I used to pride myself on what excellent sleepers my boys were. All have slept through from a most 12 weeks and all have been good at keeping their heads on the pillow for most of the night, barring illness or other unusual circumstances. But no more, my eldest is now six and a half and convinced that his new bedtime is 10:30pm and that the only place to sleep is in mummy's bed.
We have tried good cop, whereby we gave him a later bedtime than his little brother and allowed him to stay up and watch TV in his PJs until the allotted hour. That didn't work as the extra time out of bed seemed to enliven him ready for an evening filled with the patter of his tiny feet coming down the stairs and hovering by the living room door until my husband picked this up on his bat frequency ears and we either gave in and let him stay for a while or sent him back upstairs only to hear the inevitable sobs emanating from his bedroom moments later.
Then we tried bad cop, sending him to bed strictly on time with lights off and no toys. If he dared to venture downstairs he was sent back to bed with a telling off. Did this work? Did it heck. He would either way up in the early hours or at about 5am and creep upstairs and into our bed, waking us all up and then either was allowed to stay, wriggle and keep us awake, or was sent downstairs in tears.
The problem is that by the end of the day my discipline tether is at it's end. My inclination would probably be to be horrible and just send him to bed and ignore the sobs and let him get on with it. But I do find it so hard to be harsh when I look into his swimming blue eyes as he turns to go upstairs. He also knows how to turn on the charm when he is allowed to stay up late and is the most pleasant companion in those late night snuggles.
So what to do? My husband is sick to death of getting up at night and dealing with the children, we are all exhausted by this constant toing and froing of my oldest son and I know that this lack of sleep will catch up with him and have a detrimental effect. I think I will just have to harden my heart and get tough with him as these night manoeuvres must be nipped in the bud before sleep deprivation drives us all around the twist.