSTANTLY asking myself: What WOULD Super Nanny do?… or W.W.S.N.D.?) I’ve seen it work for lots of my friends. My guy goes through phases of coming to our bed and if I bring him back, he will stay. But the trick is for me to actually wake up enough to get my @ss in gear and bring him back! Lord knows my DH ain’t gonna do it (loud rumbling snore to my right). Otherwise, like you, I sleep with my son’s foot perpetually stuck up my nose.Anyway, I hear all the same excuses:– This is not a good bed for me– Cookie Monster doesn’t keep my bad dreams away– My tummy says it needs your bed– Its too long to six zero zero.– I’m too tired to sleep in my own bed.Huh?I am feeling ya, girl.

  12. We are going through the same thing with our 3 year old. Last night I hit the boiling point – I get up for work at 3 am and cannot be up all night with a toddler in my bed…so I took him out in the front room and rocked him and started to ask questions about why he likes our bed and not his…so, as a result today we did the following:1. Removed the toddler bed and replaced sith a twin mattress on the floor – not sure if the “upgrade option” is available to you!2. Let Anderson choose all new sheets for his new bed. In the past the zebras on his sheets made too much noice for him to sleep, and even when we “banned” the noisy zebras to the closet, they made too much noice. He decided on race cars. My hubby, fast thinking also bought a little dollar store garage – and tonight, all noisy race cars are going into the garage for the night !!!!!!3. We got a family photo and put it in a plastic frame with no glass and he hung it by his bed. If he wants he can sleep with it…this was Anderson’s idea!4. I bought a huge roll of duct tape…and may resort to using it!!!!It is so tiring and frustrating…good luck!When my eldest was sure there were monsters and would not sleep in his bed we bought him a flashlight that was shaped like a lion and roared…then for weeks, every so often at godforsaken hours that lion would roar and we would hear ” go away monders, I have a lion!” It worked and by God it was cute!!!GOOD LUCK!

  13. Just to be clear, I’ll back you up on any plans to get her back to her own bed, any half-way plans of sleeping on the floor in your room or allowing her to pick two nights a week to sleep in your room, or an all out co-sleeping-without-guilt (even if without sleep) plan.Whatever works and what you want to do or whatever you want to try, I’ll back you up on it. Because, sister, we’ve done it all.I’m trying to be a “yes man” of stress-free, non-judgmental parenting advice. 😉

  14. If I remember correctly she’s not yet 3, right (or is right around 3)? We had this exact issue with our Peanut when she was around 2 and a half. It lasted for a couple of months and then mercifully stopped. Nothing worked for us except putting up with being kicked in the head, unfortunately. I hope you have better luck!

  15. We have similar sleep issues at our house, from the baby who won’t go through the night, to the toddler who sleeps diagonally, or horizontally, on the bed. My suggestion? A king sized bed. Otherwise, I guess the only thing I can suggest is what we do. Once the toddler is sound asleep, he gets carried back to his bed. A few nights of this and the visits get less frequent. But they don’t entirely disappear. Personally, I think there’s a fortune to be made for the person who can invent under-eye concealer for sleep deprived moms. (I’ve also seen on Supernanny the trick where you give the toddler a clock and show them that when the hands reach 7, then s/he can go into mommy and daddy’s room. Don’t know how well that works.)

  16. Try a sleeping bag on the floor. Tell her if she comes into your room, that’s where she’ll be sleeping. Then at least she can’t kick you.My friend has a sleeping bag in her room still and her kid is 8. When she’s scared or sick or whatever, she knows she’s welcome, just not in their bed.

  17. I read alot of people sugguest already, a little spot on the floor. I have not done it but, that what my mom did with me. She swears by it. We would only sleep in there for a hour then back to our room cause floors aren’t that comfortable.

  18. We’ve noticed around here the bed hopping phase comes in spurts, some weeks it’s worse than others. Sounds like that’s what’s happening with Thalia. Or, is it possible her room is too dark? Max will not sleep well in the total pitch blackness, but give him a small, dim light source? He’ll sleep for days.Wishing much napping and extra strong coffees.

  19. I was chased from my bedroom last night by a toddler who just wanted to play, outside of her crib, at 3am. It started at 1:30, and by 3 I was just going so utterly crazy that I chose the floor of the living room over the spare bedroom.

  20. YOU KNOW I FEEL YOUR PAIN. I am so sorry to hear Thalia has fallen prey to the toddler-no-sleeping-syndrome. I tried everything, and I now think grinning and bearing it and lots of coffee works best.

  21. Umm, did I write this in my sleep deprived state? I am confused-I thought I had two boys but this sounds SO familiar. Our house is a never ending game of musical beds. After 8 years I STILL have to think each morning where I am and who is in bed next to me. My 5 yr old thinks 3 am is “morning” and comes to alert me. If I am lucky I can get him to crawl into my bed to go back to sleep next to daddy while I head to his bed to sleep till the sun comes up. He sleeps horizontally AND kicks and hubby snores and farts-I am happy to escape even if my feet hang off the edge of my son’s twin bed. My 8 yr old has just stopped trying to sleep in a fort in the living room and now spends half his night in his closet. Sometimes I head to his full size bed which is not only super comfy but the last place anybody looks for me. Good times. Good luck!

