Posted by: Jamie Stamm | October 1, 2008

A bit of bedtime drama

I usually lie with Anthony until he falls asleep, which can take anywhere from 45 seconds to 45 minutes. But recently, for no apparent reason, the amount of time it takes him to drift off to dreamland has been increasing.

Some nights I’ll fall asleep before he does and wake up an hour later to find him lying there, perfectly still and quiet, but with his eyes wide as saucers. Other nights he’ll toss and turn, babble to himself, even try to stand on his head – anything to stave off slumber.

So I’ve decided to set some limits. I now stay with him for 30 minutes and then he’s on his own.

This has not been a popular decision with our toddler. Last night, Ant was still screaming and crying at 11 p.m. And he refused to stay in bed. We had to take him back to his room several times after he wandered down the hallway toward the living room.

After the third or fourth time this happened, a frustrated – but remarkably patient – Daddy told Anthony, “It’s OK. Just close your eyes and go to sleep.”

And then, a classic line from my dramatic little one:

“I don’t know how to close my eyes!” he wailed. “I can’t remember!”

Where do they get this stuff?



  1. Hi,

    My daughter has the same problem. She’s 5 years old and she tells me that she does not know how to close her eyes. I stay with her (in her bed) till she sleeps. This will take several minuts till an hour. She lays there with her eyes open, waiting for the sleep. This problem is not new (I don’t think that it’s an excuse because this is since the beginning, only a didn’t realise it when she was very young) and becomes a problem. Here in Holland has nobody heard about it, and they easily say that it will stop once. Have you had any reactions you can use? Please let me know.

    Greeting Ebby Kuil

  2. I wish I had some advice to offer, but I don’t. My husband and I still take turns lying with Ant until he falls asleep, and if he’s had a nap longer than an hour, that’s usually sometime after 11 p.m. We’ve tried eliminating naps altogether, but then he’s so cranky by about 6 p.m. that he can’t stand himself.

    Although nothing has worked with Anthony yet, here’s what we did with our daughter, Cera, who is now 5. About a month before her fourth birthday, we started talking about how big girls put themselves to bed and how she was going to be a big girl when she turned 4. We repeated this every night, and on her birthday, we read her some books, tucked her in and left the room. We expected that first night to be rough, but when we checked on her 15 minutes later, she was fast asleep. And to this day, she still puts herself to sleep.

    So there is hope 🙂

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