It’s better this way


Alternately titled: Why I locked my three year old in his room.

It was 8:00 and I had just returned home from a rehearsal when I went back to my bathroom to brush my teeth and change into my fat pants comfy clothes.  It was then I heard the breathing.  Like a miniature Darth Vadar was standing at my hip.

“Landon, get back in bed.”

“I’m firsty,” he whined.  I gave him a sip of water and sent him to bed.  Then I turned on the bath tub to try and warm myself up.  When I turned around, he was there again, this time scaring the Bejeebus out of me.  I yelped and karate chopped the air because For the love of all things Holy must children sneak up on you like that!

“Landon, go to bed,” I said, this time with more force.  And you should know, it’s not easy to use such force with someone as cute as my third born.  His tiny face is framed by a mop of Bieber hair and Sweet Mercy I just want to chomp on his cheeks every time I see him.  He’s just yummy.

“Can I wear shorts?” he said, batting his little hypnotic eyes at me.

“Fine.  Change, then go to bed.”

Off he went and I settled in the tub.  Until I saw his eye peeking through the crack in the door.

“Landon, go to bed!”

He turned and shuffled off.

This routine went back and forth for almost an hour.  And this was a good night – for Landon anyway.  He caught me on an off night when I wasn’t ready for the fight.  Generally these nights end up with a slew of tears from him and a few from me.  But this night saw me unable to fight his antics.

The child will not stay in his bed.

To be fair, I let him take a longer nap than usual on this fateful day, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that he changed outfits no less than six times, and took close to an hour and a half to go to sleep.

I finally did what any self respecting mother would do.  I closed the door.  The very door that I installed a door knob protector on a few weeks ago so he couldn’t open it back up.  In general I don’t like to do this and it is a last resort but here’s the deal: I would rather him be stuck in his room and finally have to give up the fight on his own than have him go to sleep with his last vision of me looking like the spawn of satan.  Because let me tell you…after you have spent an hour telling a child to go to bed, your patience is thin and life isn’t looking good for the child…no matter how cute he is.

It can get ugly.

So I lock him in his room.  This is a decision Lee and I came to together.  We simply weren’t getting through to him any other way.  Locking him in is a way to protect him and protect our own emotions.  Glory, Hallelujah!

I don’t lock the door at night often because Landon’s afraid of being stuck in a dark room.  Yes, I also removed the night light from his room and put it in the hallway because he was waking up at 3:00 in the morning and having parties with his stuffed animals like a teenager whose parents left town – sometimes for hours on end.  So generally it only takes a couple of short moments in his dark room to get him to settle down.  I am able to remain calm, he gets the idea.  Everybody wins.

Nap time is a different story.

When I make him take a nap, that is.  Because, you see, my third child is much like his mother.  Dang it.  (Not like my second born who, like her father, can sleep anytime, anywhere and seems to love the act of napping.)  I don’t need a lot of sleep to function and neither does Landon.  I gave up naps at an early age and Landon is following suit.  I don’t like this, of course, but payback’s a bleep, right?  I don’t like it because when he doesn’t nap, I don’t get the things accomplished that I need to get accomplished.  But, on the flip side, when he doesn’t nap he goes to bed at 7:00 or 7:30 with little to no fuss and he sleeps all night.

Kind of a nice trade off.

He will still take naps many days, but I’m not forcing it anymore unless it’s obvious he’s really tired.  I remember being forced to take a nap as a child and I hated it.  I swore I would never make my children sleep if they weren’t tired and my little mini-Bieber just isn’t tired most days.

He’ll probably nap today since he didn’t yesterday.  But alas, even though he didn’t sleep the locked door came in handy yet again when I made him stay in his room and play for a bit.

Of course he sat in there and used the bathroom in his pants, which was totally my fault since I locked him in.

*sigh*  I can’t win.

Do any of you have sleeping struggles with children?  Am I the only one?  Please, commiserate with me, will you?  Pull up a chair, grab a bottle of wine.  Let’s chat.  What?  It’s only 10:00am? 

