Friday, September 7, 2007

Grief and Fear

Since papa Roy died, Cullen, our 6 year old has had a lot of problems sleeping or should I say getting to sleep and staying asleep. He has always been a shy and tentative child. He is very sweet and sensitive but has his moments of stubbornness. He has a wonderful imagination which works against him sometimes. He insists during bedtime prayers that we end with "help Cullen to sleep well and have beautiful dream and no bad ones and to think no bad thoughts". Its the "bad thoughts" that scare him and he can not shake off. Ninjas, monsters and "thiefs". We have let him sleep in the guest room which is right next door to our room since he has displayed these fears and sleep disruption. However, he is still waking me multiple times a night saying he hears foot steps or the dogs are barking and there is a "thief" outside.

Last night Cullen came into our room at 1:20am to say he was scared and he wanted to be in our room because of "thiefs". Edward calmly explained to him that it was alright and there was nothing to be afraid of in the house. Cullen tentatively went out the bedroom door and back to the guess room only to explode into our room at high speed screaming "Thiefs, thiefs, there's a thief!" It about scared me to death. Edward went with him to see that there was indeed no "thiefs" in the bedroom but it did no good. The long and short of it is that Cullen climbed into our bed and went to sleep and Edward was too awake to go back to bed. He ended up watching a western on tv. This will be the second night Edward has gotten only four hours of sleep. My problem solving skills in the middle of the night are nil. I wrestle with the impatience then and it usually wins. Edward is the sane and kind one under these circumstances but in handling it he sacrifices rest cause he can not get back to sleep.

So now I am desperately looking for help in dealing with this. I don't know whether to be firm and hold ground about his sleeping in his own bed or at least the guest bedroom or allow him to sleep with us until his grief and fears abate. The problem with his sleeping closer to us is that the Avery, our 4 year old, also must sleep closer to us. She has been sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag for the last three nights. I have been thinking about having her sleep in the guess bedroom and Cullen on the floor in our room to see if that makes a difference in his sleeping through the night.

I guess I am looking for a quick fix and if this behavior is a response to grief for Cullen then I can not expect it to go away with a few comforting words.

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