  22. I wish I had some good advice for you. I did the superiority dance after bringing PunditGirl home — she slept through the night from age 1 until she was 2 — and then not again until she was 5. Caffeine was my friend. ;(

  23. Don’t have much good advice, but fix it NOW….i have a 12 year old…YES TWELVE….who can’t fall asleep in her own bed…only ours. She’s happy to move to her room around midnight in her sleep and stays there… We had her in her own room all night by age 2, but backslid when she was sick and never returned. You got me with the “visions of Nanny 911” comment.

  24. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve been PAYING my five year old 25 cents for each night that she can fall asleep in her own room without me sitting there until she’s asleep. I’ll probably suffer for it later, but for now it’s working! Our three year old comes in in the middle of the night so much that I barely notice anymore when she climbs into our bed. Luckily for me, she usually kicks her papa!Who knew that SLEEP would become the major focus of our lives when we had children??

  25. I love that super nanny show!Looks like you got plenty of good advice.My daughter is 9 and she is still asking to sleep in my bed.The best thing is to decide what you are going to do and then stick to it:-)Oh and don’t do the deciding at 1am.Most people can’t think very well at 1am;-)

  26. maybe try giving her something special of yours, like a stuffed animal from when you were a child. or a blanket you sleep with so she feels as though she is sleeping in your bed. i watch nanny 911 also and one episode she dealt with a similar issue. she suggested getting the child involved in re-modeling the bedroom so she would feel like it was something really special and just for her. then it also takes stern and firm parenting to ensure she sleeps in her own bed. even if it takes a whole night of going back and forth between beds and a couple weeks before she gets the point, it will be worth it in the long run. and i’m sure the father agrees…wink wink :p

  27. I am entirely overwhelmed (OVERWHELMED) with the amazing suggestions, if entirely confused now. I swear I am going to try every one of these until I find what works.Although that does go against the suggestions to be consistent. Hm.

  28. We have done the “let him fall asleep and carry back to bed” routine, that has worked. You might also suggest to Thalia each night that she try not to kick you both while you are all sleeping. It’s amazing what they will absorb, and remember even while they are sleeping. I have heard from several other parents of the success of the “nest on the floor” technique. Both our boys preferred to stay in their own beds rather than sleep on the floor in our room.

  29. I’m a bit late to the party, but let me say that we’ve done just about everything mentioned above. Yes, we have our last guy in our bed and he is almost 4, but we’ve also had a wiggly child who we booted out of our bed super early. We put a mattress on our floor where she slept, for the most part, until we moved her into a room with her sister. My suggestion is just try to find what works. But, that isn’t much of a suggestion, is it?

  30. I wish I could be of help. Well, I think I can. By keeping the number of years it was before we started getting consecutive uninterrupted sleep to myself.I wouldn’t want you to lose all hope.

  31. Might I suggest two Ambien and a shot of whiskey right before bedtime?Oh, and YOU might want to take a little something for yourself…

  32. Maybe the answer is finding the balance between the hard-ass approach and the giving-in? I like the idea of keeping her out of your bed so you can rest but instead letting her sleep in your room on the floor. You’re close-by and maybe that will be enough comfort for her to fall back asleep.In fact, I still let my kids sleep on my floor from time to time when they ask – and they’re 6 and 8.Good luck!

  33. Well, as usual Thalia is ahead of the game. We played musical beds when Tacy turned three, and then again when CJ turned three. We just shuffled them back to bed, and eventually they stayed. Here’s hoping that Thalia starts to do the same.

  34. Oh gosh, that stinks, and I totally relate.My 3 year old is still sketchy on staying in her own bed, but to get to where we are – which is having her up maybe 1x every three weeks – took a combination of bribing and threats. Threats of losing toys if she gets up, and rewards of money! pennies and quarters! if she’ll stay in bed. We alternated depending on her and our mood. Works wonders.

  35. I think she is old enough for you to try reason. Just say she is such a big girl now that the bed is not big enough for all three of you. (Or, four, if Sage happens to be there.) Tell her she is keeping you up at night and you can’t sleep comfortably, and it is making you sad. Say you wouldn’t mind sleeping with her in the bed if everyone fit, but there just isn’t room. I have told my son (who likes to sleep HORIZONTALLY when in The Big Bed) this, and it works most of the time. Another trick I use, if the first one fails (usually because he is really upset about something, or because he is not feeling well), is that I tell him he can fall asleep in my bed, but I also tell him that once he is asleep I will move him to his bed, and he may NOT come back into my bed after he is moved. If he objects to this arrangement, I tell him he’ll have to sleep in his own bed, period. He generally comes around.Good luck!

  36. I’ve yet to figure out how to get Edan to sleep through the night. At least she’s old enough now that when I say: “go back to bed” she’s old enough to do it. This doesn’t help the fatigue, though.