Is it too early to drink?

I’m kidding!  I don’t drink this early in the morning.  No…I wait until 2:00 when the kids aren’t napping.

Again with the kidding…


  1. Oh mercy. The Youngest–my now 8-year-old–has FINALLY decided to sleep and stay in her own bed. I never had to resort to door locking (my little anxiety-prone child would have gone psycho on me), but I should have locked my OWN door to keep her out of my bed at least. I commiserate with you, but I have no advice. I just had to wait for a good 7 years for it to pass. 🙂

    However, I’d LOVE to know the secret to surviving on little sleep. I just do not function that way, but I would be SO much more productive if I did!

  2. Well I don’t function well most days, but usually it’s a healthy blend of coffee and chocolate that keeps me going. Keeps me awake and, unfortunately, keeps me from losing those last 7 pregnancy pounds…

  3. we’ve not ever had an issue with the boys going to sleep easily….UNTIL 2 months ago. shep started getting 4 teeth at the same time, so we started going in to his room to put anbesol on his gums. that started this nasty cycle that he figured out…if he fussed, we thought his teeth hurt, how can you NOT treat the teeth…right?! but now it’s a big bad animal of almost 2 hours of the rocking back and forth, “mommeeeee….dayyeeeee….mommeeee…dayyeeee….” driving me INSANE. i want my easy sleeper back. i miss him. i miss that time where my blood pressure finally goes down, my heart rate decreases…you know, that moment EVERY mom has when FINALLY they hear silence for the first time since that morning. i miss my time with reed when i KNOW it’s just him and me (well, and the tv, my ball of yarn, and that glass of wine…or two…or….). i don’t know what i’ll do if this goes on much longer – if i were you, i’d be going NUTS. i got a good laugh out of spawn of satan – i call myself medusa lately. 😉

  4. Not sure I’d be brave enough to lock my son in his room at 3 since I obsess about everything. (What if he ate a lego or colored his face with permanent marker? Or, what if there really ARE monsters under the bed and they ate him?)

    Still, I completely and totally understand the frustration of having a child who just can’t seem to settle down for the night. No solutions for you (sorry!) but I do agree…he definitely has chomp-worthy cheeks.

  5. Vonita Hill says

    Give Landon the wine … that’s my advice.

    Ok, so I’m kidding too … but red wine is supposed to be good for us (them), right?

    Ok, so I’m still kidding … If you do get some real advice and put it into practice and it works – write another blog. We’re all holding our breath!

  6. We just moved Chase into a “big boy” bed since we got into town. I’ve been up every night since Saturday in the middle of the night with him for various reasons. I can commiserate having no fight in you at a certain point. I’m just not with it when I’m tired. 😀 Did Sloan do this stuff?

  7. @Shayne-I do feel cruel closing the door and rarely leave him locked in there long. Just long enough to get him to calm down and realize I’m serious about him going to bed.

    @Vonita-I am holding my breath as well…

    @Tiff-Sloan had major sleep issues too, but they were different in the sense that he was obstinate and angry and combative in the middle of the night. We went through a horrible 8 month stretch with him when he was just under three. It was so bad that we visited a sleep disorder clinic. Their solution was to put a gate up at his door so he couldn’t come out of his room but he wasn’t locked in.

    This backfired big time. He stood at the gate and screamed bloody murder and would slam the door open against the wall so hard the walls shook. And Tia slept through all of it! She has always been an angel sleeper.

    You know what cured Sloan of his sleep issues? A vacation to the Bahamas where we wore him out for a week. He never had another issue after that. So that only proves that we need to take another Bahamian vacation. That only makes sense, right?

  8. Marsha Morbelli says

    We used to put a gate up at Kelly’s door. The child would not go to sleep…..things do change!!! If we put the gate up then she usually played with every toy and stuffed animal she had and we would find her asleep on the floor on her stuffed animals. We were fortunate, that she usually didn’t stand there screaming.