H is usually one of the most laid back, adaptable toddlers I have ever known. Everyone comments on his nature and a line that is often said to us is "He is so laid back he is horizontal". Whether it be keeping him up late, going away for one night or four, changed his routine through switching childcare providers or jobs, he has always adapted well and on returning home after going away, settled back into his original routine with amazing ease.In the last five weeks we have moved twice and stayed at my Aunt's for five nights over Christmas and my sister's for New Year's Eve. Even for someone as adaptable as H, that seems to have been a step too far.
The child I have now, I no longer recognise, at least not when it comes to bed time and he seems to have turned into some sort of demon.
Until just before Christmas, he would ask to go to bed around 7 pm, maybe 7.30 pm, take himself to bed when we would then tuck him in and say goodnight with a kiss and cuddle. He'd stay there until around 5-6 am (though it was slowly getting later), cuddling up to us until around 7-7.30 am.
Now, 7 pm will arrive and it has been bringing us false hope. Yes, H will still ask to go to bed. Yes, he will still ask us to tuck him him, give him a kiss and say goodnight. All good? Well no, actually. Within about 30 seconds (if indeed that!) he will hope out of bed and wander on through, handing back Ernie (his cuddly elephant he won't sleep without) and his dummy. Then promptly start playing. So, because he took himself to bed, the husband decides he can stay up for a bit longer. 20 minutes pass and we decide, actually that's enough now and inform H he is going to bed.
All hell breaks loose. Screams of "Noooo!" which I am sure can be heard in Outer Mongolia. Wails of "Mamma go night night!". And in between the wails and sobs the puppy dog eyes come out.
Two nights in the last week we have had him being sick whilst screaming. He has never been sick through crying before and only twice through illness (once a couple of weeks ago, previously at 8 months old). During these episodes, we promptly cleaned H up, changed his PJs and sent him back to bed.
I make it sound like we have been dealing with it together, as a team when really I mean Daddy dealt with it the last two nights. I had to walk out as I could feel myself getting upset and wanting to give in to H's demands. After all, he usually isn't much trouble at all, he has just had an awful lot to deal with at such a young age in such a short period of time.
Usual bed time tricks won't work, we are currently in an open plan living/bedroom space. The bedroom space does actually have two doors. However, we have had to cover up one of them as he can open it, which leads into the hall which leads to the front door, that he can open. The other door isn't really a door but more like the dividing doors you get between living/dining areas. Again, handles in easy reach and doors easy to open. There is no where to put a stair gate either.
I very much hope that H will settle down again soon. I understand why he is acting up in this way. I understand him feeling insecure. I just don't like it very much and it makes me feel wholly inadequate as a mother.
How does your toddler adapt to change? Is there anything I can do to help settle him back down?