Monday, October 08, 2012

The Fine Art of Marital Compromise

Bug, bless his little 3-year-old heart, keeps wetting the bed.  More precisely, the crib.  (Our attempts to convince him to sleep in the Big Boy Bed are lengthy, uninteresting, and ongoing.  Let's just say, it's not hurting anyone for him to sleep in a crib, it's not driving us crazy*, he sleeps all night happily, and I don't care enough to take down the crib.)  He gets a rash from wearing a (latex-free expensive disposable!) diaper every night, so we put him in underwear instead.  We make him pee before bed, we limit water-after-dinner, etc. 

Dr. S gets up with Bug, so he has to deal with damp sheets, damp pajamas, and damp toddler when this happens.  The other morning, it happened again. 

"I think we should make him sleep in the bed," he said to me.
"And then he can get up and pee if he needs to."
"He can't open the door," I said.  (It has a doorknob cover on the inside.)
"Um... are you seriously suggesting that we should take apart the crib, force him to sleep in a bed, which he really doesn't want to do, unlock the door, and hope that at 2 AM, he's awake enough to take himself to the bathroom - alone!- and then put all his clothes back on?  Without peeing on the floor? As the first thing we try?"
"Yes!" my dear spouse replied.

(We later had an encore of this conversation where I suggested we should find a solution, he reiterated his original solution, and I told him that it was insane and to find another idea.)

(Naturally, we are doing it MY WAY.)

* When someone's (otherwise healthy and typically-developing) kid is doing something intolerable (25-pound 18-month-old insisting on nursing five times a night; school-age child shrieking and throwing things every morning at 3 AM; old-enough-to-understand baby biting while nursing) and the person merely complains endlessly instead of doing something....  Well, if you can train a rat, you can train a child.  I want to slap people who complain about it and do nothing to even try to modify their behavior.  Or at least I want to say "Be honest with yourself: you have decided that the cost of training your child out of this is not worth the benefit.  It is not true that you can do nothing to change this."   This is separate from trying and it not working. 


  1. I think there is no chance you don't already know about this, but a friend was recently surprised by this concept, so I'm going to suggest the obvious: have you tried the sheet lasagna method, wherein you sandwich sheets and water resistant pads in however many layers you have sheets for? It means that you can just strip off the outer layer when the sheets are soiled/wet. We chiefly do this when children are projectile vomiting in the night, but it will also be employed someday when we potty train.

    I can endorse that middle of the night toddlers in a toddler bed do not in fact do rational things, but rather, still shriek like little banshees until a parent fixes it for them.

    1. We don't usually bother because he (almost always) only does it FIRST thing in the morning. Little kids: WTF? I say. Thanks for reminding me; I'll suggest it to the spouse, who will once again suggest the nuclear option, and then I will snark at him again. Lather, rinse, repeat...

  2. I don't know the logistics but I know that for the first bit after I was toilet trained my dad used to get me out of bed at night andut me on the toliet. As far as I understand I was basically still asleep but would pee and then he would put me back in bed.

    On the crib, I'm all for keeping my guys in it as long as they will let us. Aside from needing it for another baby I'm not sure what the rush is to get little kids out of a crib, I hardly think that being trapped in there is what keeps them from doing everything for themselves :)

    1. Re: the last, ain't that the truth.

      I hesitate to wake a sleeping child but.... maybe that'll be choice 4. Pretty sure my dear spouse's idea is DEAD LAST.

      (I wasn't in a rush but three and seven months does seem a *trifle* excessive.)

  3. Did you have him sleep in the cloth diapers, which he doesn't like to pee in?

    I think the only way I'd try Dr. S's option would be for him to agree to deal with middle-of-the-night ramifications. Bug WILL be unhappy with a big-boy bed, WILL need help going potty during the night, and would still probably wet his bed right away in the morning. Just because that's how kids are. If he wishes to deal with a month of more of interrupted sleep until Bug gets used to the new situation, I'd let him.

    My 5 year old is finally not wetting his diaper every night, but he still likes the security of wearing it. He tried underwear one night, and woke up wet.

    I believe you're lucky Bug isn't a climber. I'd have confined mine to their crib for much longer, but Child #1 escaped at age 2 and Child #2 vaulted out of his pack N play at 18 months. I was sad.

    Third alternative option (which I'm sure you've thought of), wake Bug about 30 minutes early and stand him in front of potty. Perhaps worth a try.

    1. So far we're working our way through MY list, as related to you last week in my tale of woe. :) Currently on: make him pee again after his story. Cloth diapers are next! I think waking him early is third. He's pretty cranky when woken up (well, who isn't?).

      The irony of the crib is, of course, that I want it for the baby. Though last time I put Tatoe in there to sleep, he played for 30 minutes instead because it was so exciting. Tatoe will be a climber: he already mountaineers up my legs to the couch.

  4. I think in the interests of fairness you should explain the spousal logic. Because he's a smart guy, there's GOT to be logic. But it's not at all apparent.

    1. I'm sure it all makes sense inside his head. Child pees in crib -> we want child not to pee in crib -> child cannot do this alone because he is in crib -> therefore no crib. Still. Insane! He assumes that because Bug can do something, he will. This is charming, but naive.

      I also think my spouse doesn't dress the child in the morning, and so doesn't listen to the inevitable 5-minute (to 45 minute) screamfest about taking off his pajamas, putting his underwear back on, and putting his arms in the correct sleeves ZOMFG EVERY MORNING. (I do offer songs-on-computer as a reward for getting dressed cheerfully, without screaming, but this only works about 75% of the time. I'm thinking of holding up an Oreo in front of him as a bribe.)


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