  37. Good luck with this. Our toddler is getting up earlier and earlier and shouts to come into the “big bed” with us.One of my friends had a daughter who slept in her parents bed every night until finally my friend said that she could only sleep at the foot of the bed, ie with mummy and daddy’s feet. She stayed one night and was back into her own bed from then on. Same principal as the ‘nest’ I think.

  38. help?all you can do is just nip it in the bud now, before you have a 14 year old girl kicking you in the head. (it’s not quite as cute at that age.)when she comes in (assuming you’re not one of those who can sleep through a child crawling into bed with you), get up and silently usher her back to bed. repeat ad nauseum. emphasis on the “nauseum,” because the number of times you do this will make you sick. but it will eventually work. i promise.

  39. King size. Even if it takes up the entire footprint of your bedroom. It’s worth it.

  40. Any chance she has anemia? An unfortunate side effect of low iron can be restless leg syndrome for kids.Ava’s stuffed animals and books used to be karate chopped across the room every night because of this.I hope you get some sleep soon!-Carolyn

  41. Oh, I so cannot help you, except to say that I’ve been there. I mean, I AM there. It helps to put a pillow between you and the toddler. Or to take prescription medication and read lots of Dr. Sears so that you don’t feel guilty about your kid sleeping with you. Just call it attachment parenting and adopt an attitude of self righteousness. And if you can get Thalia to sleep in her bed, please let us all know how!

  42. I’m happy to see there are so many other parents with family beds. We had issues with our son from Day 1. Our daughter did just great in a crib, but then she climbed out and now she’s now a nighttime wanderer like her brother. Most nights, both kids end up in our room. It drove my husband so nuts we now have TWO beds in our room: A queen for him and the king for me and the kids. It works. I can usually get some sleep, but not always. My 3-year-old still has issues. I stopped reading advice books and just go with it. Her brother doesn’t bother us at night. Both kids start in their own rooms and just quietly come in my bed.

  43. Oh, I so feel your pain!Our 6 month old Foster Daughter WAS sleeping through the night for a while (about 2 weeks I’d say) and now she’s not. She likes to wake up around 1:30 AM to eat and then around 5:30 AM to play.As if that weren’t enough, our 3-year old son likes to get up around 5-6 AM and come rest with us. We pull him in to our bed, hoping we’ll get more sleep, and all we get is kicked! He literally tosses, turns, and kicks for about an hour before we boot him out and put him back in his own bed where he cries for a good 30 minutes until he falls back asleep.I want my sleep back!

  44. Some days, from a distance, my head looks like a skull, my under-eye circles are so bad. My problem is my own insomnia though. The girls are better in their beds than they ever have been before.Sometimes when I’m padding aimlessly about i have a peek in at them and it takes me all <>my<> willpower not to dive in for a snuggle with whoever’s the least diagonal in her bed. I don’t know what the answer is. What I did was just to lift them right back to bed each time they came in with me. With twins that meant about 10 times a night sometimes and virtually no sleep. It worked after a few weeks but I don’t recommend it if there’s any other option. I was about demented for lack of sleep and i couldn’t trust myself to drive any more than five minutes away in the car. Thank God the grocery store’s only 4 minutes away or we’d have starved.

  45. I don’t have much for you. My son tries to pull the “twenty things wrong with the room” and I grunt, “Tough. Bedtime,” and leave. I’m all Ghengis Mom like that. I do allow him to sit up and play, though, if he’s not sleepy, as long as he stays in his room. That seems to help. Perceived control, you know.My friend was having this issue so she finally told her daughter she could sleep with her but ONLY on the floor next to the bed. She laid out a nice sleeping bag and pillow and her daughter settled in to that routine. Then every night after her daughter fell asleep my friend would move the bag a little, away from the bed and closer to the door. Eventually she had her daughter waking up in her own room again. And then she just naturally started sleeping in her bed. Of course, this only works if both bedrooms are on the same floor. 🙂

  46. Try the alarm clock/sticker chart thingy in the Preschool section on the Weissbluth book.It’s been working for us (for now). Email me if you want more info. I don’t mean to be cryptic – just need to go to bed myself!

  47. “Any chance she has anemia? An unfortunate side effect of low iron can be restless leg syndrome for kids.”I think this is a great point to bring up.Sometimes I grasp at the behavioral straws first, and then later find out that the kids was working her way to an ear infection or a molar (those things keep coming in) or, yes, some new food or some new change in exercise, etc. that is causing a physiological symptom that is enough to keep waking the kid. It may or may not be reason enough to not continue with a behavioral plan of your choosing, but sometimes, another look-see or even a trip to the doc is in order.Again, maybe not this time, but the above is a good reminder and, imo, sound advice.

  48. Oh gawd, please publish any solutions you find because we are at the same point. Bedtime has turned back into an hour (min) routine and B is waking up at least once a night for stuff like “WATER” when it’s on her bedside table. What is it with 2.75?

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